STEP initiative will help small businesses export

first_imgThe US Small Business Administration is providing $30 million in grants to states, territories, and the District of Columbia, to help increase exporting by small businesses during the next 12 months. The grants were authorized by the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, under the State Trade and Export Promotion Program (STEP). Vermont has been allocated $363,768.The STEP program, launched in March, aligns with President Obama’s National Export Initiative.  The President’s initiative calls for doubling U.S. exports in five years ‘ and in so doing, supporting two million jobs. The program provides federal government funding for 65 to75 percent of program costs, with states supplying the remainder. SBA Administrator Karen Mills announced the awards today at an event in Raleigh, N.C., at Raleigh Denim, a small business that produces and exports denim products.  Forty-seven states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands received STEP grants.‘Strengthening the nation’s economy through a substantial increase of U.S. exports is a top priority for the Administration and the agency,’ said Mills. ‘This is a unique partnership between the federal government and the states.  Sharing responsibilities and resources will help new small exporters across the country enter and succeed in the global market.’The funding will support participation in foreign trade missions, foreign market sales trips, subscriptions to services provided by the Department of Commerce, website translations fees, design of international marketing media, trade show exhibitions, participation in training workshops, and other critical export initiatives.Small businesses that want to receive assistance under the STEP program should contact the organizations serving the states in which they are located. For a list of these organizations and more information about the STEP program, visit is external).The SBA anticipates it will conduct a new competition for STEP program grants during the winter of 2011.  Awards will be made in September 2012 for export support services by states over the following 12 months.last_img read more

Equities drive Spanish pension fund recovery in Q2

first_img“Inflation and interest rate hikes have subtracted from fund performance, while equities and alternative assets have added positive performance to funds.”According to Pulido, investors were currently looking how to reposition their pension funds to avoid the drag in performance.“Positions in core European bonds are not an option, while peripheral bonds offer relative yield but with political risks,” he said. “Loans and variable interest bonds seem the most attractive option looking forward.”Figures from Mercer’s Pension Investment Performance Service (PIPS) show that funds made a negative return of 1.4% for the first quarter of 2018.The PIPS survey covered a large sample of pension funds, most of them occupational schemes.Since the first quarter, mainly driven by non-eurozone equities, pension funds had recovered most of their negative performance; the return for the year to 30 June 2018 was -0.5%, according to PIPS.Non-eurozone equities returned 1.0%, with negative returns for eurozone equities and both euro and non-euro fixed income.The best performance came from real estate, which returned 1.1%.Inverco’s figures showed that for Spanish pension funds as a whole, the fixed income component remained steady at 47.3% of portfolios, while equities rose slightly, to a 35.5% allocation. Spanish government bonds still made up the biggest single component of pension fund portfolios at 23.9%, with a further 13.5% in domestic corporate bonds.Pulido observed: “Multi-credit, which invests in different fixed income sub-asset classes, has become another of the most favoured asset classes, allowing portfolios to achieve higher diversification levels and therefore increasing efficiency ratios over time, rather than investing in a unique asset class such as high yield debt.”Meanwhile, the average allocation to domestic securities continued to decline, forming 52.6% of portfolios at end-June.Conversely, non-domestic holdings continued to rise, to 32.2% at the same date. Cash holdings had declined slightly, to 7.7%.According to PIPS, over one-third – 36.9% – of Spanish occupational pension fund portfolios was invested in eurozone fixed income, with 13.6% in non-eurozone fixed income, at 30 June 2018. Eurozone equities made up 18.2%, and non-eurozone equities 19.0%, of portfolios at that date. Investments in alternatives formed 3.8% of portfolios and real estate 2.5%, with 6% in cash.Inverco said that at the end of June, total assets under management for the Spanish occupational pensions sector stood at €35.2bn, a reduction of 1% over the past year. The number of participants in the occupational system was stable, at just over 2m. Spanish pension funds with a greater exposure to equities made positive returns at the end of the second quarter of 2018 despite increased volatility in financial markets, according to the country’s Investment and Pension Fund Association (Inverco).Occupational pension funds returned an average 1.11% for the 12 months to end-June 2018, compared with a 0.5% return for the 12 months to end-March 2018.The second quarter results bring the average annualised returns for Spanish occupational funds to 1.78% for the three years to 30 June 2018, and 4.21% for the five years to that date.“Fixed income has been the lagging asset class in terms of returns in the last few months, said Ricardo Pulido, executive director, investment, Aon.last_img read more

Ex-drug convict shot dead

first_imgThe 47-year-old Mariano Encabo ofBarangay Paraiso, Sagay City died of gunshot wound on the face, a police reportshowed. BACOLOD City – A former drug convictwas shot dead in Barangay Poblacion 3, Sagay City, Negros Occidental. Recovered from the crime scene was anempty shell of a .45-caliber pistol. Encabo was rushed to the LopezDistrict Farmers Hospital Inc. in Sagay City where he was declared dead whilebeing treated.  center_img According to police investigators,Encabo was driving a motorcycle when an unidentified suspect shot him around10:25 p.m. on Saturday. Officers of the Sagay City policestation have yet to identify the suspect and the motive in the shooting./PNlast_img read more

Haiti coach focussed on Gold Cup qualification

first_imgCOUVA, Trinidad & Tobago, (CMC) – Haiti coach Jean-Claude Josaphat hailed his side’s performance in the Caribbean Cup fifth-place playoff against Suriname and hosts Trinidad & Tobago.Josaphat was handed the coaching reins just prior to the start of the tournament, due to a pay dispute between the Haitian Football Federation and previous head coach Patrice Neveu, but the Caribbean’s No.1 side still prevailed over spirited opposition.Following a 4-2 win over the Surinamese and 4-3 extra-time victory over the Soca Warriors, the Haitians earned a place in a two-game playoff with the fifth-place side from this month’s Copa Centroamericana for the last ticket to the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup.“I have had wonderful experiences in the coaching world,” said Josaphat. “Beating T&T, the most successful team in the Caribbean Cup however, and progressing to the next round is the proudest moment of my coaching career. This is a good moment for the Haiti national team.“If you look at how we approached the two games, we played with lots of confidence. The team showed a lot of character and really put in a solid effort in two tough games. I am sure that if we can play with this same determination and intensity that we can qualify for the 2017 edition of the CONCACAF Gold Cup.”Two years, French Guiana defeated Honduras 3-1 at home in the first leg of the Caribbean/Central American playoff for the 2015 Gold Cup, only to drop a 3-0 decision on in the return match.Jospahat said there was no preference for a Central American opponent, but helping Haiti reach the Gold Cup for the seventh time was his main goal.“I am not necessarily hoping to get a particular team and avoid another in the playoff against the Central American team,” he said.“All teams in Central America are tough, so we will have to play as well as how we did in Trinidad in order to qualify for the Gold Cup. It won’t be easy, but we can do it.”last_img read more