» The U.S. Small Business Administration has published new rules designed to make surety bonds more accessible for small contractors. Corporate surety bonds protect project owners against financial loss should a contractor default. Governments often require firms to post surety bonds in order to get public construction projects. The new rules allow fewer SBA audits of bond companies, which will also be allowed to charge higher rates. The SBA will guarantee 90% of a bond’s loss for small businesses owned by military veterans.
» The Florida Venture Forum is accepting applications from Florida private companies interested in participating in the 2008 Florida Venture Capital Conference in St. Petersburg Jan. 29-30. The final deadline for applications is Nov. 19. The organization also announced that it will hold the inaugural Florida Early Stage Venture Capital Conference in late May and will likely feature eight to 12 companies during a one-day forum in Orlando. About 250 early-stage private and institutional investors will be attending.
» Gov. Charlie Crist will lead a trade mission to São Paulo, Brazil, Florida’s largest trading partner, Nov. 3-8. Businesses interested in attending should contact Ivan Barrios at Enterprise Florida by early October at 305/808-3390.