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Going to trade shows provides an opportunity to scope out the competition, get inspired and land deals. Here is how to best utilize your time at these events.

Oh, dear. What has Dunkin’ Donuts’ new doughnut-breakfast sandwich wrought? As fair season kicks into high gear, concession owners have doughnuts in mind as they fire up their fryers.


Entrepreneurs, tech executives, and venture capitalists have long complained that America's visa rules keep aspiring entrepreneurs who lack U.S. passports from starting companies in the U.S. Now immigration authorities are reviewing those rules to see if they can make them work better for entrepreneurs.

We're not talking about creating a startup visa or changing the number of people the U.S. lets into the country under various programs. No one expects this Congress to pass broader immigration reform. But U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services says it

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wants to make sure its existing system is realistic for high-growth companies.

The agency is hosting an online summit today to discuss how immigration policy affects entrepreneurs. Then five business and academic leaders from the private sector will work with immigration authorities to review visa laws and make sure they "provide pathways that are clear, consistent, and aligned with business realities," Stephanie Ostapowich, a spokeswoman for the agency, said in an email. (The agency calls these "entrepreneurs in residence" and hasn't yet announced who they are.)

The current system hamstrings foreign-born entrepreneurs, says Vivek Wadhwa, a researcher at Duke University (among others) participating in the summit. "Silicon Valley is bleeding right now," he says, with high-skilled immigrants returning to start companies in China, India, Brazil, or other countries because of barriers to staying in America. (Wadhwa is an occasional columnist for

For example, Wadhwa says the current rules prohibit startups from sponsoring visas for their founders. He also notes that immigration authorities sometimes consider companies with no revenue or those not selling physical goods fraudulent, even though early-stage tech companies often have neither.

Wadhwa says Alejandro Mayorkas, the director of Citizenship and Immigration Services, and other White House officials are hearing tech executives' calls for an immigration fix. "These people have spent time in Silicon Valley," he says. "Almost every CEO here has been ripping into them. They really get it now."

Photograph by Aron Sueveg / Anzenberger/Redux

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Oh, dear. What has Dunkin’ Donuts’ new doughnut-breakfast sandwich wrought? As fair season kicks into high gear, concession owners have doughnuts in mind as they fire up their fryers.

After already having gone through 150 careers, including police officer and astronaut, Barbie's newest gig is an entrepreneur.

President Obama today proposed eliminating corporate tax loopholes and using the money to cut the business tax rate to 28 percent from 35 percent. The tax code "is unnecessarily complicated and forces America's small businesses to spend countless hours and dollars filing their taxes," he said in a statement.

Strange, then, that a plan to simplify the business tax code and cut rates would spark a condemnation from small business groups. This chart tells you why:

The lower rate would only apply to companies organized as C corps, which pay

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corporate income taxes. They make up less than 6 percent of business tax returns, according to IRS data. (They account for closer to two-thirds of all business revenue and income.) For the rest of the business world, including partnerships, sole proprietors, S corps, and limited liability companies, their business earnings flow through to owners' personal income and are taxed at individual income tax rates.

Eliminating tax breaks without lowering individual income tax rates could effectively raise taxes on some small business owners, says Todd McCracken, president of the National Small Business Association, a Washington trade group. "The business deductions are relatively unified. A deduction's a deduction, whether you're a C corp or a sole proprietor, for the most part," he says.

McCracken likes some parts of the Obama proposal: A plan to make permanent deductions for capital investment (such as equipment and software) and research and development. (Yes, the tax reform supposedly eliminating deductions includes plans to expand deductions.) Still, he says, reforming the corporate tax code and letting the Bush tax cuts expire could leave non-corporate business owners facing a federal income tax rate of over 40 percent next year on earnings over $250,000.

The National Federation of Independent Business, a frequent foe of the Obama White House, panned the proposal, saying in a statement that "the focus should be on individual rate reform." Not every small biz lobby agrees. Small Business Majority, a group that generally supports Obama's policies, praised the plan and noted that "reforming the tax code will eliminate dozens of loopholes that consistently leave small businesses paying an unfair share of taxes."

McCracken says the plan is short on specifics but looks like a mixed bag. He favors reform that would tackle the individual tax code alongside corporate taxes. The chances of any major tax plan passing in Congress this year, he notes, are very slim. So even if corporate tax reform spells trouble for small businesses, they probably don't have to worry about it any time soon.

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