This just in, it looks like a terrific program for small businesses so I wanted to post right away. Please note the information in the last paragraph about a free day of workshops coming up and a link to RSVP!
MIAMI, March 28, 2012 – Google today announced its statewide initiative, Florida Get Your Business Online. Google worked with local partners to design the program, which will help drive economic growth by giving Florida businesses the tools and resources to establish a website, find new customers, and grow their business. Increasing the number of small businesses online is one of the best ways to expand the Florida economy. Through research conducted, 97 percent of Americans look online for local products and services, and in Florida, 68 percent of small businesses do not have a website or online presence.
“The perception that getting online is complex, costly and time-consuming has prevented many Florida small businesses from taking the first step,” said Scott Levitan, director of Small Business Engagement at Google. “This program makes it fast, easy and free for businesses to get online."
For the next year, participating Florida businesses can go to www.floridagetonline.com to get a free website as well as free tools, training and resources to help their business succeed online. Google is partnering with Intuit to provide its popular Intuit Website offerings for free, including an easy-to-build website, a customized domain name and web-hosting for one year.
“As a leading provider of small business solutions, we have witnessed the growth small businesses have seen from getting online,” said Megan Bhattacharyya, product manager at Intuit. “We are excited to offer Intuit Websites for free to all the wonderful small businesses in Florida and to help them create a customized presence that represents their unique brands.”
According to Google, businesses limit their exposure to customers if they don’t have a website. Small businesses need to be online because that’s where their customers are. In America today, no matter the size of the business, having a website is as vital as having a phone. Google has teamed up with statewide organizations, including the Florida Small Business Development Center Network (FSBDCN), Florida Chamber of Commerce and Enterprise Florida to promote the program and advocate the importance for small businesses to get online.
“I am certain that Google’s ‘Florida Get Your Business Online’ initiative will be of great value to the over 100,000 small businesses established in Miami-Dade County. In today’s competitive business environment, penetrating new markets via the Internet is critical,” said Carlos Cardenas, regional director of the Small Business Development Center at Miami-Dade.
To kick off the program’s launch, Google will host multiple free workshops and seminars, where local businesses can register online and receive in-person instructions on how to get and better promote their business online. The free workshops will be held April 3 and 4 in Miami and April 5 in Tampa. To RSVP for one of these free events, please visit http://www.floridagetonline.com/rsvp, or call 1-800-985-3417.
Here is another story about these workshops.
Nell Merlino founded Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence to provide resources, business education and community support for female entrepreneurs seeking to grow their businesses quickly and sustainably. The model is women helping women, and the national nonprofit hosts monthly Meet Ups in South Florida and around the country for women entrepreneurs at all stages of growth. The organization’s national pitch competition will be in July in New York City and always attracts South Florida women. Visit www.countmein.org for more details.
Nell talked about her views on women in entrepreneurship in a Digital Debrief in today’s Business Monday. Here are some additional questions she answered.
Q. How would you describe your leadership style?
A. Inspirational, direct and fun.
Q. What does it take for an entrepreneur to be successful?
A. Know and go where the money is. Whether it's your banker, investors or customers, you need to know where your money is coming from. You should constantly be developing and deepening these relationships.
You also need to be sure you are doing what is going to make you the most money. To grow your business sustainably and increase revenues and profits you need to have a plan and focus your energy on implementing it effectively and on a clear timeline. Commit to a plan and keep your vision clear and at the forefront.
Q. You created Take Your Daughters to Work Day with the Ms. Foundation for Women nearly 20 years ago. Do programs like that still have value?
A. The focus of Take Your Daughters To Work Day was to grab girls ages 9-14, when they are most vulnerable to loss of self-esteem. To make girls more visible, valued and heard. To help them live their dreams. Yes, there have been significant strides in terms of opportunities for women and girls since then, but we’re by no means out of the woods. There are still far fewer women’s lives highlighted in the New York Times obituary column, for example, than there are for men. We need the work of women to be more regularly publicly recognized for their work in medicine, law, politics, business, the arts, to really have that sense of value come full circle.
Q. How did Count Me In begin and evolve?
A. The original concept for Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence was born in 2000. It was meant to be a multi-million dollar loan fund to help women entrepreneurs start their own businesses. Through what we thought was an innovative month-long campaign supported by leaders in television, on-line, finance and media, we planned to raise $25-50 million for the fund in online donations of as little as $5.
We were wrong. Overestimating women’s comfort level around making online donations, especially to a brand new group, and not foreseeing the impeding dot-com crash, our fundraising targets were way off. We ultimate raised only about $150,000.
I felt like a failure but decided to keep going. I kept talking to people and sharing the vision. Eventually, American Express loaned us money to make some micro-loans, which we did, but the program still failed to take off as originally planned. Within a year, my original partner bailed on the project, leaving me to decide whether or not to pull the plug or figure out a way to reassess our vision and find a way to move forward. I chose the latter.
I came across a U.S. Census report that indicated while women owned nearly half of the nation’s privately held businesses, four times as many men as women owned businesses earned more than $1 million in annual revenues. That article sparked a change in thinking about the mission of Count Me In: what if we focused on what women could do instead of what they lacked? With this revised vision, Count Me In took off and went on to introduce its signature Make Mine a Million $ Business program and other effective business growth initiatives for women.
Q. If you could have a conference call with any three living people, who would they be?
A. President Obama, Aung San Suu Kyi, Lady Gaga
Q. What keeps you up at night?
A. My next big move
Q. What’s a great day for you?
A. Inspired creative problem solving with others or alone along with beautiful bike ride or swim
See the rest of this interview here.
Reading this weekend about Oprah Winfrey's challenges with OWN, her newish network bankrolled by Discovery, reminds me that starting a new venture isn't easy.
Even for Oprah.
Where am I going with this? Even with a mega-rich mega-brand like Oprah and $300 million-plus in funding from Discovery, she's struggling. She's used to being her own boss -- and still owns 50 percent of OWN network-- but the shakeup this week reminds me that even Oprah is willing to do what it takes to find traction and make OWN a success. Money can't do it all. Read the story here.
Most of the entrepreneurs I talk to would love to have even $100,000 of her wealth to get their business going. But they share a few powerful characteristics with her: passion for their business and the entrepreneurial energy to do what it takes.
I am always reminded about South Florida energy and passion about this time of year, with the 14th annual Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge entry period just closing. This year: 200+ entries in a contest without cash prizes! (I wish we could give cash, but we're a contest for fun and education, exposure and connections). It's great to see such an outpouring of innovative ideas -- and many seem to have the business plans behind them to back them up.
The entries reflect the diversity that is South Florida: with everything from concepts for the film/TV/music space (this was a very popular category this year -- watch out, Oprah), yummy culinary concepts as always (watch out, Michelle Bernstein) and fashion to lots of plans in the international trade area, publishing and new media (watch out, Herald), a fair share of green business and social entrepreneurship concepts, plenty of mompreneur ideas, and tech, tech, tech (tech IS alive and well in South Florida).
If you entered the Challenge and did not receive an email confirmation, email me at email@example.com so I can make sure your entry was received. Read more about what is next in the Business Plan Challenge contest here. Follow me on Twitter @ndahlberg for more contest developments.
Congratulations, South Florida entrepreneurs. You are all winners.
The following is from Barry University about a new international MBA program:
Barry University’s Andreas School of Business is now offering students from across the globe the opportunity to earn a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Barry as well as one from their native country’s university in almost half the time it would take to do both separately.
Students can take part of the Double Degree program affording them the cultural experience and networking capabilities in two separate parts of the world through partnerships with several universities worldwide. Students study two semesters in their native university and two semesters at Barry. Once their academic work is complete, students have the opportunity to work at a U.S. company where they experience hands-on learning and training
Barry MBA students will also have the chance to study abroad and earn a degree from a partnering university through the Double Degree program.
Zuleima Bustamante, a student from Universidad del Norte in Barranquilla, Colombia is the first to participate in this new program. She is an industrial engineer with a minor in computer science and is currently working on her Master of Business Administration with a specialization in International Business at Barry. (photo shows Zuleima Bustamante, provided by Barry)
For questions regarding the Double Degree program, please contact Paola Moreno, school of business, assistant dean at 305-899-3531 or firstname.lastname@example.org
WASHINGTON -- A bipartisan bill to make it easier for small businesses to raise investment cash by easing federal regulations cleared the Senate, despite warnings from opponents that it could open the door to a new era of fraud.
Senators voted 73-26 to approve the legislation, after adding a provision that would bolster investor protections on the emerging practice of “crowd funding” — soliciting pools of investors online and through social media.
The measure now returns to the House, which is expected next week to pass the bill and send it to President Barack Obama, who supports the legislation.
The bipartisan support for the legislation reflects the desire of both parties to show voters that they are trying to bolster the economy.
Republicans, in particular, have insisted that the Jumpstart Our Business Start-ups, or JOBS, Act would help smaller companies expand and lead to job growth.
Read the rest of the story here.
The nonprofit microlender Accion said Wednesday that it is partnering with the New York Stock Exchange, which has committed $1.5 million to help create the Accion NYSE Job Growth Fund. The partnership is part of NYSE’s BigStartUp initiative, a nationwide movement that connects young companies and entrepreneurs with corporate America to fuel job creation. The NYSE is also calling on the corporate community, including about 70 Florida NYSE-listed companies, to donate to the Job Growth Fund. Accion’s goal is to raise $10 million in this fund by 2020, which it believes can impact 1 million small businesses across the country. Accion, the largest microfinance lending network in the United States, said that since 1991, it has made more than 1,950 loans to help support and build small businesses in Miami.
The nonprofit microlender Accion said Wednesday that it is partnering with the New York Stock Exchange, which has committed $1.5 million to help create the Accion NYSE Job Growth Fund. The partnership is part of NYSE’s BigStartUp initiative, a nationwide movement that connects young companies and entrepreneurs with corporate America to fuel job creation.
The NYSE is also calling on the corporate community, including about 70 Florida NYSE-listed companies, to donate to the Job Growth Fund. Accion’s goal is to raise $10 million in this fund by 2020, which it believes can impact 1 million small businesses across the country.
Accion, the largest microfinance lending network in the United States, said that since 1991, it has made more than 1,950 loans to help support and build small businesses in Miami.
INA PAIVA CORDLE