Verizon’s program for small enterprise simply launched info on its newest spherical of grant funding. The grant program is in partnership with LISC, and thru it, Verizon Small Enterprise Digital Prepared has dedicated $1M in small enterprise grants for 2023.
To develop into eligible for the grants, you have to first join Verizon Small Enterprise Digital Prepared. It’s free.
With VSBDR, you’ll not solely get entry to programs, stay teaching periods led by trade consultants and different sources, however you’ll additionally be capable to apply for the unique pool of $10,000 small enterprise grants.
To unlock the appliance for the present spherical of grant funding, register on Verizon Small Enterprise Digital Prepared, full any mixture of two programs, teaching occasions, and neighborhood occasions, and apply by Might 12, 2023.
Final 12 months, we reached out to Brianna Ellison, director of neighborhood engagement for Verizon, as a part of our initiative to convey the Verizon Small Business Digital Ready program to entrepreneurs and aspiring enterprise homeowners. She described among the advertising instruments, one-on-one mentoring and different features of this system that may assist small companies all through Michigan and the Nice Lakes area.
- What work is Verizon doing within the Detroit/Michigan neighborhood to assist small companies?
Verizon has actively partnered with Michigan small companies. We’re members of quite a few chambers of commerce and associations from throughout the state that work with small companies (such because the Detroit Regional Chamber, Grand Rapids Chamber, Dearborn Chamber, The Proper Place, MI Chamber, Automation Alley, Metro Detroit Black Enterprise Alliance, MI Enterprise Incubator Assoc.). Verizon participates in plenty of thought management occasions with these organizations to share experience and sources with their membership.
In 2021, we prolonged a grant to Grand Valley State College’s Veterans Entrepreneurship Lab. Veterans and/or navy spouses work on their business launch over a three-month interval. MVE-Lab equips members to establish their goal prospects, community with others, and discover the sources they should launch profitably and efficiently. It concludes with a Pitch Showcase awarding no less than $25,000 in prize cash. Visitors embody different veteran entrepreneurs, mentors, and consultants like attorneys and advertising specialists, together with the chief of Verizon’s veteran worker useful resource group who shared details about Verizon assist for small enterprise homeowners alongside along with his personal private expertise as an entrepreneur.
In 2021, we additionally established a partnership between Verizon’s Professional Bono Program and the Metro Detroit Black Business Alliance’s Capital Join Program. This program is making ready and connecting Metro Detroit Black-owned companies to varied funding resources to make sure their sustained success. If any of those companies want additional authorized help or one-on-one assist, the Verizon Professional Bono Program group has agreed to work straight with these companies to establish further authorized providers.
Lastly, in September, Verizon launched Small Business Digital Ready. This on-line curriculum is designed to present small companies the customized instruments to achieve immediately’s digital world. This system consists of studying modules, skilled teaching, peer networking and a market of instruments and options. The free on-line useful resource is accessible to any small enterprise throughout Michigan (and nationwide) and can be utilized by Verizon companions such because the Black Enterprise Alliance’s Capital Join Program.
- What do you imply by “Digital Prepared” and why is digital readiness essential for small enterprise homeowners immediately?
Digital readiness is about ensuring companies have all of the instruments and sources they should thrive in immediately’s economic system. The COVID-19 pandemic has imposed unexpected challenges on entrepreneurs and additional accelerated a shift to digital methods of working. Greater than 75% of small companies pivoted their operations as a result of disaster and greater than 50% of SMBs say their on-line interactions with prospects have elevated. To remain aggressive within the new financial surroundings, small companies should be agile and adapt to shifting shopper preferences.
Small enterprise entrepreneurs perceive the significance of using digital instruments of their day-to-day operations, however discover it difficult to implement significant digital transformation. In response to knowledge printed from Morning Seek the advice of and Verizon of their September 2020 report, “greater than two in 5 choice makers say it’s seemingly that their enterprise will broaden by means of digital applied sciences and rely extra closely on communications.” On the similar time, greater than two-thirds of respondents acknowledged that including or transitioning to digital/on-line operations has been difficult for his or her enterprise to deal with. How will we bridge this hole? Entrepreneurs want quick access—wherever they’re—to customized studying and training sources in an effort to efficiently implement digital methods into their companies and have the boldness to achieve the post-pandemic future.
- Why is the Verizon Small Enterprise Digital Prepared program a superb useful resource for enterprise homeowners in metro Detroit and Michigan?
Residence to varied analysis organizations and anchor establishments, together with a vibrant and multicultural entrepreneurial ecosystem, Detroit’s wealthy roots embody the hardworking and modern ethos of its various small enterprise homeowners. Detroit has roughly 50k small businesses owned by entrepreneurs of color and the town is dedicated to making sure residents are gaining equal entry to academic and financial alternatives of the rising high-growth economic system. In response to a 2021 Detroit Ecosystem Assessment, Detroit has 23% of all startup corporations in Michigan and has all the needed sources to launch and develop companies which are digital prepared. As Verizon seeks to attach BIPOC enterprise homeowners throughout the nation with this precious useful resource and create extra equitable pathways for entrepreneurs to thrive within the digital economic system, we view the small enterprise homeowners within the better metro Detroit space—and Michigan—as a crucial consumer base within the effort.
Verizon’s Small Enterprise Digital Prepared program was constructed by (largely BIPOC) small companies for small companies. Jamiel Robinson, the manager director of Michigan-based enterprise growth group, Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses (GRABB), was a outstanding voice within the Small Enterprise Advisory Committee that helped form this system and its choices. Numerous material consultants drive our content material, interactive video modules, and training occasions. Briefly, entrepreneurs in metro Detroit can be geared up with digital methods and related learnings—by means of curated curriculum subjects, teaching occasions, and neighborhood teams—to use to their companies!
- What steerage are the small enterprise homeowners you’re employed with searching for?
We all know typically that small enterprise homeowners are concerned with studying extra about financing, digital advertising, and operational effectivity. Our customers have advised us they’ve acquired large worth from the tutorial sources and in connecting straight with consultants–by means of each one-on-one mentoring and group teaching occasions. Fifty-eight % of customers on the platform are concerned with connecting with a finance skilled and 64% of customers on the platform are concerned with connecting with a advertising skilled. The most well-liked subject areas are accessing capital, digital advertising, and bettering on-line presence. Enterprise homeowners would additionally want to be part of a neighborhood the place they’ll be taught from each other, as 52% of customers wish to join with friends with related pursuits.
- How can Verizon assist with neighborhood networking on a private stage, not a digital one?
Verizon Small Business Digital Ready is constructed to be a precious device to the BDOs, Small Enterprise Growth Facilities, CDFIs and different organizations which are on the bottom serving to small companies daily. We’re partnering carefully with a majority of these organizations and dealing with them to combine our sources into their choices. Small Business Digital Ready’s neighborhood part additionally lets companies join with different companies and sources by metropolis in order that they’ll hook up with assist of their native space!
On the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Verizon started the grassroots work of internet hosting digital neighborhood dialogues centered on small companies in communities from throughout the state. The aim of those dialogues is to listen to concerning the nice work small enterprise homeowners and small enterprise growth organizations are at present engaged in, the present and ongoing challenges small enterprise homeowners are going through, and to debate how Verizon may be supportive transferring ahead. Attendees have included small enterprise homeowners, small enterprise assist organizations and chambers of commerce.
Now greater than ever, we at Verizon will proceed to construct on the extremely precious relationships with the communities we serve. These dialogues are solely the start of what we hope can be long-term partnerships the place we will proceed the dialog and discover future alternatives to be supportive.
- What expertise do you convey to the neighborhood as a liaison between Verizon and small enterprise homeowners?
As a neighborhood liaison between Verizon and small enterprise homeowners, I work to construct bridges of reference to my friends, inside enterprise companions and exterior stakeholders to champion insurance policies that enrich lives and allow a digital future that serves all Michigan communities. I’m able to leverage relationships inside Verizon and with enterprise assist group companions to kind coalitions to deal with the challenges small companies face, amplify successes and finest practices, and disseminate details about Verizon instruments and sources. Reflexively, I meet with companies to hearken to their wants and drive the way in which by which we deposit goodwill in our native communities and innovate to construct the networks that transfer the world ahead for everybody.
Initially printed in September 2022.
Verizon Small Business Digital Ready: A free resource for learning basic business skills, grants, the latest digital technology and more.