Santander secures £150 million EIB funding for small business

The FINANCIAL — Santander is further enhancing support to SMEs after securing its third tranche of funding from the European Investment Bank, enabling it to provide discounted loan rates to qualifying businesses.

The new EIB funding complements Santander’s commitment to UK companies and follows its pledge to increase lending to small and medium-sized enterprises by 25% in 2011. In total this equates to an increase in overall lending of £6.7 billion, with £4 billion set aside for SMEs.  This follows a 26% rise in lending last year.
Steve Pateman, Head of Santander Corporate and Commercial Banking, said: “Ensuring businesses are able to access affordable investment capital is crucial for the UK’s economic recovery. Thanks to our partnership with the EIB, we will be able to assist more small and medium-sized customers with their expansion plans at discounted rates, helping to create local jobs and fuel this recovery. This new fund quickly follows our recent £100 million fund specifically aimed at the higher education sector, also in partnership with the EIB.”
Simon Brooks, European Investment Bank Vice President, responsible for the United Kingdom, said: “The European Investment Bank is pleased to increase funding for British SMEs through Santander. This is part of our wider engagement to assist SMEs across the UK and elsewhere in Europe to continue to access investment finance during economically challenging times.”
To date, Santander has lent £129 million through the EIB scheme, helping 136 companies to invest in and grow their businesses. Recent examples include: financing Country Court Care Homes’ acquisition of Sheffield-based Abbey Grange Nursing Home after it was placed into administration; financing the expansion of Hampshire-based manufacturing firm St Clare Engineering Ltd with the acquisition of additional premises; and financing the purchase and restaurant expansion of Somerset’s historic hotel, The Old Vicarage. All three purchases helped protect or generate local jobs.
Last year 115,000 European SMEs benefited from EIB funding, and over the last three years EUR 30 billion has been provided to SMEs across Europe by the bank.  Over the last three years the EIB has signed EUR 2 billion for SME funding in the UK.
The £150 million fund will help support firms looking to invest in their businesses, in turn helping to generate new jobs and drive local economic growth.

via The FINANCIAL – Santander secures £150 million EIB funding for small business.


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The Future of Indian Philanthropy

 The Westin Hotel in a Mumbai suburb is advertized as the heart of Bollywood.
But on a recent evening at an event to raise money for a charity, there was to be none of that.There was glitz, but not much glamor; bling, but only in a discreet way; and instead of paparazzi, only one photographer who politely asked you to stand against the green banner emblazoned with “Room to Read” — the charity for which the fundraiser had been organized.The organizers meant real (and charitable) business. In a couple of hours—via a live auction of items like an education in champagne with Moet & Chandon, an education in cricket with Australian batsman Shane Watson and a stay in Florence thanks to Salvatore Ferragamo as well as a custom-made pair of shoes—the charity raised 70 million rupees ($1.5 million.)It may have been a first for India, where such fundraisers are highly unusual. But it is likely to be the kind of event we’ll see more of here as wealthy executives (even if not on the scale of Bill Gates, Warren Buffett or Azim Premji) seek to show the size of their wallets for a good cause — a staple of society get-togethers in New York, San Francisco and other business centers in the U.S.Room to Read was established a decade ago by John Wood. During a trek through Nepal he was shocked enough by the lack of resources in schools to quit his job as a senior executive at Microsoft and start a non profit organization to build libraries and schools.Today the NGO is active in nine countries, including Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Zambia, has built more than 11,000 libraries and distributed nearly 10 million books. It launched its India chapter in 2003, home to at least 35% of the world’s illiterate, a share that’s expected to shoot up to 50% by 2020.But up until a couple of years ago all the funding for India was coming from Singapore, Hong Kong, London, says Laura Entwistle, who until recently was the president of the board of trustees of the American School of Bombay.“That was crazy because there’s so much money here in India,” she said. She co-founded the Mumbai chapter of Room to Read with her husband Brooks, then India CEO of Goldman Sachs. (The couple recently moved to Singapore as Mr. Entwistle has taken over as regional chairman of Southeast Asia for Goldman.“When Brooks and I moved here we had several friends who’d made a bit of money and were looking for ways to contribute back but there weren’t a lot of obvious, safe investments for them,” said Ms. Entwistle.The couple was friends with Mr. Wood and would host cocktail parties at their house to introduce their new friends to him. Last year, for the first time, Room to Read held a fund raiser in India where it raised $500,000, a third of what it managed this year.The organizers carefully pruned the invitee list for the event“In a room full of people we had limited the number of bystanders,” said Vivek Pandit, a partner at McKinsey. “We had a room full of CEOs, decision makers, people who could stand up and say ‘I’m in no matter if others are or are not, because it’s the right thing to do.’”It seemed to work. As bids for a private cooking lesson in Thai food for six with Chef Ian Kittichai reached 1 million rupees, Mr. Wood, who was leaning against a door of the ballroom, whispered almost to himself, “Wow, this is awesome.” (It finally closed at 1.45 million rupees.)

But there was plenty more to come. Lot five was a visit to Ferragamo’s shoe museum, where the winning bidder would be personally welcomed by the designer, be put up by him for two nights in Florence with another two at the family’s wine estate and, to top it all, go home with a custom-designed pair of shoes.The men in the room went crazy. As one participant said, “High- powered men like their shoes.” Enough to have competitive bidding that finally closed at 2.1 million rupees. But the piece de resistance was the bidding war over the cricket session with Mr. Watson where he would coach you through the different aspects of the game as well as provide eight cricket bats signed by all 14 teams that competed in the recent cricket World Cup. This received the highest bid of the evening at 4.4 million rupees. But for the next round of plain vanilla charity–120,000 rupees to educate one girl for 10 years, 180,000 rupees to build one library, 900,000 rupees for five libraries–the participants were less eager to raise their paddles, or so it seemed after the earlier bidding frenzy. At one point Mr. Wood, who was leading this part of the auction, said he was not going to beg. But then he went down on his knees and did it anyway. It was worth it. He got commitments for backing 171 libraries, surpassing the goal of 118, and in the last two minutes raised enough money to educate more than 100 girls.

All in a day’s work elsewhere and maybe so in India in the future. Or so hope the organizers.

Megha Bahree is a Mumbai-based correspondent for the Wall Street Journal.

via India Journal: The Future of Indian Philanthropy? – India Real Time – WSJ.


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$153 million to charity

Chen Guangbiao, a famous Chinese philanthropist and entrepreneur, signs his autobiography at a ceremony in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu province, on April 23. Provided to China Daily
A Chinese billionaire who donated more than 1 billion yuan ($153 million) to charity last year won the title of China’s top philanthropist on Tuesday.
Cao Dewang, chairman of the Fuyao Group in Fuzhou, capital of East China’s Fujian province, was named the biggest donor at the eighth charity awards ceremony, held by the China Association of Social Workers and China Philanthropy Times.
Cao’s contribution includes 400 million yuan for building a new library in Fuzhou and 100 million for earthquake relief in Yushu, Qinghai province.
However, his predecessor Chen Guangbiao, who won the title last year, has been involved in a swirling credibility crisis over possible donation fraud.
Chen, 42, president of Jiangsu Huangpu Recycling Resources Co Ltd, was one of the most high-profile philanthropists on the mainland.
A report by Beijing-based China Business Journal on Saturday claimed that some of Chen’s donations last year were either fake or questionable.
Two reporters with the journal said they investigated Chen’s major charitable activities in 2010 and found that some recipients’ names appeared fabricated.
For example, the China Philanthropy Times indicated that Chen donated 1 million yuan to the China Foundation of Human Rights for disaster-relief work in Haiti, which was hit by a 7.0-magnitude earthquake.
However, the reporters claimed no such organization exists and the China Foundation for Human Rights Development, which has a similar name, told China Business Journal it did not receive any donations from Chen in 2010.
Chen denied he had faked the donations.
During an interview by China Central Television on Monday he showed a certificate proving he donated 400,000 yuan to families of eight soldiers of Chinese peacekeepers who lost their lives during the Haiti earthquake through the Jiangsu Provincial Charity Federation.
Wang Xiaoyan, director of the financial department of the Red Cross Society of China, also confirmed that Chen donated 7 million yuan to her organization, including 1 million yuan for victims of the Haiti earthquake.
Deng Guosheng, deputy director of the Non-governmental Organization Research Center at Tsinghua University, said the case will help to make this burgeoning industry more transparent in China.
“It’s reasonable for media and the public to raise questions in terms of charitable donations and how the money has been used,” Deng said.
Deng also urged charitable organizations to improve their disclosures on donations.
via One billion yuan in donations from a billionaire – People\\\’s Daily Online.

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Charity begins at grade school

For Mark Mannarn, coming up with the concept for his charity event was simple. “I love hockey. And I hate cancer,” the 12-year-old says.

The result? Minor Hockey Fights Cancer, Feel Like a Pro Day, in Toronto (

Mark lost his grandmother to pancreaticcancer last year. His mother, Judy, is now fighting breast cancer. And after participating in a school program about student advocacy called We Day, Mark put the pieces together.

At his event at York University Ice Sports on June 18, former professional hockey players, including Paul Coffey, will host hockey clinics for boys and girls. The first 240 children to register and raise $200 in sponsorship get to participate. If they raise more, there are prizes and a “Gold Medal Game” with the pros.

“One hundred thousand dollars is my goal,” Mark says. “It’s to fund research and hopefully find a cure for cancer.”

The proceeds are earmarked for the Canadian Cancer Society. Mark is hoping that MHFC becomes an annual event for all minor-hockey communities across the country, “like the Terry Fox run.”

Sponsors, including banks and telcos, have been unable to resist Mark’s charms. It’s not hard to see the soft-spoken, Bieber-haired boy with a toothy smile as the perfect poster child.

It’s the new, pint-sized wave of fundraising. Three of the current top 10 fundraisers for the Ontario branch of the Canadian Cancer Society are children. Mark is ahead at almost $11,000.

Cancer charities are happy to be associated with kids like Mark. Newsletters and websites cheerfully print photos of these youthful dynamo volunteers. Kids now collect funds at birthdayparties, participate in charity runs and grow their hair so it can be cut and made into wigs for patients.

“We’re definitely seeing more youth fundraising activity,” says Kara Spedding, Ontario director of community outreach and innovation for the cancer society. “Kids are learning about the importance of philanthropy at a much younger age.”

Ellen Schwartz, a veteran elementary-school teacher and the founder of an Ontario-based curriculum about philanthropy, says parents are hoping that their kids out-fundraise them. “We want the next generation to be caring and compassionate, more than we are,” Ms. Schwartz says.

In Project Give Back classes, students in Grade 4/5 pick causes to research and support. Ms. Schwartz says that by choosing their own advocacy, the children – and the charities – get more of a boost.

“It’s driven by them and what touches their hearts,” she says. “With so much invested in it, they realize the power that they have and the self-esteem and confidence that goes with their presenting skills.”

Former students of Ms. Schwartz’s, Samantha and Sydney Turack, started the Blue Brain Bracelet drive while their late father was fighting brain cancer. They have sold more than 5,000 of the $10 beaded bracelets, according to the website.

Emotional appeals from children whose family members are fighting cancer are potent. “It’s quite hard for people to say no. These youth are incredibly driven and determined,” Ms. Spedding says.

The campaigns aren’t the lemonade stands of yore. Many are extremely slick social-media machines.

Mark, for one, spent a good part of his March Break overseeing the development of the event website with volunteer designers. There are crisp videos, presentations and a Bell-sponsored $5 text-giving program being rolled out.

“The PowerPoints these children put on!” Ms. Schwartz says. 

And while Mark’s father, Art, acknowledges that he has lent a major helping hand, he still gets choked up when talking about his son’s determination. “I try not to get emotional talking about it,” he says. “Working on this has been a huge blessing for us.”

Cancer is one of the most meaningful causes kids latch on to, Ms. Schwartz says. Even children who aren’t personally affected by it are acutely aware of growing cancer rates, and environmental and health risks associated with the disease.

“If I open a can of Diet Coke, my 11-year-old daughter will take it away from me,” Ms. Schwartz says, referring to studies that have suggested a link between aspartame and cancer.

But she says it’s key to help kids focus on the positive, especially with a scary disease.

“They’re learning that something good can come from something bad,” adds Ms. Schwartz, who also founded the neurodegenerative disease charity Jacob’s Ladder to benefit children like her son, Jacob, who has Canavan disease.

While Mark says focusing on his start-up event helps him cope with his feelings about his mom being ill, he also says there have been many happy moments to focus on.

Best memory so far? Making a presentation to his whole school. “After my speech, a lot of kids came up to me and said, ‘I really want to be involved. Even the Grade 4s.’ ”

via Kid philanthropists: Charity begins at grade school – The Globe and Mail.


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How to give money to charity?

By Liz Skinner

Financial advisers play an increasingly important role in helping wealthy clients get the most bang for their philanthropic bucks.

Increased scrutiny on philanthropic organizations is prompting individuals and families who give to non-profit groups to investigate whether their money is producing results.

“Especially a lot of younger clients who are givers, those 60 and down, want some accountability with their giving and want to know that organizations are doing what they say they are going to do,” said Alan Pratt, principal with Pratt Legacy Advisors.

Of course, showing progress in the fight against cancer, feeding starving children, environmental hazards and other causes is a challenge of its own for the recipients. But financial advisers who can help clients think more strategically about their giving can help them make more of an impact with their philanthropic gifts.


One of the traps wealthy people often fall into with their giving is spreading funds too thin to make much of a difference. Even though they give impressive sums, when it is doled out in small increments, it doesn’t have much of an effect. … Clients seek more advice about philanthropy – InvestmentNews.

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Lady Gaga To Give $1 Million To Homeless Charity In New York

(RTTNews) – Lady Gaga has announced that she will give away $1 million to a New York City charity to help the homeless.

In a new initiative launched on Facebook, the Mother Monster has asked her fans to vote for one of five different charities that are in the running to win the donation.

The charity groups competing for the payout include The Door, Hetrick-Martin Institute, Lawyers for Children, Safe Horizon and SCO Family of Services. The donation is a collaboration with the Robin Hood Foundation.

“I’m thrilled to be working with the Robin Hood Foundation to distribute funds to help the youth of New York City,” Gaga said in a statement. “NYC is my hometown and I think investing in these kids’ future will go a long way.”

Gaga will announce the winner on May 9 at a special fundraising event to benefit the Robin Hood Foundation.

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Australia – support small businesses through the financing of tourism.

Applications open today for a fresh round of Australian Government funding for tourism projects that will nurture quality tourism experiences and support Australia’s marketing campaigns.

This delivers on the Government’s election commitment to provide $40 million over four years to the TQUAL Grants program.

Applications for funding under the TQUAL Grants – Tourism Quality Projects are for Australian Government support of up to $100,000 for smaller-scale projects to stimulate private sector investment in the community.

“With Government funding matched dollar for dollar with private sector investment, the TQUAL Grants program will inject over $80 million into the tourism sector over the next four years,” Minister Ferguson said.

“Just like hotel rooms, Australia’s tourism experiences need constant refreshing to ensure they offer visitors a high quality experience and that visitors feel compelled to return.

“The grants will help lift Australia’s competitiveness as a tourism destination and stimulate investment in innovative products and services.”

Tourism is vital to the Australian economy, contributing $33 billion a year to Gross Domestic Product and employing one-in-12 working Australians.

Tourism is the nation’s largest services export and contributes eight per cent of Australia’s total export earnings.

The TQUAL Grants funding is separate and in addition to the $10 million joint Australian and Queensland Government tourism support package to assist Queensland tourism operators following the floods. The grants are open for applications from organizations across Australia. The grants are competitive and are independently assessed on merit.

Minister Assisting on Tourism, Nick Sherry, said many small businesses would benefit from TQUAL Grants – Tourism Quality Projects.

“The small business sector is the backbone of the Australian tourism industry.  These grants encourage small businesses to innovate and make holidays in Australia an even more attractive prospect for overseas travellers and Australians alike,” Minister Sherry said.

Applications for Tourism Quality Projects open today and will close on 15 April 2011 with announcements of successful projects by mid 2011.

For further information on TQUAL Grants visit


via  Gov Monitor

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Warner: FDIC hotline will help small businesses with access to credit | Augusta Free Press

U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner today announced that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has established a new hotline to help small businesses struggling to access credit. The hotline was announced today by FDIC chair Sheila C. Bair at a small business forum with Sen. Warner and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke held at George Mason University in Arlington.

Warner urged Bair to create this new hotline for businesses to call if they feel their loan was denied or reduced because a bank examiner was being too cautious. Businesses who call this hotline can have a second look taken at their loans to make sure that bank examiners are not standing in the way of otherwise responsible lending decisions.

Small businesses that have concerns or complaints about their financial institution can contact this new Small Business Hotline at 1.855.FDIC.BIZ, or 1.855.334.2249. FDIC personnel will respond to these inquiries and investigate complaints concerning FDIC-supervised financial institutions, and will refer small business owners to other government agencies and information resources.

“I am gratified that Chairman Bair and the FDIC have unveiled this new hotline for small businesses still struggling to access credit,” Warner said. “I have heard from a lot of Virginia bankers and small businesses about the somewhat mixed messages we’re sending from Washington: while we want to increase small business lending, we also are encouraging more responsible lending by banks. The FDIC’s ‘second look’ hotline will provide a new tool to make sure bank examiners in the field are not being more ‘risk averse’ than necessary if we truly want our economic recovery to catch hold.”

Small businesses have been caught in a perfect storm with this recession: real estate values have declined, consumer spending has declined, and banks have been crunched for capital — so they have reduced lending, Warner said.

“As a credit risk, small businesses can look like a tough bet in this economy. Real estate has been a big source of collateral in the past, but those values are all depressed. Cash flows look bad because of the cutbacks made by consumers,” Warner said. “But just looking at these two things can create a self-fulfilling prophecy, so I appreciate Chairman Bair’s efforts to help us re-boot lending activity for small businesses.”

Sen, Warner has been a champion in the Senate on behalf of Virginia’s small businesses. At his urging, the 2010 Small Business Jobs Act strengthened U.S. Small Business Administration loan programs, allowing SBA to support more than 22,000 loans worth more than $12 billion since October. Senator Warner also worked to bolster the State Small Business Capital Access Program, a state-based program that improves access to credit by improving lenders’ ability to lend to businesses that may not otherwise qualify under conventional underwriting criteria. This strengthened CAP program is expected to encourage at least $15 billion in additional small business lending.


via Warner: FDIC hotline will help small businesses with access to credit | Augusta Free Press.

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Commerce Secretary Gary Locke: Remarks at Summit on Entrepreneurship and Small Business Growth, Mountain View, California

This summit on entrepreneurship and small business growth will be valuable for anyone considering starting or growing a small business. And that means this summit will be important for America as a whole, because entrepreneurship is such a key driver of job growth.

Consider the fact that firms less than 5 years old accounted for nearly all increased employment in the private sector from 1980 to 2005. Or that nearly 40 percent of our nation’s employment comes from companies that didn’t even exist in 1980. This is the power and promise of entrepreneurship.

In these first few days of 2011, the Obama administration’s focus remains where it was in 2010 – on helping U.S. businesses grow so they can hire more people. And there’s no doubt that this pursuit will rely heavily on the success of the Asian American/Pacific Islander community and its businesses.

Every day, two million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders breathe life into small businesses – the very engines that grow our economy. There are more than one million AAPI owned firms in the United States – generating well over $300 billon dollars in sales-and employing 50 percent of all workers at minority firms.

We in the Obama administration want to make it easier for you to create, to grow and to hire. That’s why we’ve assembled many of our experts on innovation, data and technology here to offer guidance on federal efforts on job growth and business development.

There’s a great legacy of Asian American/Pacific Islander entrepreneurs, innovators and small business owners in America – all we want to do is smooth the way for that long line of accomplishment to continue.

Since President Obama was elected, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders nationwide have seen substantive gains in employment and achieved new heights in business engagement.

That success didn’t come easy. No one here needs reminding that our failing economy desperately needed swift and bold action after President Obama took office. So within the first 90 days, this administration:

* Passed a Recovery Act that provided tax cuts for more than 110 million people;
* Implemented the Small Business Jobs Act that put much-needed capital in the hands of entrepreneurs like many of you; and
* Passed the HIRE Act that offered new incentives for companies to hire Americans who had lost their jobs because of the recession.

Within the Asian American/Pacific Islander community, 8,000 AAPI-owned businesses have received over $5 billion worth of new loans thanks to the Recovery Act. That money has been used to invest in new employees and new tools for innovation and invention, and to encourage expansion of small and large businesses alike.

We’ve also implemented a variety of tax cuts to help AAPI businesses.

If you launch a small business, you can deduct a full $10,000 of its startup costs, and if you need to buy new equipment, go ahead and immediately write off the first $500,000 of your investments.

If you are self-employed, you can deduct 100 percent of the health-care expenses incurred by you and your family.

If you hire new employees who had previously been unemployed, there’s a tax credit for that.

And if you hire new employees and offer them health care, there’s a tax credit for that as well.

Along with these significant tax measures, we’ve provided more direct assistance to APPI firms.

AAPI small businesses have won over $1 billion in new government contracts. And the Small Business Administration has awarded minority-owned firms with grants for cutting edge R&D ventures.

Because so many of you have family, friends and other contacts in other countries around the world, we’ve made AAPI outreach an important part of our National Export Initiative.

via Commerce Secretary Gary Locke: Remarks at Summit on Entrepreneurship and Small Business Growth, Mountain View, California.

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G20 promotes new models of financial assistance to small businesses.

SEOUL, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) — The G20 Seoul Summit and Ashoka, a working community of social entrepreneurs, on Friday introduced 14 innovative finance models dedicated to unleashing the potential of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in emerging markets.

The impact of the finance models covers a wide range of strategies including training, risk management, visibility and access to new markets, said Ashoka Vice President Bill Carter during the summit.

He said 80 percent of SMEs in low income economies are caught in a finance trap and their needs to grow exceed the capability of most micro finance institutions.

“At the same time, these SMEs are not yet significant enough to access major financing from commercial banks,” he said.

Carter said the G20, through the Rockefeller foundation, asked Ashoka to seek solutions to this challenge by using their open- source and transparent online platform.

The 14 winning finance models were selected through independent judges from over 300 candidates in more than 30 countries in the world.

“There are many insights and useful examples in the work of these 14 winners. Their solutions are on track to direct billions and billions of dollars to small enterprises in low income economies around the world,” said Carter.

They offer new ways of linking enterprises to prospective investors, changing the rules to simplify and standardize loans, and new ways to evaluate the ongoing ability of the enterprise to service a loan, he said.

The SME sector is vital to the world economy and the role of SME businesses is increasingly viewed as that of a powerhouse of employment, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit, as well as a large source of investment, particularly in emerging markets, according to a discussion report on “nurturing SME sector” for the G20 Business Summit.

The G-20 summit was launched two years ago in the wake of the financial crisis with an aim to save the world from falling into a prolonged recession and preventing a recurrence of worldwide downturns in the future.

via G20 Seoul Summit promotes innovative finance models for SMEs.

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