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HomeStartupVerizon Digital Prepared: $10K Grants and the Abilities Entrepreneurs Want

Verizon Digital Prepared: $10K Grants and the Abilities Entrepreneurs Want

You might need heard of the $10,000 grants offered by Verizon’s Small Enterprise Digital Prepared grant program. The monetary grants are one of the vital fashionable options of the Verizon program, which supplies small companies the instruments and assets they should thrive in at this time’s digital financial system. Now, Verizon is attempting one thing new with its grant program by focusing on 4 particular communities.

Along with the free programs, teaching periods and mentoring supplied by the Verizon Small Enterprise Digital Prepared program, Verizon is launching a primary spherical of group grant funding in 2024 in 4 metropolitan areas: Houston, Los Angeles, Miami and Phoenix. Because the grant program expands in 2024, Verizon, in partnership with LISC, will award over $1.25 million in funding to small companies.

If you’re positioned in a kind of 4 communities, first it would be best to register for this system. Then, discover extra particulars on this system by clicking on the FAQ pages to your group right here: Houston, Los Angeles, Miami or Phoenix.

If you’re not in these cities, be happy to register for Digital Prepared now and keep tuned about additional funding from Verizon. That is additionally an excellent time to have a look at the numerous different points this system provides to small companies and entrepreneurs, from digital expertise coaching to customized studying plans.

This system is free to affix.  Register right here to get began.

To study extra about Digital Prepared, StartupNation spoke with Brianna Ellison, director of group engagement for Verizon. Ellison elaborates on the work Verizon is doing to assist entrepreneurs and on the advantages of the Small Enterprise Digital Prepared program, together with:

  • Entry to free digital expertise coaching and assets
  • Monetary help to help digital transformation initiatives
  • Alternatives to community with different small enterprise homeowners and consultants
  • Entry to help from Verizon and its companions

As Ellison explains, Verizon is actively partnering with Michigan small companies to assist them succeed within the digital financial system, together with:

  • Verizon has partnered with Grand Valley State College’s Veterans Entrepreneurship Lab to offer grants and help to veteran entrepreneurs.
  • Verizon has partnered with the Metro Detroit Black Enterprise Alliance’s Capital Join Program to assist Black-owned companies entry funding and assets.

Under is the complete Q&A with Ellison, which StartupNation performed in September 2022. 

  1. What work is Verizon doing within the Detroit/Michigan group 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 a lot of thought management occasions with these organizations to share experience and assets 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 enterprise launch over a three-month interval. MVE-Lab equips members to establish their goal prospects, community with others, and discover the assets they should launch profitably and efficiently. It concludes with a Pitch Showcase awarding not less than $25,000 in prize cash. Friends embrace different veteran entrepreneurs, mentors, and consultants like attorneys and advertising and marketing specialists, together with the chief of Verizon’s veteran worker useful resource group who shared details about Verizon help for small enterprise homeowners alongside along with his personal private expertise as an entrepreneur.

Brianna EllisonBrianna Ellison
Brianna Ellison

In 2021, we additionally established a partnership between Verizon’s Professional Bono Program and the Metro Detroit Black Enterprise Alliance’s Capital Join Program. This program is getting ready and connecting Metro Detroit Black-owned companies to numerous funding assets to make sure their sustained success. If any of those companies want additional authorized help or one-on-one help, the Verizon Professional Bono Program group has agreed to work straight with these companies to establish further authorized companies.

Lastly, in September, Verizon launched Small Enterprise Digital Prepared.  This on-line curriculum is designed to present small companies the customized instruments to reach at this time’s digital world. This system contains studying modules, knowledgeable teaching, peer networking and a market of instruments and options.  The free on-line useful resource is on the market to any small enterprise throughout Michigan (and nationwide) and might be utilized by Verizon companions such because the Black Enterprise Alliance’s Capital Join Program.

  1. What do you imply by “Digital Prepared” and why is digital readiness vital for small enterprise homeowners at this time?

Digital readiness is about ensuring companies have all of the instruments and assets they should thrive in at this time’s financial 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 because of the 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 client 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 information printed from Morning Seek the advice of and Verizon of their September 2020 report, “greater than two in 5 resolution makers say it’s possible that their enterprise will develop by 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 handle. How can we bridge this hole? Entrepreneurs want easy accessibility—wherever they’re—to customized studying and training assets with a view to efficiently implement digital methods into their companies and have the arrogance to reach the post-pandemic future.

  1. Why is the Verizon Small Enterprise Digital Prepared program an excellent useful resource for enterprise homeowners in metro Detroit and Michigan?

Dwelling to numerous analysis organizations and anchor establishments, together with a vibrant and multicultural entrepreneurial ecosystem, Detroit’s wealthy roots embody the hardworking and progressive ethos of its numerous small enterprise homeowners. Detroit has roughly 50k small companies owned by entrepreneurs of colour and the town is dedicated to making sure residents are gaining equal entry to instructional and financial alternatives of the rising high-growth financial system. In response to a 2021 Detroit Ecosystem Evaluation, Detroit has 23% of all startup firms in Michigan and has the entire vital assets to launch and develop companies which are digital prepared. As Verizon seeks to attach BIPOC enterprise homeowners throughout the nation with this invaluable useful resource and create extra equitable pathways for entrepreneurs to thrive within the digital financial system, we view the small enterprise homeowners within the better metro Detroit space—and Michigan—as a essential 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 chief director of Michigan-based enterprise improvement group, Grand Rapids Space Black Companies (GRABB), was a distinguished voice within the Small Enterprise Advisory Committee that helped form this system and its choices. Various subject material consultants drive our content material, interactive video modules, and training occasions. In brief, entrepreneurs in metro Detroit might be geared up with digital methods and related learnings—by curated curriculum subjects, teaching occasions, and group teams—to use to their companies!

  1. What steering are the small enterprise homeowners you’re employed with searching for?

We all know typically that small enterprise homeowners are eager about studying extra about financing, digital advertising and marketing, and operational effectivity.  Our customers have instructed us they’ve obtained super worth from the academic assets and in connecting straight with consultants–by each one-on-one mentoring and group teaching occasions. Fifty-eight % of customers on the platform are eager about connecting with a finance knowledgeable and 64% of customers on the platform are eager about connecting with a advertising and marketing knowledgeable. The preferred subject areas are accessing capital, digital advertising and marketing, and bettering on-line presence. Enterprise homeowners would additionally want to be part of a group the place they will study from each other, as 52% of customers need to join with friends with related pursuits.

  1. How can Verizon assist with group networking on a private degree, not a digital one?

Verizon Small Enterprise Digital Prepared is constructed to be a invaluable instrument to the BDOs, Small Enterprise Improvement Facilities, CDFIs and different organizations which are on the bottom serving to small companies day-after-day.  We’re partnering carefully with a lot of these organizations and dealing with them to combine our assets into their choices. Small Enterprise Digital Prepared’s group part additionally lets companies join with different companies and assets by metropolis in order that they will hook up with help of their native space!

On the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Verizon started the grassroots work of internet hosting digital group dialogues targeted on small companies in communities from throughout the state. The aim of those dialogues is to listen to in regards to the nice work small enterprise homeowners and small enterprise improvement organizations are presently engaged in, the present and ongoing challenges small enterprise homeowners are going through, and to debate how Verizon will be supportive transferring ahead. Attendees have included small enterprise homeowners, small enterprise help organizations and chambers of commerce.

Now greater than ever, we at Verizon will proceed to construct on the extremely invaluable relationships with the communities we serve. These dialogues are solely the start of what we hope might be long-term partnerships the place we are able to proceed the dialog and discover future alternatives to be supportive.

  1. What expertise do you deliver to the group as a liaison between Verizon and small enterprise homeowners?

As an area liaison between Verizon and small enterprise homeowners, I work to construct bridges of reference to my friends, inner 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 help 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 assets. Reflexively, I meet with companies to hearken to their wants and drive the best way wherein we deposit goodwill in our native communities and innovate to construct the networks that transfer the world ahead for everybody.

Q&A initially printed in September 2022.

Verizon Small Enterprise Digital Prepared: A free useful resource for studying fundamental enterprise expertise, grants, the newest digital expertise and extra.



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