author

About Julija A.

Julia A. is a writer at SmallBizGenius.net. With experience in both finance and marketing industries, she enjoys staying up to date with the current economic affairs and writing opinion pieces on the state of small businesses in America. As an avid reader, she spends most of her time poring over history books, fantasy novels, and old classics. Tech, finance, and marketing are her passions, and she’s a frequent contributor at various small business blogs.

Blog posts

The social media giant is recruiting financial companies and eCommerce firms to back up the launch of Facebook’s mysterious blockchain plan called “project Libra.”According to the Wall Street Journal’s report, the project is getting support from companies such as PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, Uber, and other major players, though it’s still unknown what role these businesses will play. After several indirect clues that the plan has finally been set in motion, Facebook has made it public that it intends to unveil its cryptocurrency next week and launch it next year. Allegedly, each of the partner firms invested $10 million into the project and created a governing body called the Libra Association. The Libra Association will not have direct control over the new cryptocurrency, and neither will Facebook. They plan to enlist around 100 organizations to act as “nodes” in the network in order to limit any single company’s control over the value of the currency. Facebook intends to market the currency primarily to developing countries, where traditional financial institutions are unreliable, and charge extortionate fees for cross-border remittance. Caitlin Long, a Forbes writer and blockchain advocate, claims that the new “cryptocurrency will be a powerful force for good in developing countries.” Given that third world countries often have unstable fiat currencies, Facebook could provide a store-of-value that is more reliable than the government-backed currencies. The Facebook coin will be tied to several currencies and low-risk securities instead of just the U.S. dollar, and the company plans to provide a physical structure (in the form of ATM terminals), to make it easier for users to exchange the cryptocoin for fiat currencies. Given the fact that Facebook is currently the target of an undergoing antitrust investigation, it’s possible that the social media firm is soliciting help from various tech and financial companies in an attempt to appease antitrust regulators. Despite the involvement of these companies in the cryptocurrency plans, they won’t be a direct part of the blockchain themselves without a bigger investment. To earn a place in the ledger, they will have to pay more than the initial $10 million. Facebook has also been working with financial authorities across the board to avoid further regulatory scrutiny, and they plan to incorporate anti-fraud systems and identity verification. It is still unclear how the coin will be used, but many experts believe that Facebook plans to allow users to purchase discounted goods from retailers, and transfer value directly from Facebook to retailers, cutting out banks and credit card companies from the process. The rumors are heating up, but we’ll have to wait until June 18 when the official announcement should paint a clearer picture of the situation.

By Julija A. June 14,2019

The U.S. Small Business Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency are opening a walk-in facility in Sand Springs, Oklahoma. The center will open at Case Community Center this week. Located at 1050 W. Wekiwa Road, the center will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day for as long as the flood victims need it. Oklahoma and Arkansas recently experienced the worst flooding in the history of both states, and the disasters have impacted the city infrastructure. Multiple shelters had to be opened, and a huge number of small business buildings and offices had to be relocated. The relief center is supposed to offer business physical disaster loans, economic injury disaster loans, and home disaster loans to help the victims. David Ritz, the U.S. Small Business Administration public information officer claims that the deadline to apply for financial disaster assistance from the U.S. Small Business Association is July 31. He encourages everyone who was affected to apply for help and reminds them that they won’t be forced to accept the loan when they apply for it. As global temperatures continue to rise, Oklahoma is set to experience more heat waves, droughts, and floods in the future. Wildlife, agriculture, water supplies, and forests will be affected, and this could lead to disastrous consequences for small business owners in the state. Farmers are expected to experience particular hardships, so a relief center such as this one could provide some assistance in helping companies get back on their feet. U.S. Small Business Administration regulations will be able to provide loans up to $200,000 to repair or replace real estate, and $40,000 to repair or replace personal property. In addition to property owners, renters will also be eligible for assistance. Those without sufficient funds, resources, and the ability to borrow from other sources will be eligible for an interest rate of 1.9% on home loans. If you want to apply for help, you’ll need to bring your ID, information about the damage suffered, and information about your income (such as the IRS W-2 form). After the paperwork has been filed, you’ll receive help as promptly as possible. You can fill out an online form for assistance here, or call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955. You can also contact customer service at [email protected] for further information.

By Julija A. June 14,2019

Bitcoin has finally crossed the $9,000 threshold after reaching $9,300 on Sunday. The price of bitcoin fell sharply in May while the market suffered from so-called “bull exhaustion”, but it quickly climbed back up. BTC/USD peaked at $9381 at 05:55 UTC.BTC was last traded at $9,250, representing 6.4% gains on the day. The cryptocurrency is up by 8% on a month-to-date basis. Once the high hit, people all over the world started trading—more than $19 billion worth of bitcoin has been exchanged, according to data. The digital currency is up by 22% in the last 30 days, and up by 142% since the beginning of the year. BTC’s all-time high reached $19,000 back in 2017. Investors are applying bullish strategies with bitcoin due to Facebook’s upcoming launch of a whole new cryptocurrency. The new coin will reportedly allow users to make purchases in the Facebook store, and there are over one-hundred companies backing Facebook’s new blockchain. Companies seem to be eager to invest in cryptocurrencies, and Facebook’s involvement in the crypto space is encouraging them to take greater strides. The industry has long been plagued by talk of illegal activity and regulatory scrutiny, but now that tech giants are behind the idea, the practice is given an air of legitimacy. Facebook’s move is likely to increase their engagement and revenue, but it’s also possible that it will encourage other people to pay more attention to virtual currencies.For example, litecoin is up 2.3 percent on a 24-hour basis. Rthereum’s ether token, XRP and bitcoin cash are up 4%, and EOS is the best performing cryptocurrency of the past 24 hours with 7.4% gains. There’s a possibility that BTC will rise toward the next major resistance at $10,000. Some indicators include the bitcoin’s 50- and 100-candle moving averages on the three-day chart appearing set to generate a bullish crossover. If anything, this is a good sign of bull market momentum. Similar circumstances unraveled in 2015, when the same cross marked the onset of a long-term bull market. Another factor which could have contributed to the increased value of BTC is Binance’s announcement that it would stop serving its US customers in September. Binance Coin is a popular stablecoin that is often used for trading in other currencies, and it seems that its selloff correlates with the rise of BTC’s price. Virtual currencies are entering a new era of success, and all that’s left is to see how quickly they become accepted as a part of everyday life.

By Julija A. June 17,2019

Congress set the federal minimum wage at $7.25 per hour in 2009. Next Sunday will mark the 10th anniversary of that date - and there have been no adjustments for rising living costs in all that time. It is the longest period without a minimum-wage hike in American history. Assuming a 40-hour work week with no paid time off, a worker will earn $15,080 per year under the federal minimum wage. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Living Wage calculator determines the minimum amount families must earn in different cities and states in order to meet “minimum standards of living.” According to MIT calculations, a single mother of two earning $7.25 per hour would have to work 138 hours per week to earn a living wage. Just for the sake of comparison, the living wage floor in 1970 was $1.60. This left a pre-tax surplus of 35% after basic expenditures. In 2015, the minimum wage leaves a 6% deficit between minimum wage and minimum living. Most American states have adopted a state-specific minimum wage to match the higher cost of living, but in 21 states the minimum wage matches the federal directive. This isn’t enough to live on, even in rural areas with a very low cost of living. Democrats have proposed to raise the minimum wage gradually to $15 by 2024. Opponents argue that raising the minimum wage benefits only young people with entry-level jobs, but according to data, it would actually raise wages for 40 million Americans with an average age of 35. Conservatives argue that increasing wages would affect small businesses, slowing job growth. However, research has disproved this theory several times. Not only would increasing the minimum wage improve worker retention, productivity, and customer service, it would also put more money into consumer’s pockets, boosting the overall economy. Companies such as Walmart and Amazon have already stated their support for the Democratic legislation, but it’s not just the big players that have taken a stand. Businesses for a Fair Minimum Wage, a consortium of more than 800 companies, is working to raise awareness and increase the federal minimum wage by 2024. Most of these companies are small businesses.

By Julija A. June 17,2019

Amazon recently responded to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s earlier claim that they pay “starvation wages” to their workers in a tweet which claims that they pay a $15 minimum along with full benefits from day one. “AOC is just wrong,” they asserted in a tweet on Monday, also pointing out that they are lobbying to raise the federal minimum wage. Ocasio-Cortez has criticized Amazon on Twitter and in interviews on multiple occasions, and her Sunday interview for ABC was particularly scathing. She stated that Jeff Bezos’s “being a billionaire is predicated on paying people starvation wages and stripping them of their ability to access health care,” adding that she doesn’t care whether Bezos is a millionaire or not, and that “his ability to be a billionaire is predicated on the fact that his workers are taking food stamps.” Amazon’s senior vice president of global corporate affairs, Jay Carney, also responded in a tweet, saying that Amazon workers get top-tier benefits, get paid more than 42% of Americans, and that AOC should focus on raising the federal minimum wage instead of going after Amazon. AOC was quick to respond, and replied to Amazon’s tweets several hours later: “If a person is working 40h/week & is paid so little that they need gov help to make ends meet, it’s not the person that’s a weight on our system – it’s the company,” she said. “People need to be paid a living wage. We stand up to co’s that rely on food stamps to make up for their low wages.” She also responded to Amazon’s claim that they pay a $15 minimum “since day one,” pointing out that Amazon’s Ohio employees had to resort to food stamps and that paying employees so little that they need to apply for government assistance just to feed themselves is the definition of “starvation wages.” It’s also interesting to note that Amazon only increased their minimum wage to $15 in November last year, after facing heavy criticism for their pay disparity. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s spokesperson, Cobin Trent, also made a statement: “Amazon built a nearly trillion-dollar company on the backs of the American people,” he claimed. “They have a business model that relies on the American taxpayer. Amazon has made billions using our roads, bridges, postal service, airports, and internet – all built with the tax dollars of hardworking Americans. You would think a company that relies so heavily on taxpayer innovations would be more willing to contribute to our society, but you’d be wrong. Amazon pays zero federal income tax, has extorted our cities and states for tax breaks and their employees often rely on government subsidies to get by. It is time for Amazon to do right by their employees. It is time for Amazon to do right by the American people.”

By Julija A. June 18,2019

Mecklenburg County in Charlotte, NC, is starting a small business loan program to help struggling minorities. Its primary aim is to reduce racial inequality and aid small business owners and people who want to start a new venture. The budget for reducing racial disparity has been quadrupled, and the county commissioners increased the budget from $2 million to $8 million on June 4 and allocated a portion of this sum to the new loan program. Peter Zeiler, the county’s director of economic development, said in an interview: “There’s a lot of families out there and individuals that have great ideas and simply need access to a little bit of capital to change their lives, and we’re hoping this can help them do that.”This fund will count $2.75 million and provide loans up to $75,000. Mecklenburg County Commission Chair George Dunlap claims he has been trying to make a loan program for a decade now and it has finally been approved. There are many people with good business ideas who simply don’t have the capital to make it come to fruition, and this kind of shortage of resources is a common problem for would-be business owners. This sort of incentive by the governing council is much-needed in small counties such as Mecklenburg, where business incubation could be the key to stabilizing the economy and increasing tax revenue. This loan program will be self-funding, which means that the interest paid from the loans will go directly into funding other loans. This lack of investors limits the program’s capacity, but it is a step in the right direction. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Black Chamber of Commerce board chair, Shante Williams, claims to be “cautiously optimistic” and that, while she’s glad that the county is taking steps towards equality, she fears it might not be enough. Dunlap claims that the funds should be sufficient in the long run. Not every business will get funded in the first cycle, but as time goes by and more small enterprises become successful and repay their interest rates, more companies will receive funding. Each new cycle could potentially increase funding. It will also help people who are unable to get bank loans. Banks generally only approve loans to firms that are already established, which means only those who no longer need a loan can get one. This way, small enterprises will have access to government funding. While this fund aims to decrease racial disparity, it will be available to everyone, regardless of race. The fund will be managed by an independent lending agency, and the program is set to go into effect by the end of the summer.

By Julija A. June 18,2019

A company called Maven is now to run Sports Illustrated for Authentic Brands Group (ABG). Last month, ABG bought Sports Illustrated Magazine from Meredith Corporation for $110 million, and they announced that Meredith Corp. will continue to run the magazine for at least two more years, with the old editor and publisher still onboard. Chris Stone, the Editor-in-Chief, stated that the deal would allow them to keep producing quality, award-winning content and give Sports Illustrated a chance to grow in areas such as e-sports. However, this Monday during an SEC filing, Maven claimed that it has a licensing deal to run the physical copy of the magazine and the website. Ross Levinsohn, the former publisher of the Los Angeles Times, is meant to be the CEO and manage day-to-day operations. Sports Illustrated will soon be changing its name to Sports Illustrated Media. While the terms of the contract were not disclosed, it is known that Maven paid $45 million up front and that it will get publishing rights until 2029. After that, there’s a possibility that they might be renewed. Authentic Brands Group claims that they’re still negotiating the involvement of the new publisher, but Meredith Corporation might still work for the magazine. It would appear that Meredith has long been planning to sell titles that didn’t fit its image, which is how Time magazine ended up in the hands of Marc Benioff. ABG specializes in managing entertainment, fashion, and sports, so acquiring Sports Illustrated is a perfect fit. It will provide the opportunity for brand growth and an expanded reach in social media and the digital domain, which includes sports gambling and e-sports. ABG will be responsible for the marketing and business planning portion, while Maven will manage the creative side. These two companies will split the revenue for the parts of the business that Maven isn’t licensing.Maven is a relatively unknown startup, but last week they acquired TheStreet financial site for $16.5 million. ABG plans to invest in this small company and help it rise to success. It’s also important to note that Ross Levinsohn was recently accused of sexual misconduct and put on paid leave while he was still managing Los Angeles Time magazine. He was consequently cleared of all charges by Tronc company and put in charge of all future Tribune Interactive divisions.

By Julija A. June 18,2019

After unveiling their new cryptocurrency project on Tuesday, Facebook is experiencing pushback from both U.S. and European lawmakers. The launch is facing heavy scrutiny and some of the officials calling for it to be put on indefinite hold. Facebook has recently announced the release of Libra, a blockchain project that will involve a consortium of big companies such as Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, Uber, and Spotify. The currency is meant to enable cheap and easy payments all around the world, and it will be marketed primarily to developing countries. As soon as the tech giant published its white paper on Libra, politicians were quick to voice their concerns. Maxine Waters, the Democratic congresswoman and House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman gave a press statement that was picked up by multiple news outlets: “With the announcement that it plans to create a cryptocurrency, Facebook is continuing its unchecked expansion and extending its reach into the lives of its users."She continued with a demand for Facebook to put project Libra on hold: "Given the company's troubled past, I am requesting that Facebook agree to a moratorium on any movement forward on developing a cryptocurrency until Congress and regulators have the opportunity to examine these issues and take action.”After the statement, a Facebook spokesperson was asked for comment. "We look forward to responding to lawmakers' questions as this process moves forward," they stated, implying that the company doesn’t plan to cease the development. Given Facebook’s history of scandal and the antitrust investigation they are currently being subjected to, both Republican and Democratic officials are reluctant to give the company free reign and allow them even more power to control the market. In Europe, government representatives are similarly opposed to the idea. “It can’t and it must not happen,” the French Finance Minister, Bruno Le Maire, claimed in an interview for Bloomberg. A German member of the European Parliament also stated that Facebook is at risk of becoming a “shadow bank” and that they “must not be allowed to operate in a regulatory nirvana when introducing virtual currencies.”U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown is also concerned about Facebook becoming too big and too powerful to control. He stated: “We cannot allow Facebook to run a risky new cryptocurrency out of a Swiss bank account without oversight. I'm calling on our financial watchdogs to scrutinize this closely to ensure users are protected." The social media company has had numerous issues in the past. Several privacy concerns were raised, the latest one related to a huge data leak that leaked millions of user records on cloud servers. With this new cryptocurrency, there are many concerns that Facebook will exploit users’ data without protecting their privacy.

By Julija A. June 19,2019