Google partners with COOP Career to help small business launch digital storefronts on Shopify - Crain's New York Business

Google partners with COOP Career to help small business launch digital storefronts on Shopify - Crain's New York Business


Google partners with COOP Career to help small business launch digital storefronts on Shopify - Crain's New York Business

Posted: 28 Sep 2020 05:00 AM PDT

A partnership between Google and a Midtown nonprofit aims to help 150 New York City small businesses get their products online before the holiday shopping season.

The program, MainStreet Online, is set to open applications for businesses with 20 employees or fewer later this week. Google plans to embed recent graduates of job-training program COOP within small businesses for a two-month fellowship, free of cost to the business. The fellows will help launch a digital storefront through Shopify, and the small businesses will appear on Google's shopping search tabs.

According to the partnership, the businesses will receive 120 hours of training to optimize their online presence, including tips on making the business easier to find in internet searches. Business owners will have to pay a fee for Shopify after 90 days—which starts at $29 per month.

The effort could earn Google some goodwill in the city at a time when lawmakers at both the local and federal front have pushed for stronger antitrust enforcement against the company and fellow tech giants Amazon, Apple and Facebook.

Angela Pinsky, a senior government affairs manager for Google, said the program fits within its Grow With Google campaign for small businesses.

"As an organization, we are trying to figure out how we can be most helpful to these small businesses that are quickly pivoting online," Pinsky said.

The company is reaching out to city agencies, chambers of commerce and business improvement districts to find applicants, she said.

Google said it will pay the COOP graduates $20 per hour for the length of the program, which includes 30 hours of training on Shopify and Google products.

Shopify—an Ontario-based company with a market cap of more than $100 billion—is not otherwise involved in the program, but a spokesman for Google said the company's products present the easiest option to get businesses online. The platform also can integrate easily with Google's offerings.

COOP launched in 2014 to help unemployed or underemployed college graduates launch their career. The program also operates in California. In the city, COOP works most often with CUNY graduates, whom COOP founder Kalani Leifer said have the right skills and education, but not the network, to land a sustainable job.

Backed by donors that include the Robinhood Foundation and Google, COOP leads 200-hour free training courses in digital marketing and data analytics. The company held those classes in a Midtown office building before shifting online in March.

The program's goal is that 15 or 16 people in each cohort will connect with each other and previous graduates of the program to create a network that opens doors to good-paying jobs.

"The labor market is messy and really driven by peer relationships," Liefer said. "It is not always what you know but who you know."

COOP graduates landed full-time jobs in those industries about 80% of the time before the pandemic, Leifer said. But the slowdown in marketing and in entry-level tech hiring has made those placements more challenging since March.

"This is a tremendous opportunity to allow our recent alumni, who are entering a very bleak labor market, to take what they have learned and apply that to small businesses and artists in the city who need help more than ever to succeed online," Leifer said

Google is piloting the program in New York and could expand it based on the results. The training for small businesses is scheduled to start Oct. 5.

Verizon Business Survey finds 55% of small businesses concerned about survival - Verizon Communications

Posted: 28 Sep 2020 06:22 AM PDT

Additional findings:

As businesses continue to grapple with the impact of COVID-19, these responses highlight how small businesses are operating in an environment that relies heavier on remote collaboration and touchless experiences.

Small businesses view the 2020 election as critical to their financial survival, regardless of owners' party affiliations.

  • 81% of small businesses believe the outcome will affect small businesses in the U.S. overall, regardless of their party affiliation, while 57% say it will impact their own business' financial security.
  • 84% of small businesses believe the outcome will affect the economy as a whole.

Small businesses are feeling more confident in their business' financial wellbeing, but are concerned about the overall state of the economy.

  • 72% of small businesses believe that if conditions stay the same, they will be able to stay open at least 6 months or more.
  • 67% of small businesses reported declining sales, representing moderate improvement, versus 78% in April.
  • 91% believe that the pandemic has negatively impacted nationwide small businesses.
  • 92% have concern over the effect on all small businesses within the U.S., compared to a high of 96% in April.
  • 86% are concerned about the pandemic's effect on the overall U.S. economy.
  • 52% of small business decision makers report concern over their job security versus 56% in April.

Small businesses are investing in collaboration tools and technologies that enable remote work.

  • 36% have implemented new systems or technologies to allow for remote collaboration.
  • 76% of respondents find collaboration between teams important in this challenging time, as they integrate digital tools to create new business opportunities.

Remote work has brought both additional opportunities and challenges for small business owners and employees.

  • Among respondents whose businesses have implemented new remote collaboration systems, 67% say they have faced challenges doing so.
  • 62% of small businesses with remote staff say remote work has allowed employees to balance work and personal responsibilities more effectively.
  • 59% of small businesses with remote staff say remote work has made it more difficult for employees to feel connected to one another.
  • 56% of small businesses with remote staff say remote work has blurred lines between work and personal life.
  • 49% agree that remote work has boosted employee satisfaction and morale

Verizon Business' small business COVID-relief programs include the Comeback Coach Program, Verizon's small business resource hub that brings together valuable tools, services and advice, a free Small Business Webinar Series, and the Women in Business Mentorship Program, led by Verizon Business CEO Tami Erwin. Earlier this year, Verizon launched Pay It Forward Live, a weekly live streamed entertainment series to support the small businesses most affected and the Verizon Foundation pledged up to $7.5 million in funding to small businesses nationwide across three rounds of grants through the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)

Download the Small Business Recovery Survey: Wave Two Results

Few small businesses have applied for New Mexico Small Business Recovery Loan Fund - KRQE News 13

Posted: 28 Sep 2020 06:11 AM PDT

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – A relief fund to keep small businesses afloat during the pandemic has seen very few applicants. Lawmakers passed the Small Business Recovery Loan Fund, setting aside $400 million in loans for small businesses.

According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, since the application process opened on August 5, just under $5 million in loans have been approved. Forty percent of applications have been rejected.

According to the New Mexico Finance Authority, as of Sept. 25, 2020, $19.8 million in loans have been approved with the average loan amount being $47,759. A total of 415 businesses have received approved loans.

The report shows that's mostly because businesses need to show their revenue fell more than 30% in April and May of this year compared to the same months in 2019. Additional information on the Small Business Recovery Loan Fund can be found at nmfinance.com.

Related Coverage:

How to “Keep” Business Continuity During a Worldwide Pandemic - Small Business Trends

Posted: 28 Sep 2020 03:00 AM PDT

The word "business continuity" means something different these days. Many companies are just struggling to stay in business. So how do you keep your company profitable and your employees engaged especially when they are working from home?

On the Small Business Radio Show this week, Jeffrey Hayzlett who is a former Fortune 100 CMO, a primetime television host of C-Suite, and the author of numerous best-selling business books, talks about how to purposely practice business continuity in your organization today.

Jeffrey Hayzlett Interview

Jeffrey believes that every small business must move fast on business transformation with COVID- 19; there are a lot of companies still doing well. He suggests pushing hard to not just figure out how to survive but put together a plan where you can thrive.

During the pandemic, there are a lot of things small business owners don't have control over. Jeff says that you need to focus on what you can get done. He suggests focusing on "the keeps":

  1. Keep your customer engagement. Remember, out of sight is out of mind. Every company needs to turn up their marketing to help their customers to keep these connections alive during tough times
  2. Keep your employees focused. Boost your communication by decreasing email and do more video calls. He suggests getting together multiple times a week to foster team building. Let them have a lot of input into what happens next.
  3. Keep cash flowing. Stop non-essential expenses. Try to get longer terms from your vendors. Start projects early even if customers can't pay now especially if you charge for your time which you won't be able to sell later.
  4. Keep your team safe, healthy, and sane. This is so they don't have additional things to worry about.

For more advice from Jeffrey, listen to the entire episode on the Small Business Radio Show.

Image: hayzlett.com


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