Archive for March, 2012

Next Tuesday: Vote!

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

Tuesday, March 20, 2012, is Illinois’ General Primary Election.
We strongly encourage you to vote.

We hear people say that they are “just one vote” – you are exactly correct, you only get one vote. However, one vote is all anyone gets and it is the collective response of all of these “one” votes that represents the viewpoint of those voting.

If you are already registered, you can find out where to vote and even see a sample ballot online. Go to http://tinyurl.com/2012Aurora . This is our government, elected by us, to serve us – don’t miss the chance to be heard. Vote.

11th Congressional District Update:

U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert will remain unopposed in the Republican primary in the 11th Congressional District. An Illinois appellate court ruled late Wednesday to uphold the Illinois State Board of Elections decision earlier this week to knock Kane County Clerk Jack Cunningham off the ballot because two of his petition collectors failed to have their documents notarized in person The matter has been ongoing for more than a month after supporters of Biggert, challenged his signature petitions.

JOBS Act would aid young companies by lightening regulations

Monday, March 12th, 2012

March 12, 2012
USA Today
Tim Mullaney

After winning rare bipartisan approval in the House of Representatives, a package of bills aimed at kick-starting the market for initial public offerings and other financing options for start-up companies may reach a Senate vote in a week.

The Jumpstart Our Business Start-ups bill, or JOBS Act, would help young companies by exempting smaller businesses from some regulations imposed after the tech stock bust of 2000, said Kate Mitchell, chairwoman of the IPO Task Force, a group organized by the National Venture Capital Association. Former venture-backed start-ups account for 12 million U.S. private-sector jobs, according to an NVCA-commissioned study.

The measure won a 390-23 vote in the House on Thursday and has White House backing.

Venture capital lobbyists plan to deliver a letter today with 700 signatures to Senate leaders urging a quick vote, NVCA spokeswoman Emily Mendell said.

“I see this as a confluence of smart regulatory reform and a jobs agenda,” said Mitchell, a partner at Scale Venture Partners in Silicon Valley.

She said the companies need access to IPOs and other capital to grow quickly and create jobs.

The association has argued that IPOs have fallen 80% since the 1990s. It largely blames the cost of complying with the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley securities law, which it says can cost a company $1.5 million a year, and restrictions on when investment banks can publish research reports on IPO clients after a public offering. Loosening those restrictions would increase information available to investors, the association says.

The bill would allow companies with less than $1 billion in annual sales, or that are selling less than $700 million of stock, to give investors two years of audited financial results before they go public instead of three, and have lighter regulation for up to five years after the IPO.

It would also let investment banks publish research about their clients’ IPOs deals before they happen, which is now barred under the so-called “quiet period” rules to avoid market manipulation.

Other provisions would raise from $5 million to $50 million the ceiling for shares that a private company can sell as part of a public offering before having to register with the SEC, raise the SEC registration threshold from 500 to 1,000 shareholders, and increase the number of shareholders permitted to invest in a community bank from 500 to 2,000.

The bill would help businesses about the size of Demandware, a maker of Web commerce software used by clients such as Panasonic and Callaway Golf, which is scheduled to go public this week; and Chuy’s Holdings, a Texas-based chain of 31 Mexican restaurants that is in pre-IPO registration.

Chuy’s CEO Steve Hislop said he hasn’t yet determined if the proposed rules will affect anything about his company’s deal.

The bill sparked some backlash from groups representing consumers and small investors, who said it would boost chances of immature companies going public, and also of fraud by investment bankers.

Kathleen Smith, head of an IPO-focused mutual find company and research firm, said Congress wants to be seen as supporting anything intended to create jobs.

“If it’s a job-creating headline, the politicians will all agree we need jobs,” said Smith, a principal at Renaissance Capital, which runs the IPO Plus Aftermarket mutual fund.

Banks that manage IPOs will be able to use inside access to past financial results to dominate research on new companies, with incentives to promote their firms’ banking clients, she said.

Instead of being narrowly tailored to help small business, the bill will loosen rules, some decades-old, for larger companies that did 98% of all recent IPOs, she said.

“But we’re better independent analysts when we have three years of financials, because we know more.”

U.S. adds 227,000 jobs in February; unemployment rate unchanged at 8.3%

Friday, March 9th, 2012

Courtesy of Crain’s Chicago Business

(AP) — U.S. employers added 227,000 jobs in February to complete three of the best months of hiring since the recession began. The unemployment rate was unchanged, largely because more people streamed into the work force.

The Labor Department said Friday that the unemployment rate stayed at 8.3 percent last month, the lowest in three years.

And hiring in January and December was better than first thought. The government revised those figures to show 61,000 an additional jobs.

The economy has now generated an average of 245,000 jobs in the past three months. The only stretch better since the recession began was in early 2010.

Last month’s hiring was broad-based and in both high-paying and lower-paying industries. Manufacturing, mining, and professional services, such as accounting, all added jobs.

Nearly a half-million people began looking for work last month, and most found jobs, the report said. That’s a sign of growing optimism in the job market, as many people who had given up on looking for work come off the sidelines to search for jobs.

That also counters a troubling trend: A key reason why the unemployment rate has dropped since last year is that many out-of-work people have stopped looking for work. Only people without jobs who are actively seeking one are counted as unemployed.

Read more

A Message from the Chair: Together We Can Make a Difference

Monday, March 5th, 2012

On behalf of the entire Board of Directors for the Chamber, I would like to thank all of you for supporting the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce and your community. Since 1906, the Aurora Regional Chamber has been an indispensable part of our community and a valued resource to our members. We represent nearly 800 local businesses throughout the Aurora Region — businesses in nine counties in the metropolitan area.

As Chairman of the Board, my goal is to maintain a positive, forward-thinking board that is focused on putting “commerce” back into the Chamber of Commerce. We must stay true to our mission of a membership-driven association; we shall serve as a catalyst for business development in the Aurora region. I am very excited to tell you, half way through my term, we are doing just that.

Businesses join Chambers for a number of different reasons. I wanted to write this message to the membership to assure you that the Chamber Staff, Board, and committees are listening to your suggestions and are working diligently to bring tangible benefits directly to your businesses.

During the next six weeks, I will highlight and focus on the following topics:
• Providing Networking Opportunities and Building Relationships
• Promoting Our Business Members
• Strengthening Our Local Economy
• Representing Our Community
• Representing the Interests of Business with Government, and
• Meet the Staff and Board.

We are providing networking opportunities and building relationships. When it comes to networking, the name of the game is getting involved. Chambers, clubs, and affiliations expose you to networking possibilities. It is up to all of us to make the most of these programs — Get involved. Become active. Remain engaged. By themselves, we all know that these programs do not guarantee success. The old adage “You will get back what you put in to it” is a fact, especially when it comes to networking. We are offering a diverse line up of networking events that are appealing to our membership.

Since September, we have identified and promoted five new Business After Hours events. These events highlight a local business and feature a casual way to get to know your peers in a relaxed after-hours environment. There are a number of additional ones being finalized. Watch your e-mail — and check the Chamber’s calendar of events — for all upcoming programs.

We also have launched a program called Progressive Connections. This members-only program ensures connections with different industries; it is an excellent way to meet and learn about member businesses. Progressive Connections is a first-come, first-serve program held the second Monday of the month at the Chamber.

The goal of our Business Development Leads Groups is to assemble a group of professional, creative, focused, and fun individuals who will help to grow each other’s businesses through the exchange of referrals and business contacts.

Our Diversity Network is a multi-cultural, networking group that celebrates the diversity that makes our region great. The network provides bi-lingual networking opportunities for present and prospective chamber members.

We continue to support the Fox Valley Networking Professionals, a very successful networking breakfast series that focuses on bringing people together over massive omelets.

For those who want to network 24/7, it is now possible with our Online Referral Network. Completely online, participants in the group can exchange leads and connections to peers through a secure portal. For details, visit https://localbase.com/chamber/4009/business/learn-more.

We continue with our ongoing development, networking, and promotion of the HR & Employers Roundtable to engage large employers in local development. Regular lunch meetings feature subject-matter experts presenting information important to human resources professionals.

The NFP Alliance continues quarterly to create an open forum for participants to collaborate and to take advantage of community resources.

Our Holiday Celebration, Golf Outing, Coffee and Connections — everything the Chamber does — each has a networking component.

I am proud of the work the Chamber Team has done putting these programs together. I am thrilled at the time and effort our membership invests by getting involved and making these programs successful. We are all in this together, colleagues. There is no magic solution when it comes to networking; however, I know one thing: Getting involved and putting yourself out there is the first step!

I look forward to seeing you all at these events. Together we can make a difference.

To your success!

Bill Winsininski
Chairman of the Board