Women Entrepreneurs: A Growing Trend

The business landscape is continually changing—technological advances, corporate downsizing, restructuring, and telecommuting have reshaped the marketplace.­ Although these improvements and modifications have a great impact on our working environment, perhaps the most notable trend has been the rapid growth in the number of women-owned businesses. According to the Center for Women’s Business Research (2012), three quarters of women-owned businesses are those wherein women own a majority share, and each year, women-owned businesses generate almost $1.9 trillion in sales. Statistics from the Center for Women’s Business Research reveal impressive gains for women in the marketplace: An estimated 10.4 million companies are owned by women. Women-owned businesses account for 41% of all firms in the U.S., and employ 12.8 million workers. In the past 20 years, women-owned companies grew by 42%. This figure is two times the growth rate of all privately-held firms for that time period. The “Push” Behind the Numbers …

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A Genetic Test to Spot Health Risks

Scientists first mapped the human genome 14 years ago. Since then, they have learned a lot about genetics, and someday that wisdom may lead to a cure for many diseases. But we’re not there yet. There’s “a ton we don’t understand,” says Lawrence Brody, director of the genomics and society division at the National Human Genome Research Institute. Keep that in mind if you take advantage of the first “direct to consumer” genetic test for health risks. That test became available in the spring, when 23andMe, a DNA testing firm, was the first company to win approval from the Food and Drug Administration to sell directly to consumers–without a prescription–a genetic test that screens for certain health risks. Here’s how it works: You pay $199 to order a Health and Ancestry kit online from 23andMe.com. When it arrives, you spit into a tube and mail it back. Two months later, …

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DOL Proposes Changes to AHP Rules

President Donald Trump issued an executive order last year to expand access to association health plans (AHP). The Employee Benefits Security Administration, part of the U.S. Labor Department, recently issued proposed rule changes that would help expand AHPs under the Affordable Care Act. It’s an effort to help provide more options for small employers looking for other insurance plans besides the small group health insurance market, which has been plagued with higher prices and fewer coverage options. “Association health plans are typically offered as packaged insurance programs to employers within a certain geographic region, such as from local chambers of commerce, or industry, such as statewide trade associations as a benefit of membership of the association,” says Chris Wolpert, managing member and employee benefits adviser at Group Benefit Solutions, an employee benefits management firm. Expanding the rules could mean changes for the insurance industry. Here’s what you need to know. …

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What You Need to Know About Cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies made big news in December when the leading cryptocurrency, bitcoin, lost about a third of its value in a day. The tumble raised questions about cryptocurrencies in general — are they good investments? Can they really take the place of mainstream currencies? What does the future hold? Understanding cryptocurrencies is key to getting the most out of them. They are are a nontangible form of currency that exists exclusively in a digital database called a blockchain, says Fred Schebesta, CEO and co-founder of Finder.com, a financial comparison website. They let users transfer real-life assets such as cars, money and property instantly and without the involvement of third parties. They represent an opportunity for financial professionals, but like any investment they need to be carefully researched before you jump in. “Approach all tokens with a sense of discovery and skepticism,” says Joseph Bradley, director of investor relations at Apex Token …

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