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By Philip Haldiman, Independent Newsmedia

If all big-time cities have big-time companies and industries, then Peoria could be moving closer to the big time.

Arizona State University wants to operate and manage the BioInspire program, Peoria’s technology and biomedical incubator, in partnership with the city.

The marriage could bring a wide range of technologies to the incubator, spanning from software development to cyber-security, and more.

ASU and city officials recently met to discuss a proposal from the mega university that would expand on BioInspire, which was launched in 2011.

Mayor Cathy Carlat said ASU brings a wide range of experience in developing companies and a large network to help expand BioInspire.

This is an opportunity to grow the city’s brand as a hub for innovation and technology.

“We have been committed to producing an innovation economy for some time now … and we are still committed and will be committed until this ecosystem becomes a realty and these types of business are able to plant seeds and start doing business in Peoria,” Ms. Carlat said. “We have a specific vision for this city and it’s not the kind that comes easily, but we are willing to work hard and put our money where our mouth is.”

The city helps fund eligible businesses associated with BioInspire. But under the ASU agreement, Scott Whyte, director of economic development services, said Peoria would cover only 10 percent of the program’s costs, amounting to a financial leverage of more than $3 million over three years.

He said ASU’s vast network of angel and venture investors can provide funding for incubator businesses. There will be a fee for service to the city associated with ASU’s program, he said.

While Peoria has not fully committed to the proposal, the city’s contract with operator and manager BioAccel ended in November and earlier this month the City Council approved an agreement to wind down its function with the operator.

Mr. Whyte said an agreement could come before the Council this month.

“The City Council will need to decide if the ASU proposal for the continuation of the BioInspire program is in the city’s interest,” he said.

Entrepreneurial ecosystem
“Entrepreneurial ecosystem” is the buzz phrase that has been floating around the proposed partnership between Peoria and ASU.

Mr. Whyte said having an entrepreneurial ecosystem is a public benefit that fosters all aspects of taking an idea from inception through to commercialization.

He said developing the ecosystem can grow Peoria’s entrepreneurial base and attraction, lead to the launch of new technology start-ups and lead to the creation of innovative technologies, as well as foster an environment of innovation and entrepreneurial activity.

The recently opened Maricopa Small Business Development Center Network, 8385 W. Mariners Way, is a piece of the entrepreneurial ecosystem Peoria is trying to create, he said.

“At root of it is an entrepreneurial ecosystem development. When you look at successful executions throughout the country, there’s a whole support system provided for entrepreneurialism for small business and innovation creativity.

Those examples, done well, they have been enormously impactful economically,” Mr. Whyte said. “But you have to create the mentorships, the services, the funding, the ability to help with required federal studies and approvals, and get in front of senior executives that are willing to serve on boards — all those things it takes to secure intellectual property. And if you can create that environment for innovation success then it will attract innovation creativity.”

Booming business
The incubator and accelerator space is exploding in Arizona, according to a survey completed by the Arizona Commerce Authority in January 2015.

The economic development organization conducted a telephone survey with representatives of 10 incubators and accelerators operating in this state. The study said the incubator and accelerator community is exploding in Arizona, with many facilities formed since 2011.

Today there are more than 40 incubators in the state that serve a wide range of technologies.

At the time of the survey, more than 300 Arizonans were working on a start-up at these incubators, more than 60 percent being paid. The incubators and accelerators surveyed nurtured companies that have created almost 900 full-time jobs. Companies that took part in these incubator and accelerator programs raised more than $110 million in private capital.

David Allen, vice president of Tech Launch Arizona, said incubators have been around for about 40 years and have been an important part of economic strategies.

Tech Launch Arizona is part of the commercialization arm of University of Arizona, which looks at inventions created by faculty, evaluates them for patentablity and commercial potential, and then tries to find a home for the technology.

He said businesses that are tenants of incubators are usually more successful than companies at-large.

“Incubators generally provide services that entrepreneurs may have a hard time accessing in the broader community,” he said. “The other thing is that an incubator provides an environment of synergy in which entrepreneurs can learn from others. They no longer have to be alone like they would be if they were out in the broader community.”

Building on the past
Since it launched, BioInspire has attracted 12 early stage biomedical device companies, brought in more than $14 million in additional private funding, and created 62 jobs.

Mr. Whyte said the biomedical industry has been the focus of the program because of the large health-care footprint in Peoria and the surrounding area, the number of medical device patents issued, and a sizable retirement population with medical devise needs.

“No other incubator at the time was focused on medical devices,” Mr. Whyte said.


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5 Ways Veterans Can Strengthen Their Credit Scores
Sunday, April 09th, 2017 | Author:

These circumstances can lead to financial mismanagement, which can negatively impact veterans’ credit scores. A survey by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling found that 58 percent of veterans carry debt from month to month (almost twice the rate of civilians); a study published in the American Journal for Public Health found that 30 percent of veterans have gone over their credit limit, bounced or forged a check, been reported to a collection agency, or fallen victim to a financial scam.

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“A business that closes still must pay its employees,” said Los Angeles attorney Joshua H. Haffner. “The misclassification class action will proceed.” (LAW OFFICE OF JOSHUA H. HAFFNER)

DALLAS — Graebel Van Lines, a 65-year-old carrier of household goods based in Dallas, has ceased operations, according to multiple reports.

The company, which had 875 drivers in 2015, is in liquidation, Graebel stated in a letter sent to its creditors March 22.

“Graebel Van Lines, LLC and its affiliates … are ceasing ongoing operations, effective immediately and will begin winding down their affairs,” the letter stated. “Stored items will be transferred to a new service provider or made available for pickup by the owner.

“The assets of Graebel Van Lines and all of its operating affiliates are subject to the liens of a secured creditor. Therefore, Graebel Van Lines and its affiliates are cooperating with the secured creditor to conduct an orderly liquidation of the Companies’ assets … Please note that this is not a notice of bankruptcy, and no bankruptcy proceeding is pending at this time.

We regret that the circumstances of recent months have led to this result, and we ask for your cooperation in our efforts to manage this liquidation with a minimum of administrative expense.”

The “circumstances” include a class-action lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court by attorney Joshua Haffner on behalf of Graebel driver Fidel Coronel and others, charging failure to provide state-mandated breaks, minimum wages, expenses, overtime and for related issues.

Graebel laid off 50 people in Wisconsin in November and has closed other satellite offices recently.

Graebel Companies, Inc. sold Graebel Van Lines effective January 1, 2015, to an independent set of investors, a Graebel Companies spokesperson said. Since the divestiture, Graebel Van Lines is no longer a business owned by Graebel Companies, Inc. or any entity related to the Graebel Companies. For more than two years, Graebel Companies and Graebel Van Lines have been completely separate companies with different management teams.

Haffner, reached on April 4, told The Trucker that the lawsuit will go on.

“I notice they aren’t saying they are filing bankruptcy since they mentioned they will be ceasing ongoing operations … and will begin winding down their affairs,” he said.

“A business that closes still must pay its employees. The misclassification class action will proceed.”

Commenting earlier, Haffner defended the basis for the class-action lawsuit.

“State laws supplement federal laws regarding labor, and the justification for them is federalism,” he said. “Each state has the right to regulate labor relations.”

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Bank Camp;I loans and credit creation slowdowns – a warning sign?

While the overall slowdown in growth of bank loans has not gone unnoticed, its differences across categories and the varied risks they pose have not been fully assessed. So UBS Securities delved deeper into the numbers to answer the question: Should investors be concerned about the marked decline in credit creation?

Pexels / Pixabay

The Swiss bank’s short and quick answer: The decline in credit creation is not likely to herald significant corporate stress in the coming months because the supply of credit remains sufficient, but businesses and investors could be understating the headwinds of policy uncertainty and high corporate leverage, two key factors causing the lower credit offtake.

“While there are some potential risks with the consumer and housing markets, we see the real worries emanating from the corporate sector,” the Swiss bank said. “The slowdown in bank Camp;I (commercial and industrial) loans is drastic by any recent point of comparison.”

To assess the real impact of credit growth levels, UBS used Federal Reserve’s H.8 data but discounted, among other things, reverse repos and loans to foreign governments and banks, and lending by the foreign banks. The adjusted measure still showed overall bank credit slowing appreciably but at a lower rate when compared to the unadjusted measure. – at an annualized pace of 2.2% per month since November 2016, compared to a medium-term trend of 4.8% from 2012-2016.

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ACCC Provides Tips on How to Use Credit Wisely
Saturday, April 08th, 2017 | Author:
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Home loans under Trump
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Examining the causes of homelessness
Friday, April 07th, 2017 | Author:

Between 20 to 50 percent of homeless women cite intimate partner violence as the primary cause of their homelessness, according to the report.

Additionally, women experiencing homelessness report that lack of stable housing is a major reason reason they remained in violent relationships. Studies in two Midwestern states found that approximately 45 percent of homeless women reported staying in a violent relationship for up to two years because of lack of alternative housing, and women experiencing domestic violence are four times more likely to report housing instability than women who are not.

Economic abuse, which is defined as efforts to control an individual’s ability to acquire, access, and maintain economic resources, poses a serious threat to women’s economic stability, and economic abuse can lead to high debt-to-income ratios, poor credit and rental histories, lack of savings or access to bank accounts, and difficulty maintaining stable employment. These factors make it more difficult for a woman leaving a violent relationship to find stable housing, increasing the risk of homelessness, according to the report.

Unaccompanied youth

“Unaccompanied youth are students, typically teenagers, who are couch surfing. They always have a schedule of where they think they could go. We have had some kids living in cars,” said Dr. Dill of Camdenton.

Unaccompanied youth include those who are homeless and on their own – not living with their families. These kids include “runaways” who choose to leave after some disagreement at home, who are encouraged to leave or locked out of their homes by their parents or who have irreconcilable conflicts with those at home. These youth can also include victims of abuse or also those who have spent time in foster care.

According to Child Trends Data Bank’s Homeless Children and Youth Report in 2015, surveys of city officials in the US cited mental illness, substance abuse and lack of affordable housing as the most frequently cited reasons for unaccompanied youth.

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BOSTON –Santander will pay a $22 million settlement to Massachusetts for issuing high-rate auto loans to consumers with poor credit.

Attorney General Maura Healey announced the agreement Wednesday.

Santander is the largest packager of subprime auto loan securities in the US Subprime auto loans are those made to consumers with poor credit by private financial institutions like Santander working through car dealerships.

Healey said the loans made by Santander to more than 2,000 Massachusetts residents were unfair and unaffordable.

Healeys investigation, done jointly with the Delaware Attorney Generals office, found that Santander allegedly made the loans without believing the borrowers could repay them. Santander predicted many of the loans would default and allegedly knew that reported incomes of the borrowers were incorrect or inflated, according to Healeys office.

According to Healey, Santander identified a group of dealers with high default rates, which the company called fraud dealers, but continued to fund loans through those dealers.

The settlement will provide $16 million to more than 2,000 Massachusetts borrowers who were affected and $6 million to the state of Massachusetts. Santander agreed to implement more oversight of its auto lending.

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Dive Brief:

  • Freddie Mac has introduced an automated process that replaces mortgage lenders’ current manual underwriting procedures for borrowers without credit scores. Automated assessments will make the process more efficient and provide greater certainty that the government-backed lender will purchase the loan, HousingWire reported.

  • The Loan Product Advisor will evaluate loans based on Freddie Mac’s credit requirements to determine risk for borrowers who lack credit scores but can supply payment references.

  • The move aims to support responsible lending while improving access to credit for all borrowers, including those with low and moderate incomes, as well as first-time buyers.
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Kenneth R. Harney / Washington Post Writers Group

When is your “credit score” irrelevant in buying a house or refinancing a mortgage? A new federal legal settlement with a major credit bureau has the answer.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says that Experian “deceptively marketed credit scores to consumers by misrepresenting” them as “the same” as what their lender would use to determine loan terms.

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