Thursday, April 18, 2024

Q&A: New $10K Grants and Different Advantages for Entrepreneurs


Verizon’s program for small enterprise simply launched data 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 grow to be eligible for the grants, you should first be a part of Verizon Small Enterprise Digital Prepared. It’s free.

With VSBDR, you’ll not solely get entry to programs, reside teaching periods led by business consultants and different assets, however you’ll additionally be capable of apply for the unique pool of $10,000 small enterprise grants.

To unlock the applying 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 Could 12, 2023. 

Final 12 months, we reached out to Brianna Ellison, director of neighborhood engagement for Verizon, as a part of our initiative to deliver the Verizon Small Enterprise Digital Prepared program to entrepreneurs and aspiring enterprise homeowners. She described a number of the advertising and marketing instruments, one-on-one mentoring and different points of this system that may assist small companies all through Michigan and the Nice Lakes area.

  1. 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 assets with their membership.


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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 contributors to establish their goal clients, 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. Company 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 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 immediately with these companies to establish further authorized providers.

Lastly, in September, Verizon launched Small Enterprise Digital Prepared.  This on-line curriculum is designed to provide small companies the personalised instruments to achieve in the present day’s digital world. This system contains studying modules, professional teaching, peer networking and a market of instruments and options.  The free on-line useful resource is obtainable 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 in the present day?

Digital readiness is about ensuring companies have all of the instruments and assets they should thrive in in the present day’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 as a result of disaster and greater than 50% of SMBs say their on-line interactions with clients have elevated. To remain aggressive within the new financial atmosphere, small companies have to 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 accordance with information printed from Morning Seek the advice of and Verizon of their September 2020 report, “greater than two in 5 determination makers say it’s doubtless that their enterprise will increase by way 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 handle. How can we bridge this hole? Entrepreneurs want easy accessibility—wherever they’re—to personalised studying and training assets in an effort to efficiently implement digital methods into their companies and have the arrogance to achieve the post-pandemic future.

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

House to numerous analysis organizations and anchor establishments, together with a vibrant and multicultural entrepreneurial ecosystem, Detroit’s wealthy roots embody the hardworking and revolutionary ethos of its numerous small enterprise homeowners. Detroit has roughly 50k small companies owned by entrepreneurs of coloration and town is dedicated to making sure residents are gaining equal entry to academic and financial alternatives of the rising high-growth financial system. In accordance with a 2021 Detroit Ecosystem Evaluation, Detroit has 23% of all startup firms in Michigan and has all the crucial assets to launch and develop companies which are digital prepared. As Verizon seeks to attach BIPOC enterprise homeowners throughout the nation with this helpful useful resource and create extra equitable pathways for entrepreneurs to thrive within the digital financial system, we view the small enterprise homeowners within the larger metro Detroit space—and Michigan—as a important person 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 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 way of curated curriculum subjects, teaching occasions, and neighborhood teams—to use to their companies!

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

We all know typically that small enterprise homeowners are fascinated about studying extra about financing, digital advertising and marketing, and operational effectivity.  Our customers have informed us they’ve acquired great worth from the academic assets and in connecting immediately with consultants–by way of each one-on-one mentoring and group teaching occasions. Fifty-eight % of customers on the platform are fascinated about connecting with a finance professional and 64% of customers on the platform are fascinated about connecting with a advertising and marketing professional. The most well-liked subject areas are accessing capital, digital advertising and marketing, and enhancing on-line presence. Enterprise homeowners would additionally choose to be part of a neighborhood the place they will be taught from each other, as 52% of customers wish to join with friends with comparable pursuits.

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

Verizon Small Enterprise Digital Prepared is constructed to be a helpful software 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 these kind of organizations and dealing with them to combine our assets into their choices. Small Enterprise Digital Prepared’s neighborhood part additionally lets companies join with different companies and assets by metropolis in order that they will connect with help 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 in regards to the nice work small enterprise homeowners and small enterprise growth organizations are presently engaged in, the present and ongoing challenges small enterprise homeowners are dealing with, 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 helpful relationships with the communities we serve. These dialogues are solely the start of what we hope might be long-term partnerships the place we will proceed the dialog and discover future alternatives to be supportive.

  1. What abilities do you deliver 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, 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 type coalitions to sort out 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 through 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 Enterprise Digital Prepared: A free useful resource for studying fundamental enterprise abilities, grants, the most recent digital know-how and extra.



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