Small Business Stories You May Have Missed

The Washington Post published a few stories on Monday that may be of interest to entrepreneurs and small firms:

* An interview with the president of California Tortilla Group, one of the fastest growing chains in the Washington region. Fast-food chain Cal-Tort, as it's commonly called, has 37 stores on the East Coast, starting with its flagship restaurant in downtown Bethesda, Md.

* A look at the challenges and opportunities provided by starting a franchise. For a fraction of the capital it would take to launch a business from scratch, franchisers can build one that comes with a basic road map. But it's not a guaranteed route to success. In franchise-driven industries -- restaurants, hotels, motels -- failure rates are significantly higher than in others such as technology and equipment.

* How Bethesda, Md.-based Bean Bag, a mom-and-pop coffee shop, flourished in the shadow of Starbucks.

* Regions of the West Coast and Midwest moved ahead of Washington as top destinations for venture capital in recent years, as the local venture economy grew more slowly than the national average, according to a Washington Post analysis.

By Sharon McLoone |  March 25, 2008; 4:30 PM ET
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