‘eWeek’ for entrepreneurs has first session on Feb. 12

A weeklong, statewide series of informational and educational sessions for Maine entrepreneurs will begin Feb. 12.

Called eWeek, the series will include five “Calling all Entrepreneurs” sessions, in which prospective entrepreneurs can discuss their business ideas with investors and other entrepreneurs.

There also will be sessions that teach the basics of small-business development, marketing and social networking, and programs for women and student entrepreneurs.

“It’s both a celebration of entrepreneurship and an outreach to make sure that the entrepreneur community is aware of the wider array of resources for supporting entrepreneurship in Maine,” said Don Gooding, executive director of the Maine Center for Enterprise Development, one of the groups that will host the sessions.

Sessions will be held in Portland, Brunswick, Augusta, Lewiston, Orono and Gorham.

A coalition of organizations is involved in eWeek, including MCEI, the Maine Technology Institute, the Small Enterprise Growth Fund, the Maine Center for Creativity and the University of Maine.

A schedule of events is posted at www.eweekmaine.org.


State tax revenues in U.S. improved in last quarter

A new report says state tax revenues increased in the final three months of last year as the improving economy boosted income and sales taxes receipts.

Tax revenue increased 6.9 percent in the October-December quarter, according to the report from the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, a research institute at the State University of New York. That’s based on early data from 41 states. If revenues rise by that pace once all states have reported their data, it would be the fastest increase since the April-June quarter of 2006.

Still, revenues remain below pre-recession levels, while spending has risen to meet increasing demands for social services. That means states still face large budget gaps they will have to close through more spending cuts or tax hikes.


Spain gets AA credit rating from Standard & Poor’s

Standard & Poor’s has given Spain a welcome boost by affirming its credit rating Tuesday, in another sign that the government debt crisis that threatened to sink the euro has come off the boil, at least for the moment.

The agency said Spain’s current, solid AA rating partly reflects the government’s resolve to cut its deficit and enact reforms to make its struggling economy more productive.

That positive review from outsiders comes as a welcome relief for Spain’s hard-pressed government and for worried European Union officials as they try to contain a crisis that has already forced Greece and Ireland to take bailout loans from their eurozone partners and the International Monetary Fund to avoid national bankruptcy.


J. Crew shareholders reject $10 million settlement offer

Shareholders who sued clothing chain J. Crew Group Inc. over its $3 billion takeover by two private equity firms have rejected the company’s $10 million settlement proposal.

In a letter filed to Delaware Chancery Court, the dissenting shareholders’ lawyer said Monday that J. Crew sought to “undermine the benefits” for shareholders of the settlement, which included $10 million for the plaintiffs, due after the buyout closes.

The settlement also extended the deadline for competing offers to Feb. 15, and it reduced to $20 million the fee that J. Crew would pay the firms for canceling the deal if a better offer came along.

TPG Capital and Leonard Green & Partners LP offered $43.50 per share for J. Crew in late November. The stock closed at $43.43 Tuesday.