The Future of Internships Is Mostly, But Not Entirely, Virtual

May 21, 2020 11 min read Cecelia Nancarrow had gotten all her ducks in a row for a sought-after internship this summer with manufacturing and retail giant Hormel Foods. The 21-year-old Kansas native and incoming senior at Kansas State University — where she studies sales and data analytics and is a member of the school’s National Strategic Selling Institute  — had been chosen for a temporary relocation to Dallas, where she’d be learning some real-world wheeling and dealing at one of the Austin, Minnesota-based corporation’s numerous satellite offices. But as her junior year neared conclusion and travel plans were booked, a public health emergency came crashing down, instantaneously upending the very opportunity she’d been compiling credentials for. In Nancarrow’s telling, she didn’t waste any time feigning disbelief. “Almost immediately, I didn’t even consider the fact that my internship would not be cancelled,” she recalls matter-of-factly in a phone interview from her home in Manhattan, Kansas. “Restaurants, hotels, […]

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Who You Gonna Call for An Update On Your Stimulus Check? The IRS, At Last.

The agency is hiring thousands of live telephone reps to field all your questions about when and where your promised government money might arrive. Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox Stay informed and join our daily newsletter now! May 19, 2020 2 min read The IRS, like all other government agencies and operations, has been hamstrung by lockdown restrictions. Specifically, it has had to limit its customer-service capabilities across the board. The timing was less than ideal. In late March, the federal government passed its landmark, $2 trillion CARES Act, which included a provision for all American households to receive a one-time stimulus payment of as much as $1,200 per individual and $500 per child. Distribution of funds was contingent on the IRS having records of potential recipients’ tax filings from one of the past two years, and a special site was set up with guidance and FAQs. And compared to […]

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Today Is Officially the Deadline for Companies to Return Their SBA PPP Loans

Businesses that received big bucks from the government stimulus fund are on the clock. And that could mean more money available for everyone else. Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox Stay informed and join our daily newsletter now! May 18, 2020 2 min read This is not a drill. If you received a loan from the Small Business Association’s Paycheck Protection Program in excess of $2 million and wish to return it, lest risk an audit or investigation into whether you applied for and were granted funds in bad faith, today is the day. (See items 43-46 on the SBA‘s seemingly infinitely scrolling list of FAQs.) As we’ve reported over the past couple of weeks, the safe-harbor window for companies who may have made themselves vulnerable to unwanted scrutiny from the U.S. Department of Treasury has continually widened. And in addition, a broad presumption of good faith was ultimately extended […]

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Another 2.91 Million Americans Filed for Unemployment Last Week

The good news it that the numbers, while still stunning in aggregate, are on the decline. May 14, 2020 2 min read The Department of Labor has released its latest jobs statistics, and the numbers once again reflect a record-shattering period of mass layoffs and furloughs. During the week ending May 9, an additional 2,981,000 Americans — according to seasonally adjusted advance figures — filed for unemployment. This is actually a decrease of 195,000 applications from the previous week’s revised total of 3,176,000, continuing a steady downward trend as we find ourselves deeper into nationwide lockdowns but at a further remove from the initial slashing of part- and full-time positions in hard-hit industries like the service and hospitality sectors. Related: House Democrats Share Details of $3 Trillion Heroes Act  More than 35 million American workers have lost their jobs since the economy was all but cordoned off in early to mid-March. […]

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Strat-O-Matic’s Surge in Demand Is No Fantasy

May 14, 2020 11 min read Hal Richman’s story is the stuff of authentic legend. While attending Bucknell University in 1961, the enterprising, Long Island-bred teen conceived of a cards-and-dice game that allowed sports fans to competitively simulate an entire Major League Baseball season based on existing player stats, research-driven value assignation and a bit of chance. Accordingly and enduringly, Richman dubbed his innovation Strat-O-Matic, and thanks in part to a good-faith loan from his father for early advertising, the product quickly took off as an intergenerational tabletop phenomenon.  Over the ensuing few decades, Richman’s Glen Head, NY-based startup blossomed into a cultural institution, releasing versions for the NFL and other pro sports leagues. It’s made fanatics out of legends like former Met great Keith Hernandez and Hall of Fame broadcaster Bob Costas. Spike Lee even shouted out the pastime in his period piece Crooklyn. Alas, as the calendar turned to a new millennium, online […]

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Should I Return My Small-Business Loan?

May 8, 2020 10 min read As we reported earlier this week, you now have until Thursday, May 14 to return your SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan if you feel like the forgiveness guidance is too stringent or — as has been the case primarily with mid-size and large companies — you’ve unwittingly opened yourself up to possible audit or, worse, criminal inquiry.  To answer the pressing question of whether you should remand whatever stimulus the federal program bequeathed or use it as a launching pad to reopen your business, we spoke with Rachel Scava, COO of Ohio-based accounting and finance firm Fully Accountable, which works primarily with small-to-mid-sized businesses. Her advice? Well, it depends on host of factors, but the bottom line is: Don’t rely on your lender or the government to light the path. The time to soul search about the future of your business is now. Here are edited […]

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The First-Ever Live, Virtual Reality Comedy Special Could Only Happen Now

April 30, 2020 7 min read The first thing you notice after strapping on a CEEK Virtual Reality headset is that the seats in its simulated theater are empty, which is an eerie approximation of the atmosphere in shuttered concert venues and movie houses around the world. A product that was designed to simulate a commonplace, but often inaccessible, consumer experience — like attending a Lady Gaga concert at Madison Square Garden or witnessing U2 wow thousands at Rose Bowl Stadium, both CEEK offerings — has suddenly become its closest real-world designate. This was not what the company’s founder and CEO, Mary Spio, had in mind when she launched CEEK in 2015. The venture was an entrepreneurial step in her career, which began with training as an Air Force engineer and evolved into groundbreaking work as a satellite-communications designer for NASA and Boeing. (The tech she helped pioneer for the latter was […]

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You Now Have An Extra Week to Return Your SBA PPP Loan

If your business accepted government-backed stimulus funds in error, you have until May 14 to make good. May 6, 2020 2 min read There has been no shortage of controversy surrounding the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program, a cornerstone of the federal government’s CARES Act to restart our economy. From confusion concerning forgiveness to widespread criticism over publicly traded companies hoovering up hundreds of millions of the PPP‘s available billions, it has been a theoretically well-intentioned mess. As we’ve documented, dozens of mid-size and large companies, including Shake Shack and hotel giant Ashford Hospitality, have been shamed into returning their sizeable sums and offering compulsory statements of contrition. In response, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin authorized a formal review of SBA PPP loans exceeding $2 million, and the SBA announced that borrowers who may have misapprehended the conditional nature of their original application could — so long as they applied prior to April 24 — return what […]

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L.A. Lakers Latest Private Company to Return PPP Funds

The $4.4 billion basketball team is giving back its $4.6 million loan, but they aren’t the only non-public business to backpedal. April 28, 2020 2 min read Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: After returning a $4.6 million loan paid out as part of the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program relief fund, a Los Angeles Lakers spokesperson commented to CNN Business that their organization “qualified for and received a loan under the Payroll Protection Program. However, once we found out the funds from the program had been depleted, we repaid the loan so that financial support would be directed to those most in need. The Lakers remain completely committed to supporting both our employees and our community.” The $4.4 billion basketball franchise’s statement is a riff on the mea culpa we’ve grown accustomed to hearing as numerous large companies voluntarily return their multimillion-dollar PPP allocations. (Whether they’re compelled […]

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Which Public Companies Have Returned Their SBA PPP Loans?

A slew of multi-million-dollar businesses have been granted government recovery funds, to much controversy. Here are the ones who’ve given the money back. April 27, 2020 3 min read You can borrow, but you can’t hide. That’s what many multi-million-dollar, publicly shared companies are discovering during this nationwide economic freefall. Shake Shack was the first such international enterprise to offer a mea culpa after benefitting from Congress and the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program, ultimately returning the $10 million it nabbed from an initial $349 billion government kitty for widely forgivable small-business loans. (Allocation of an additional $310 billion approved in the House of Representatives last Thursday is underway as we speak.) But plenty of other dining and hospitality chains, among other relatively solvent and resourceful businesses, have been called out for leveraging their sophisticated legal apparatus and relationships with large banks to outmuscle truly mom-and-pop outfits in the scramble for survival funds.  Related: Where’s […]

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What It’s Like to Live and Game Together Around the Clock

April 16, 2020 8 min read They may be operating out of a living room, but the four Allied Esports coworkers running point on worldwide virtual tournaments are hardly just lounging around. These days, Tournament Directors Kevin Forsstrom and Stephon Millon, Chief Engineer/Producer Justin Carter and Tech Ops Manager Gerard Cana — each in their 20s — can usually be found bounding between Discord and Twitch to make sure the gaming experience goes smoothly for thousands across the globe. It wasn’t always like this. Until last month, Allied Esports hosted live events at company-operated venues — like Vegas’s pyramid-esque HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor — and mobile broadcast-and-performance trucks. But when the company was forced to scale back amid the coronavirus, Forsstrom had an idea: He would repurpose his North Las Vegas house as a command center for virtual tournaments. Almost immediately, Carter, Millon and Cana agreed to co-quarantine alongside him (and his […]

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How a Mid-Size Wrestling Company Made Major Adjustments in the Empty-Arena Era

April 15, 2020 10 min read The timing couldn’t have been worse. Major League Wrestling (MLW) founder and CEO Court Bauer had just begun to get a head of steam behind his mid-size company, which doesn’t operate on the scale of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) or its primary competitor, All Elite Wrestling (AEW), but is far more robust than your average regional upstart. Its weekly television show, MLW Fusion (typically airing new episodes Saturday nights at 9 p.m. on beIN Sports, though it’s currently on every night at 10 p.m. while most of the network’s content is in limbo amid the global lockdown), had earned must-see status among combat-sports fans. The promotion, which benefits from a group of investors and involved board of directors but is ostensibly run by Bauer and a small, loyal crew, also recently executed its first-ever PPV broadcast and was closing in on numerous international TV deals to widen its reach.  And […]

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Allied Esports CEO Jud Hannigan Has a Plan for Gaming His Way Out of a Crisis

April 14, 2020 8 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Like the rest of us, Allied Esports CEO Jud Hannigan has been improvising. Normally, he’d be running his network of live-event arenas and mobile trucks — which both host and broadcast gaming competitions around the globe — from a comfortable office or conference room inside the company’s Irvine, California HQ. Today, he’s sequestered in his car outside of his Orange County home, secreting away best he can for an interference-free conversation. And Hannigan has plenty to talk about. The veteran entrepreneur and content marketer, who has helped grow portfolios for everyone from the World Poker Tournament to Chinese developer Ourgame International, is overseeing an unprecedented and unexpected shift in Allied’s business model. Up until recent worldwide lockdowns, the three-year-old company had helped innovated esports as a live-event spectacle capable of drawing tens of thousands of onlookers […]

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Entrepreneurs Review the SBA PPP Loan-Application Processes

The public has spoken, and the results range from frustration to relief. Read_More Related posts: A Job Application Steve Jobs Handwrote in 1973 Is Full of Errors and Will Be Up for Auction How to Submit Your SBA PPP Loan Application and Calculate the Loan Amount Work it Step-by-Step to Get a Better Business Loan Should You Take out a Loan for Commercial Real Estate? How to Decide. How to Get an SBA Loan Approved Before the Looming Government Shutdown 7 SEO Processes That Get Easier with Increased PageRank/DA Coax Creativity Out of Your Team With These 4 Processes A Job Application Steve Jobs Handwrote in 1973 Is Full of Errors and Will Be Up for Auction

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Long Beach Beer Lab Could Have Closed; Instead, They Became Essential

The story of how one small brewery and gastropub semi-pivoted on the fly and has been busier than ever. April 2, 2020 7 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Levi Fried barely has time to talk. “It’s never a good moment,” he concedes somewhat wearily. Along with his wife, Harmony Sage, the native Californian owns and operates three-year-old SoCal hotspot Long Beach Beer Lab. And despite the viral pandemic that has shuttered small businesses from coast to coast, Fried’s doors are open and he is, as he puts it, “busy as all get-out.” The reason? By mid-March, he and Sage saw the writing on the wall and temporarily rebranded themselves Long Beach Bodega Lab, semi-pivoting from microbrewery and gastropub to suds maker-meets-sundries store. Thanks to a robust supply chain and some quick thinking, the duo has transformed literally overnight into a bustling enterprise that preps curbside pickup […]

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For International Dominatrix Mistress Eva Oh, Business Is Booming

The multimedia entrepreneur was ahead of the curve, and now virtual customers are clamoring for her services during lockdown. March 30, 2020 6 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. You’ll have to excuse Mistress Eva Oh if she sounds a bit sleepy. It’s 4 a.m. in Australia, where she’s connecting via Skype Audio. “I entirely messed up the timing,” she concedes in a rich delivery that could best be described as Zsa Zsa Gabor-chic. The professional dominatrix, podcast host and sex educator grew up across Asia, Europe and the land Down Under, which helps explain both her incomparable accent and way of relating to clients all over the globe. Oh’s early entrepreneurial pursuits were more conventional — she once owned a sustainable design company — but at the age of 26, she pivoted into her current occupation and never looked back. She was forward-thinking from the […]

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Shows to Binge During the Pandemic That Aren’t ‘Breaking Bad’ or ‘Fleabag’

If you feel like you’ve already seen everything, here are some under-the-radar TV options to tide you over as we weather coronavirus together. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Being informed about the spread of COVID-19 and its devastating effects on the global community is critical. But we can all acknowledge that staying attuned to the news every waking hour has only heightened our collective anxiety and sense of foreboding. One of the few salves for those fortunate enough to have reliable WiFi and access to cable and streaming services has been the chance to catch up with TV shows that had previously passed us by and might offer momentary respite from the coronavirus and its attendant confinement.  But before one more website or well-meaning friend reads you the riot act for having never seen Breaking Bad or The Wire, or parrots the popular thinking that Fleabag is comedy manna (not that it […]

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