Small Business Adaptations Are Here to Last Longer – Post-Covid

Sneha Hull | November 26, 2021 | 135 views

Small Business Adaptations
Small businesses are a critical component of the US commercial sector, employing about half of the US workforce. However, pandemic has struck the world devastating small enterprises. Due to the pandemic's rapid indignation, many small companies were forced to close their doors.

"The small businesses continue to be big contributors to the US economy, while their contribution has grown at a slower rate than that of large businesses, small businesses continue to be at the forefront of driving innovation, jobs and economic growth." 

- Acting Chief Counsel for Advocacy Major L. Clark

The coronavirus altered the way businesses work and presented several challenges to small business owners. As a result, they had to shut down their businesses owing to the downturn. However, few stood firm and continued their business operation, adapting to a new norm of business culture.

The pandemic compelled businesses to embrace digital transformation and digital technologies; everything moved digital, from commerce to education, from medical consultation to work. Covid paved the path for new business trends and operating methodologies that were previously unavailable to small firms. Small enterprises must adapt to new modes of operation and build adaptable business models.

The pandemic is here to stay, and we should be prepared to live alongside it while maintaining a regular existence. Thus, a few adaptations are here to stay, and small businesses must be prepared to coexist with them.

Adaptations To Last Post-Covid


Embracing The Digital Transformation


Throughout COVID-19, numerous small company owners smoothly accepted and implemented digital transformation in their operations. They moved their whole operation online, from promotion to sales. They prioritized data security, offered their products through eCommerce platforms, accepted digital and encrypted payments, incorporated innovative technology into their operations and decision-making, and launched AI-based customer care tools.

The idea of turning digital was challenging for small businesses, but the coronavirus compelled them to accept and act intelligently. Embracing technology was critical to small businesses surviving and remaining anchored during the pandemic crisis. Adapted digital shifts enable small businesses to grow digitally and strengthen themselves while also expanding their reach. As a result, businesses that are digitally driven are sure to endure longer.

Kevin Johnson, CEO of Starbucks, added 1900 outlets and had a 7% unit increase in a single year. The business achieved the objective by utilizing Deep Brew, an artificial intelligence-based application. The AI analyzed statistics such as population, traffic, income levels, and the presence of rivals, among other things. The gathering of such data aided the business in forecasting sales, earnings, and other economic performance indicators.

Collaborative And Partnership


The collaboration proved to be a gift in disguise for small firms in the aftermath of the pandemic. Small companies gained access to a much larger audience through partnership, which was critical for survival during the crisis.

The pandemic taught small company owners the value of teamwork and partnership in ensuring the business's stability and survival. Collaboration with influential organizations expands the market and provides exposure to prospective clients. In addition, it contributes to brand reach while enhancing brand credibility.

Collaboration solves financial problems, helps you save money, enables network growth, higher profits.

Hybrid Business Models


Many organizations have transitioned from traditional or linear business models to hybrid business models due to disruptive Fintech players, technological advancements, and changing customer behavior. A hybrid business model combines classic and non-traditional product sales tactics. Additionally, the hybrid business model is referred to as "multichannel commerce," "bricks-and-clicks," or "clicks-and-mortar."

A hybrid company model represents a novel path to success. This model uses software, cloud, artificial intelligence and machine learning, hardware, and a combination of conventional and non-traditional services to operate the business. Extensive preparation and analysis are required to iron out the wrinkles of large-scale implementation of the hybrid business model.

A hybrid business model brings in several advantages such as:
  • Generates leads
  • Increases ROI
  • New sources of revenue
  • New means of communication and collaboration

It contributes to meeting customer requirements and propelling us forward into the digital future. The hybrid company model is optimal since it enables you to make the best of everything and produces the highest quality product.

eCommerce's New Trends


During the pandemic, the eCommerce business was highly active. Everyone went to the internet to provide their services; everything from food to personal necessities was available online. As a result, the already-crowded eCommerce industry expanded by up to 44%.

Several eCommerce trends garnered prominence during the pandemic, including omnichannel strategy, voice search, voice shopping, mobile commerce, green consumerism, drone delivery, leveraging augmented reality to build virtual changing rooms, and artificial intelligence. Additionally, these patterns will persist post-pandemic, owing to the popularity of eCommerce among both consumers and company owners.

eCommerce is one such slow progression that exploded in popularity after the financial crisis and is here to stay.

Frequently Asked Questions:


How has the pandemic affected small businesses?


The pandemic had a profound effect on business, and as a result, many small firms were forced to close their doors permanently. In addition, small company owners were forced to respond to the economic upheaval caused by COVID-19 by adopting new business practices.

How has technology helped small businesses grow?


Technology was critical in helping small businesses weather the recession. Small company entrepreneurs may now communicate with their clients using digital channels such as email, blogs, and social media. The emergence of the internet world and new technology has aided in the growth of several small enterprises.

Spotlight

LIFX

LIFX pronounced LIFE-X pioneered the smart light in 2012 with the first Wi Fi-enabled, multi-colored LED that’s controllable via a smart device. Designed to last over 22 years, LIFX offers the brightest, most flexible smart light for your home or office.

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SMALL BUSINESS TRENDS

How to Choose the Right Small Business Accounting Software?

Article | February 10, 2022

Introduction With increasing complexities in financial management and migration towards digital technologies for accounting operations, advanced accounting solutions are gaining massive traction across the small business sector. Accounting software assists small businesses in enhancing their financial performance by providing higher accuracy, optimized payroll, automated transaction tracking, centralizing financial records, and others. However, it is crucial for small businesses to integrate the right accounting software as per their requirements to get the most out of the solutions. Since the market is full of numerous accounting solutions with different capabilities, selecting the one that is most suitable for your business can be overwhelming. So what are the factors that a small business owner should consider before looking for an accounting solution? Let’s see below. Select the Right Accounting Software: The Top 5 Primary Factors to Consider for Small Businesses Types of Software With multiple types of accounting software available, such as system software, application software, cloud-based software, and others, small business owners can opt for solutions that suit their operations and working style. If the owners operate in an on-the-go style, cloud-based software is best for them. But if the owners prefer to work from a single location, then the system software is appropriate for them. Learning Curve Until and unless small business owners are aware of the ins and outs of accounting software, using the software may seem complicated. As the high complexity of the solutions can result in costly errors, these owners should make sure that the learning curve for operating the software is not too steep. Features List Before small business owners start reviewing various types of accounting software platforms, they should take the time to brush up on the basics. It is crucial for the owners to make sure that the accounting solution has all the functionalities and features they need, such as inventory management, multi-currency support, payment processing, expense tracking, and others. They should also consider the add-on features that the solution provider can offer. Software Cost Accounting software varies in cost, depending on the number of users it supports, its tools and features, and other factors. The more specialized the software is, the more expensive it gets. Small business owners should compare prices between various accounting software providers and understand the exact amount and the process by which they will be charged. For instance, some of the companies charge standard monthly fees, while others have a single upfront cost with additional charges for add-on services. They should also find out if there are any hidden charges associated with the setup, customer support, and cloud storage. Customer Support A huge part of a reliable accounting solution is customer service. This is because small business owners need quick solutions and answers if they get stuck or have any questions related to the software. They do not want to be bounced around from representative to representative when reaching out for support. Thus, the owners should look for accounting software that offers excellent customer support and service. While selecting the solution, they should research and read customer testimonials about the software’s customer support. Begin Your Accounting the Right Way Efficient accounting is a crucial part of financial management, which involves tracking critical business activities such as accounts receivable and payable, invoicing and billing, bank reconciliation, reporting, and tax compliance, among others. It can be difficult for small businesses to get everything right, yet good accounting is fundamental for the company's growth and success. Choosing the correct accounting software is a crucial first step when getting started with the discipline. To get the most out of your accounting software, it is essential for small businesses to carefully consider their requirements, check the availability of features as per the requirements, and then select the accounting software that provides the capabilities they require for the greatest accounting experience.

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SMALL BUSINESS TRENDS

How Are Small Business Accounting Software Meeting the Industry Needs Today?

Article | March 2, 2022

Introduction Every business owner wishes to become financially independent when starting a business. To achieve that, it is crucial for the owners to manage their finances in an efficient manner. When done wrong, financial management, which is supposed to make a company's budgeting processes more efficient, has led to the loss of funds in many cases. Without sound financial management, small businesses may struggle to meet their objectives and might even suffer losses that could push them into insolvency. Financial management assists businesses in maximizing their market share, minimizing capital expenditures, maintaining proper cash flow, and improving profits. Accounting software plays a significant role in proper financial management and has become a vital need for all businesses today. With a better understanding of the inefficiencies of manual bookkeeping and the increased chances of error in finance tracking, business owners are increasingly shifting from managing finances manually to leveraging innovative solutions, such as accounting software, to improve their financial management. Why Is Small Business Accounting Software a Need for the Industry Today? In the course of a typical day, there are numerous tasks and responsibilities that must be managed and accomplished by small businesses by the end of the day. From planning to managing finances and accounting, a small business owner's back is full of a plethora of day-to-day tasks. As a result, keeping track of every last detail is nearly impossible for them, especially in accounting, where keeping track of every transaction is critical for managing business operations. Accurate and reliable accounting management is critical for small businesses and start-ups to ensure stable cash flow. As accounting software helps small business owners keep track of every single transaction along with other benefits, such as managing business finances, understanding profitability, and preparing tax statements, among others, it is becoming a necessity for small business financial management. Here are some of the other reasons why small business accounting software is becoming a necessity in the industry. Overcoming Manual Records With the growing number of transactions in the small business sector, it is becoming increasingly difficult for business owners to track and record income and expense data. As accounting software assists these owners to overcome manual work by recording the data directly into the page in real time and keeping a daily update of all the transactions, it is increasingly being sought by small businesses. Ease in Maintaining Transaction Due to the increasing customer inclination towards the adoption of digital payment solutions, small businesses are encountering numerous obstacles in maintaining all transactions from different online portals. Accounting software helps businesses leverage the bank feed feature to connect credit card accounts and the business bank, thereby centralizing and maintaining all transactional data in one place. Preparation of Reports and Financial Statements Keeping track of all small and large transactions and preparing financial statements, such as profit and loss statements and balance sheets, of these transactions manually is a tedious task and prone to errors. Accounting software automates the preparation of these financial statements and allows comparing transaction activity from prior months and years. As a result, it is increasingly gaining acceptance among small business owners. Increases Efficiency Accounting software allows small businesses to manage invoices and expenses, prepare for taxation, and keep tabs on all the financials, including payments, bad debts, upcoming dues, employee salaries, and others. Delegating all these financial management responsibilities to accounting software enables small business owners to focus on tasks that require their undivided attention, thereby boosting business efficiency. Bottom Line Regardless of the size of the business, every company strives to optimize its financial management, improve efficiencies, minimize costs, and simplify complex and tedious tasks. Accounting software can help small business owners achieve these objectives, along with eliminating time-consuming manual processes and redundancies, by automating accounting practices. Following this, the growing introduction of advanced cloud-based accounting software capable of providing real-time data access to business owners from anywhere at any time and on any device is expected to change the ways accounting is done in the small business industry in the coming years.

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SMALL BUSINESS TRENDS

How Are Small Business Accounting Software Meeting Industry Needs Today?

Article | June 15, 2022

Introduction With numerous tasks and operations to take care of, from basic invoicing and billing to project management and tax calculations, small business owners find it a nerve-wracking challenge to keep track of all monetary transactions and manage accounts payable. In addition, the advent of digitization, the growing penetration of cloud-based solutions in the industry, and the introduction of cutting-edge accounting software, among others, are eliminating the extra use of paper, pens, files, and voluminous binders. Because of these small business financing trends, businesses and start-ups are increasingly inclined toward online financial management tools, such as small business accounting software, to handle their financial data. The small business accounting software assists them in examining their financial condition along with accurately recording businesses’ cash flow, generating reports, tracking transactions, monitoring account balances, billing customers, creating purchase orders, and much more. Owing to such compelling features, these small business financial management solutions are garnering massive popularity in the industry. Small Business Accounting Software: Emerging Financial Needs in the Industry Running a small business sometimes entails wearing several hats, such as sending emails, paying suppliers, invoicing, creating processes, and preparing financial reports. All these are essential tasks, along with the other small business operations, such as employee management and work management, among others. None of the additional responsibilities faced by small business owners are as crucial as accounting. Robust accounting processes are vital for keeping businesses in excellent financial condition and helping owners to make smarter decisions. Accounting software provides various features that can facilitate the smooth operation of the organization. From processing invoices to monitoring cash flow, here are the primary ways accounting software can assist owners to meet financial requirements for small businesses and promote growth. Automate Invoicing and Billing Due to the shortage of cash inflow, it is vital for small businesses to keep the cash flowing by billing clients and crediting customers on time. Accounting software assists small businesses in automating the billing process, enabling owners to create recurring invoices, send follow-up reminders, and accept digital payments directly from the invoices. It also assists in tracking all unpaid invoices and preventing accidental missing payments, thereby fending off potential losses. Expense Tracking A common accounting mistake that small businesses often make is failing to accurately track business costs and expenses, which causes a shortage of cash flow. The deployment of the right small business accounting software prevents this from happening and enables firms to keep track of all the spending and identify the source where the money is being spent. Efficient Inventory Management Proper inventory management is a crucial part of small businesses as they cannot stock products in large quantities due to the unavailability of a large amount of capital. Good inventory management is necessary to guarantee an adequate supply and deliver superior customer service. Accounting software aids small businesses in recording stock keeping unit (SKU) codes, monitoring goods, preparing reports, tracking products sold, and running reports on which items firms are doing well and which ones aren’t. Bank Reconciliation Small business accounting solutions simplify one of the most fundamental tasks of the company—bank reconciliation. It enables small business owners to access their bank statements directly from the accounting solutions, along with comparing bank statements, balancing debits and credits, and identifying any discrepancies at the end of each financial period. The Final Thought Maintaining correct financial records at all times is essential for the success of small businesses and start-ups. For maintaining proper accounts, these businesses need a system that overcomes the drawbacks of traditional accounting tools such as spreadsheets. With the introduction of novel accounting software integrated with artificial intelligence, big data, and other technologies, these financial management solutions are paving the way for small businesses.

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SMALL BUSINESS ADVICE

Small Business Financial Management: One-Stop Solution for Financial Hurdles

Article | September 23, 2022

Introduction Managing finances is crucial for organizations, especially small businesses, to create a stable financial future in which the business is less likely to fail. Small businesses and start-up companies have to face numerous challenges and even bear losses at their introductory stage due to the difficulties in maintaining proper cash flow. According to a study, around 61% of small business owners say that they face challenges in handling consistent and steady cash flow. Many start-ups undertake operational business activities after obtaining loans from different financial institutions due to insufficient cash flow and capital. Hence, to keep small business operations running smoothly, they need to optimize the inflow and outflow of cash and financial management. Small business financial management assists these start-up companies in reducing financial costs, facilitating the availability of investment, and planning, organizing, directing, and controlling financial activities. With competition intensifying in the sector, the need for financial management is becoming even more critical for small businesses. Why Are Financial Management Solutions Becoming Imperative for Small Businesses? Running a small business is not an easy task. Even if you have a great idea and a large number of people longing for your product or service, the financial difficulties of operating a small business can quickly escalate and hamper the business. A plethora of expected and unexpected issues, such as overhead costs, rising interest or inflation rates, impending tax deadlines, remediating damage from a natural disaster, and many more, can create insurmountable obstacles for small business owners. Whether it is insufficient cash flow or a lack of accurate monthly reconciliation reports, many small business finance-related issues can be avoided with the proper management of finance and reporting. What are the other small business money management challenges that financial management solutions can assist to overcome? Let's see: Poor cash flow management Managing a budget Planning future expenses Controlling debt Inconsistent cash flow Tips for Effective Small Business Financial Management Small businesses today are highly fragile due to excessive competition in the industry. Hence, start-ups and new companies have to invest a significant amount of money in order to keep their business fully functional and running. Right from accumulating funds to allocating and spending them, it is crucial for small business owners to have a transparent view of their financial position and business undertakings to engage in planning for efficient utilization of available resources. Effective financial management not only assists in managing small businesses' finance and rotating the cash invested in the business, but it also assists in analyzing revenue generation, formulating suitable financial strategies, and calculating adequate returns, among others. It is undoubtedly one of the most important aspects of businesses, irrespective of their size. With an increasing need for managing huge funds, continuous transactions, daily cash flow, payrolls, and others, it is becoming even more critical for small businesses and start-ups to manage their finances effectively. Here are some of the vital tips that can help small businesses analyze and manage their finance effectively: Prioritize business financial planning Create a budget and stick to it Analyze cash flow Keep business and personal finances separate Focus on expenditures but also ROI Monitor spending Opt for a financial solution or service Final Thoughts With the fast-changing financial requirements of small businesses and the emergence of novel small business financing trends, entrepreneurs are emphasizing streamlining and managing their financial chores. To overcome a growing number of financial obstacles, leading financial solution developers are aiming at integrating advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data analytics in novel small business financial management solutions. This is anticipated to create a strong demand for innovative financial management tools, such as small business accounting software, across the industry in the forthcoming years.

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LIFX

LIFX pronounced LIFE-X pioneered the smart light in 2012 with the first Wi Fi-enabled, multi-colored LED that’s controllable via a smart device. Designed to last over 22 years, LIFX offers the brightest, most flexible smart light for your home or office.

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Lenovo Partners with Queen Latifah for Small Business Evolution

Lenovo | October 17, 2022

Lenovo announced that Grammy and Emmy Award-winning and Oscar nominated, actress, producer, recording artist, label president and entrepreneur, Queen Latifah will be the face and partner for this year’s iteration of the global technology powerhouse’s Evolve Small initiative. Built to champion and promote small businesses, Evolve Small provides financial aid, technological resources, community support, and business mentorship to small businesses across North America. With the help of Queen Latifah, the program will enhance the benefits offered to participants this year by providing those selected with the opportunity to leverage customized marketing materials to promote their businesses – featuring none other than the Queen herself. Selected participants will also be eligible for personalized mentorship sessions with Queen Latifah, as well as with Lenovo’s expert squad of Evolve Small Ambassadors. “It is such an honor to have Queen Latifah as our Evolve Small ambassador this year, Given our mission to help small businesses evolve, finding a partner who exemplified smart business acumen and an affinity for philanthropy was paramount to making sure this initiative would truly make an impact. Small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities and with Queen Latifah as our partner, we look forward to supporting small businesses across North America.” Gerald Youngblood, chief marketing officer, Lenovo North America Speaking on her new brand ambassadorship, Queen Latifah shared, “I understand the hardships small businesses face and how much more challenging those hardships can be for businesses owned by women and minorities. Knowing how the support I received back when I got started helped me get to where I am today I’m excited to pay it forward and help others along the way through this partnership with Lenovo’s Evolve Small initiative. As part of Evolve Small, Lenovo and Microsoft are hosting a contest where businesses with fewer than 100 employees can submit a 30-second-to-two-minute video pitching their business for a chance to win a $30,000 cash grant, $10,000 in Lenovo technology upgrades, and a mentorship session with Queen Latifah. There will be three grand prize winners and four runner-up winners. Each of the four runner-up winners will receive a $5,000 cash grant and one $5,000 package of Lenovo tech and solutions. Lenovo will begin accepting submissions on October 13, 2022, at Lenovo.com/EvolveSmall and the application process ends November 15, 2022. Launched last summer, the inaugural Evolve Small program provided over $1,000,000 worth of grants and technology donations to minority-owned small businesses in the U.S. and Canada. Acknowledging the hardships small businesses continue to face amid the current economic landscape, Evolve Small builds upon last year’s success with a primary focus on minority and woman-owned businesses – all in an effort to spotlight local community gems and encourage consumers and tourists to “visit and shop small.” With a mission to help small businesses enhance their day-to-day operations and scale upwards, Lenovo and partner AMD are also partnering with Goodie Nation, an entrepreneurship and community building non-profit organization, to expand the reach of the program and provide additional grants. About Lenovo Lenovo (HKSE: 992) (ADR: LNVGY) is a US$70 billion revenue global technology powerhouse, ranked #171 in the Fortune Global 500, employing 75,000 people around the world, and serving millions of customers every day in 180 markets. Focused on a bold vision to deliver smarter technology for all, Lenovo has built on its success as the world’s largest PC company by further expanding into key growth areas including server, storage, mobile, solutions and services. This transformation together with Lenovo’s world-changing innovation is building a more inclusive, trustworthy, and sustainable digital society for everyone, everywhere. To find out more visit https://www.lenovo.com, and read about the latest news via our StoryHub.

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MARKETING AND NETWORKING

ERC Digital Launches to Help Small Businesses Secure Tax Refunds, Leveraging Big Four Accounting Firm Technology

ERC Digital | November 30, 2022

ERC Digital, the service empowering small businesses to receive United States government tax incentives, has launched after teaming with a Big Four accounting firm to bring industry-leading tax knowledge to the ERC process. ERC Digital is the only organization of its kind to do so, as well as collaborate with IRS technology partner Tax Status, furthering its mission to bring small businesses the same opportunities and resources as large corporations. Originally created as part of the CARES Act in 2020, the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) was part of the initiatives to encourage sustained employment and small business support. For qualified employers, the ERC provides up to $26,000 in tax credit refunds per employee. Unfortunately, many small businesses have yet to take advantage of this program due to the complexity of the filing process. The ERC Digital service simplifies the process of getting employers tax relief. Through deep expertise across key areas including how to navigate government processes, improving regulated filing efficiencies and now, the addition of partners and technology utilizations that provide deep industry knowledge, ERC Digital is helping advocate for small businesses across the country. "Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. Now, more than ever, they deserve to get the money that is available to them and benefit from industry-leading expertise like that provided by a Big Four accounting firm, With ERC Digital, small businesses have a streamlined path to checking eligibility, preparing their ERC filings, and tracking the filing all through a transparent and efficient process." Michael Coghlan, Co-CEO of ERC Digital We believe in the importance of small businesses and making sure they have every advantage available to them to get the full refunds they deserve through the Employee Retention Credit," said Chuck Hayes, Senior Vice President at Tax Status.We're proud to contribute our expertise and insight to ERC Digital and help make claiming ERC easier and more transparent for businesses everywhere. About ERC Digital: ERC Digital is a product of Global Government Partners, a collaboration between industry experts in helping small businesses navigate government process and technology experts with deep background in simplifying regulated industry filings.

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SMALL BUSINESS TRENDS

Citizens Announces $300,000 Grant for Veteran Small Businesses in the Bronx

Citizens | November 08, 2022

Citizens today announced a $300,000 grant to empower veteran-owned small business in the Bronx, in partnership with Military Warriors Support Foundation (MWSF) and the Hope4Heroes program. The grant will provide tailored support and resources to strengthen veteran-owned business, such as storefront renovation, new technology and technical training, and includes one year of financial mentorship. Earlier today, Citizens and MWSF recognized Former U.S. Army Specialist Marisa Estrella, founder of Worldwide Veterans & Family Services, as the first grant recipient. The program will remain open and accept applications through the end of this year, in order to benefit additional veteran-owned businesses. To be considered, applicants must be an honorably discharged veteran and own a business in Bronx County. Interested veterans can apply at militarywarriors.org/hope4heroes. “Citizens has a long-standing commitment to supporting veterans, particularly in under-served communities where small businesses are struggling to recover from the pandemic, In the last year, Citizens has worked closely with communities across New York City, understanding that a bank’s true value is in contributing positively to the neighborhood and supporting businesses and customers to realize their dreams. We are excited to build on our 8-year partnership with Military Warriors Support Foundation by expanding to the Bronx.” Brendan Coughlin, Head of Consumer Banking at Citizens. The program is the largest corporate grant for veterans in the Bronx and continues Citizens’ deep commitment to fostering neighborhood revitalization and economic development. Hope4Heroes is an extraordinary initiative helping veterans all across the country, and we are proud to partner with Citizens to bring the program to the Bronx,” said Ken Eakes, Executive Director at MWSF. “There are many hurdles to overcome while running a small business and operating in a borough like the Bronx, where recovery has been stalled. Citizens and MWSF have a track record of supporting small businesses and seeing the results of our support extend to the communities around them. I am grateful for this amazing grant and invaluable support for my business, and I want to thank Citizens and MWSF for making this happen,” said Marisa Estrella, Former U.S. Army Specialist and founder, Worldwide Veterans and Family Services. “The Bronx is my home, and I am proud to start here, serving veterans in my neighborhood. Rehabilitation of low-income veterans is critical to help them transition to civilian life and continue contributing to their communities. My goal is to help homeless or at-risk veterans have better and dignified lives. Citizens and MWSF are helping make my vision a reality. Since entering the NYC Metro market in February with retail branches, Citizens has hosted several community programs across the city supporting open streets and night markets and providing grants and support for small businesses and workforce development. Citizens has partnered with a number of local organizations including LISC, Ukrainian Women’s League, Think!Chinatown, Rockaway Development & Revitalization Corporation, the Ocean Bay Community Development Corporation, and Pursuit. About Citizens Financial Group, Inc. Citizens Financial Group, Inc. is one of the nation’s oldest and largest financial institutions, with $224.7 billion in assets as of September 30, 2022. Headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, Citizens offers a broad range of retail and commercial banking products and services to individuals, small businesses, middle-market companies, large corporations and institutions. Citizens helps its customers reach their potential by listening to them and by understanding their needs in order to offer tailored advice, ideas and solutions. In Consumer Banking, Citizens provides an integrated experience that includes mobile and online banking, a full-service customer contact center and the convenience of approximately 3,400 ATMs and approximately 1,200 branches in 14 states and the District of Columbia. Consumer Banking products and services include a full range of banking, lending, savings, wealth management and small business offerings. In Commercial Banking, Citizens offers a broad complement of financial products and solutions, including lending and leasing, deposit and treasury management services, foreign exchange, interest rate and commodity risk management solutions, as well as loan syndication, corporate finance, merger and acquisition, and debt and equity capital markets capabilities

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Lenovo Partners with Queen Latifah for Small Business Evolution

Lenovo | October 17, 2022

Lenovo announced that Grammy and Emmy Award-winning and Oscar nominated, actress, producer, recording artist, label president and entrepreneur, Queen Latifah will be the face and partner for this year’s iteration of the global technology powerhouse’s Evolve Small initiative. Built to champion and promote small businesses, Evolve Small provides financial aid, technological resources, community support, and business mentorship to small businesses across North America. With the help of Queen Latifah, the program will enhance the benefits offered to participants this year by providing those selected with the opportunity to leverage customized marketing materials to promote their businesses – featuring none other than the Queen herself. Selected participants will also be eligible for personalized mentorship sessions with Queen Latifah, as well as with Lenovo’s expert squad of Evolve Small Ambassadors. “It is such an honor to have Queen Latifah as our Evolve Small ambassador this year, Given our mission to help small businesses evolve, finding a partner who exemplified smart business acumen and an affinity for philanthropy was paramount to making sure this initiative would truly make an impact. Small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities and with Queen Latifah as our partner, we look forward to supporting small businesses across North America.” Gerald Youngblood, chief marketing officer, Lenovo North America Speaking on her new brand ambassadorship, Queen Latifah shared, “I understand the hardships small businesses face and how much more challenging those hardships can be for businesses owned by women and minorities. Knowing how the support I received back when I got started helped me get to where I am today I’m excited to pay it forward and help others along the way through this partnership with Lenovo’s Evolve Small initiative. As part of Evolve Small, Lenovo and Microsoft are hosting a contest where businesses with fewer than 100 employees can submit a 30-second-to-two-minute video pitching their business for a chance to win a $30,000 cash grant, $10,000 in Lenovo technology upgrades, and a mentorship session with Queen Latifah. There will be three grand prize winners and four runner-up winners. Each of the four runner-up winners will receive a $5,000 cash grant and one $5,000 package of Lenovo tech and solutions. Lenovo will begin accepting submissions on October 13, 2022, at Lenovo.com/EvolveSmall and the application process ends November 15, 2022. Launched last summer, the inaugural Evolve Small program provided over $1,000,000 worth of grants and technology donations to minority-owned small businesses in the U.S. and Canada. Acknowledging the hardships small businesses continue to face amid the current economic landscape, Evolve Small builds upon last year’s success with a primary focus on minority and woman-owned businesses – all in an effort to spotlight local community gems and encourage consumers and tourists to “visit and shop small.” With a mission to help small businesses enhance their day-to-day operations and scale upwards, Lenovo and partner AMD are also partnering with Goodie Nation, an entrepreneurship and community building non-profit organization, to expand the reach of the program and provide additional grants. About Lenovo Lenovo (HKSE: 992) (ADR: LNVGY) is a US$70 billion revenue global technology powerhouse, ranked #171 in the Fortune Global 500, employing 75,000 people around the world, and serving millions of customers every day in 180 markets. Focused on a bold vision to deliver smarter technology for all, Lenovo has built on its success as the world’s largest PC company by further expanding into key growth areas including server, storage, mobile, solutions and services. This transformation together with Lenovo’s world-changing innovation is building a more inclusive, trustworthy, and sustainable digital society for everyone, everywhere. To find out more visit https://www.lenovo.com, and read about the latest news via our StoryHub.

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ERC Digital Launches to Help Small Businesses Secure Tax Refunds, Leveraging Big Four Accounting Firm Technology

ERC Digital | November 30, 2022

ERC Digital, the service empowering small businesses to receive United States government tax incentives, has launched after teaming with a Big Four accounting firm to bring industry-leading tax knowledge to the ERC process. ERC Digital is the only organization of its kind to do so, as well as collaborate with IRS technology partner Tax Status, furthering its mission to bring small businesses the same opportunities and resources as large corporations. Originally created as part of the CARES Act in 2020, the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) was part of the initiatives to encourage sustained employment and small business support. For qualified employers, the ERC provides up to $26,000 in tax credit refunds per employee. Unfortunately, many small businesses have yet to take advantage of this program due to the complexity of the filing process. The ERC Digital service simplifies the process of getting employers tax relief. Through deep expertise across key areas including how to navigate government processes, improving regulated filing efficiencies and now, the addition of partners and technology utilizations that provide deep industry knowledge, ERC Digital is helping advocate for small businesses across the country. "Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. Now, more than ever, they deserve to get the money that is available to them and benefit from industry-leading expertise like that provided by a Big Four accounting firm, With ERC Digital, small businesses have a streamlined path to checking eligibility, preparing their ERC filings, and tracking the filing all through a transparent and efficient process." Michael Coghlan, Co-CEO of ERC Digital We believe in the importance of small businesses and making sure they have every advantage available to them to get the full refunds they deserve through the Employee Retention Credit," said Chuck Hayes, Senior Vice President at Tax Status.We're proud to contribute our expertise and insight to ERC Digital and help make claiming ERC easier and more transparent for businesses everywhere. About ERC Digital: ERC Digital is a product of Global Government Partners, a collaboration between industry experts in helping small businesses navigate government process and technology experts with deep background in simplifying regulated industry filings.

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Citizens Announces $300,000 Grant for Veteran Small Businesses in the Bronx

Citizens | November 08, 2022

Citizens today announced a $300,000 grant to empower veteran-owned small business in the Bronx, in partnership with Military Warriors Support Foundation (MWSF) and the Hope4Heroes program. The grant will provide tailored support and resources to strengthen veteran-owned business, such as storefront renovation, new technology and technical training, and includes one year of financial mentorship. Earlier today, Citizens and MWSF recognized Former U.S. Army Specialist Marisa Estrella, founder of Worldwide Veterans & Family Services, as the first grant recipient. The program will remain open and accept applications through the end of this year, in order to benefit additional veteran-owned businesses. To be considered, applicants must be an honorably discharged veteran and own a business in Bronx County. Interested veterans can apply at militarywarriors.org/hope4heroes. “Citizens has a long-standing commitment to supporting veterans, particularly in under-served communities where small businesses are struggling to recover from the pandemic, In the last year, Citizens has worked closely with communities across New York City, understanding that a bank’s true value is in contributing positively to the neighborhood and supporting businesses and customers to realize their dreams. We are excited to build on our 8-year partnership with Military Warriors Support Foundation by expanding to the Bronx.” Brendan Coughlin, Head of Consumer Banking at Citizens. The program is the largest corporate grant for veterans in the Bronx and continues Citizens’ deep commitment to fostering neighborhood revitalization and economic development. Hope4Heroes is an extraordinary initiative helping veterans all across the country, and we are proud to partner with Citizens to bring the program to the Bronx,” said Ken Eakes, Executive Director at MWSF. “There are many hurdles to overcome while running a small business and operating in a borough like the Bronx, where recovery has been stalled. Citizens and MWSF have a track record of supporting small businesses and seeing the results of our support extend to the communities around them. I am grateful for this amazing grant and invaluable support for my business, and I want to thank Citizens and MWSF for making this happen,” said Marisa Estrella, Former U.S. Army Specialist and founder, Worldwide Veterans and Family Services. “The Bronx is my home, and I am proud to start here, serving veterans in my neighborhood. Rehabilitation of low-income veterans is critical to help them transition to civilian life and continue contributing to their communities. My goal is to help homeless or at-risk veterans have better and dignified lives. Citizens and MWSF are helping make my vision a reality. Since entering the NYC Metro market in February with retail branches, Citizens has hosted several community programs across the city supporting open streets and night markets and providing grants and support for small businesses and workforce development. Citizens has partnered with a number of local organizations including LISC, Ukrainian Women’s League, Think!Chinatown, Rockaway Development & Revitalization Corporation, the Ocean Bay Community Development Corporation, and Pursuit. About Citizens Financial Group, Inc. Citizens Financial Group, Inc. is one of the nation’s oldest and largest financial institutions, with $224.7 billion in assets as of September 30, 2022. Headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, Citizens offers a broad range of retail and commercial banking products and services to individuals, small businesses, middle-market companies, large corporations and institutions. Citizens helps its customers reach their potential by listening to them and by understanding their needs in order to offer tailored advice, ideas and solutions. In Consumer Banking, Citizens provides an integrated experience that includes mobile and online banking, a full-service customer contact center and the convenience of approximately 3,400 ATMs and approximately 1,200 branches in 14 states and the District of Columbia. Consumer Banking products and services include a full range of banking, lending, savings, wealth management and small business offerings. In Commercial Banking, Citizens offers a broad complement of financial products and solutions, including lending and leasing, deposit and treasury management services, foreign exchange, interest rate and commodity risk management solutions, as well as loan syndication, corporate finance, merger and acquisition, and debt and equity capital markets capabilities

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