To ease the growing financial concerns among business owners, Visa has launched a new program of discounts that offers automatic statement credits to Visa Business cardholders at select merchants nationwide.

Visa SavingsEdge is currently available only to customers with Visa Business cards issued by Chase, Bank of America, PNC Bank, Wachovia and Wells Fargo, though more financial institutions are set to enroll in the months ahead. Participating merchants, which were selected based on business-customer needs, include UPS, Alamo, National Car Rental, TigerDirect and CompUSA.

You can sign up for Visa SavingsEdge at Go to to see a complete list of discounts reserved for Visa Business cardholders.

Fed Contracts for Women

Women Impacting Public Policy, a Washington-based nonprofit, has teamed up with American Express to help women business owners secure a greater share of federal contracts.

Entitled Give Me 5 is an educational program stemming from the Equity in Contracting for Women Act of 2000, which sets an annual goal of awarding five percent of all federal contract dollars to women-owned businesses.

The program will offer information on registering with the Federal Contractor Registry, a requirement for applying for federal contracts, along with writing successful proposals and identifying contracting opportunities. It includes seminars, events and electronic resources.

To view a booklet on the federal contracting process and a list of upcoming events, go to A PDF booklet is available under 'Resource Guides.'

Financial Damage Control

California-based business owners are encouraged to attend a free financial planning clinic next weekend. The workshop will offer tips on creating a spending and investing plan to deal with the slumping economy.

Hosted by the Financial Planning Association of East Bay, the City of Oakland, and the California Society of CPAs, the event will provide advice on investment planning, income tax planning, employee benefits and other applicable topics. State Treasurer Bill Lockyer is scheduled to give a keynote address.

The event takes place on Oct. 4. To register or to receive more information, call 510-286-1670 or email