HSB Survey Finds One-Third of Small Businesses Accept Cryptocurrency

At least one-third of U.S. small and medium-sized businesses accept cryptocurrency as payment for goods and services, a survey released today by HSB, part of Munich Re, has found, with newer companies up to twice as likely to trade in digital credits. The HSB nationwide survey conducted by Zogby Analytics showed that 36 percent of the small and mid-sized businesses accepted cryptocurrency, while 59 percent of those companies purchased digital currency for their own use as well. The business responses were divided by how long they had been operating: 47 percent of companies accepting cryptocurrency had been in business five years or less, compared to only 21 percent in business more than 20 years.

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TECHNOLOGY

SMB hiring apparent in tech services sector employment gains, CompTIA analysis reveals

CompTIA | December 11, 2023

The latest employment data suggests hiring among small and medium-size businesses (SMBs) in the tech services and software development sector has continued, according to analysis by CompTIA, the nonprofit association for the information technology (IT) industry and workforce. In the aggregate tech sector employment was essentially unchanged from the previous month, CompTIA's analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) #JobsReport data reveals.1 The base of tech sector employment stands at nearly 5.6 million workers spanning technology infrastructure, telecommunications, software and services. Companies in the tech services and software development sector added an estimated 2,900 new hires for the month. The segment of the industry has recorded employment growth in nine of 11 months this year. Among all companies in the tech services and software development sector, 99.9% are classified as SMBs. They account for 84% of employment in the tech services and software sector.2 Cloud infrastructure and related positions have had seven months of positive results. Tech occupations throughout the economy declined by 210,000 last month.3 The unemployment rate for tech occupations fell to 1.7%, less than half the national unemployment rate (3.5%). said Tim Herbert, chief research officer, CompTIA. With the gains in employer hiring intent for AI talent, the job posting data is finally catching up to the hype As an enabling technology, companies hiring for AI skills inevitably need to boost adjacencies in areas such as data infrastructure, cybersecurity and business process automation. [Source -PR Newswire] Employer hiring activity as measured by job postings for tech positions totaled 155,621 for the month. Jobs associated with artificial intelligence (AI) made up 12% of the total, more than 18,000 postings. It's the first time AI positions have surpassed the 10% threshold. Positions in emerging technologies or jobs that require emerging tech skills accounted for 26% of tech job postings last month. California (15,193), Texas (14,403) and Virginia (10,103) had the highest volumes of tech job postings among the states. Washington, New York, Dallas and Chicago led metropolitan markets. Professional, scientific and technical services, administrative and support, manufacturing, finance and insurance and information were the most active industry sectors. About CompTIA The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) is the world's leading information technology (IT) certification and training body. CompTIA is a mission-driven organization committed to unlocking the potential of every student, career changer or professional seeking to begin or advance in a technology career. Each year CompTIA, directly and through its global network of partners, provides millions of people with training, education and certification.

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BUSINESS STRATEGY

Act! Premium Cloud Launches Exclusive Linktivity Bundles

Act! | December 12, 2023

Act!, a leading customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing automation solution for small to medium-sized businesses (SMB), announced three solutions that streamline SMB operations and add new dimensions to meaningful customer interactions. Link2quotes+, Link2forms+, and Link2events+, can generate leads, manage events, streamline appointment tracking and increase sales for users of Act! Premium Cloud. Link2quotes+ - Develop online quotes to close more deals Link2forms+ - Design engaging forms to generate more leads Link2events+ - Promote events, maximize attendance and follow-ups said Act! CEO Bruce Reading. This has been an historic year for Act! in terms of introducing tools, workflows, and platforms that not only optimize business effectiveness, but also deliver an improved user experience at a very competitive price. These Linktivity modules expand capability for our customers, and embody our commitment to delivering increasing value. These are tools we believe will help our cloud users optimize and integrate customer touchpointsFrom generating leads to closing more deals, Link2quotes+, Link2forms+, and Link2events+ represent a tremendous opportunity for Act! users to expand their go-to-market capacity and should give anyone shopping for CRM more reasons to seriously consider Act! [Source -Business Wire] Link2quotes+: Accelerate Sales with Online Quotes Creating and managing quotations is a critical aspect of any successful business. With Link2quotes+, Act! Premium Cloud users can craft customized, branded quotes, track when they're viewed by prospects, automatically schedule follow-ups, and process payments securely upon quote acceptance. Link2forms+: Fuel Your Sales Funnel with Ease Engaging customers and generating leads is made effortless with Link2forms+. This powerful tool allows you to create customizable forms for various purposes, from newsletter sign-ups to service requests. Categorize and segment leads for targeted follow-ups, run comprehensive reports for actionable insights, and automate responses for enhanced customer satisfaction. Link2events+: Promote & Manage Online Events Planning and promoting online events can be challenging, but Link2events+ makes it a breeze. From marketing to attendees and managing RSVPs, this all-in-one events solution seamlessly integrates with Act! for a comprehensive event management experience. Link2calendar is included with each of these modules Link2calendar: Streamline Appointment Management The hassle of scheduling meetings with prospects and customers is a thing of the past with Link2calendar. Act! Premium Cloud users can now effortlessly share their calendars via an online link, allowing customers to book available times that sync directly with the Act! calendar. About Act! Act! is a leading provider of comprehensive CRM and marketing automation solutions that connect businesses with their customers. The company’s offerings provide unrivaled value with more marketing capabilities than other similarly priced CRMs. With Act!, professionals build relationships, not process transactions. The company’s all-in-one solution supports small and medium-sized professional businesses at any stage.

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FINANCE

YuLend announces strong performance, reaching 150,000 SME fundings since its inception

YouLend | December 14, 2023

YouLend, the leading global embedded financing platform, has reached a major lending milestone, successfully providing 150,000 instances of funding to small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the UK, EU, and the US, since its launch in 2015. It's estimated that YouLend-backed SMEs have contributed £6.8 billion in revenue to the GDP across our core markets, and have experienced a 26% uplift in sales in the 6 months following funding. The funding milestone follows YouLend's successful expansion in recent years into the US and major European markets, including Germany, Netherlands, Poland, and Spain. In addition to expansion, YouLend has also seen sustained growth in the UK and Ireland, making it one of the largest embedded finance platforms globally. The growth has accelerated from newly secured partnerships with leading ecommerce and payments platforms such as Amazon, Just Eat Takeaway.com, and Dojo. YouLend recently published an impact report, The Widening Access to Capital Report, which found that YouLend attracted 12% more applications from female-led businesses and was more than twice as likely to finance female-led businesses than the UK average. The report also indicated that YouLend makes fast, accurate lending decisions thanks to its sophisticated, AI-driven decision-making model which leverages a broad range of financial data to paint an accurate picture of a business's health. This enables a 90% approval rate for YouLend applicants - well above the 64% average in the UK SME lending market. The unbiased model also enables YouLend to grant financing to SMEs who have been underserved by traditional finance providers. As a result, over half (58%) of YouLend's total 150,000 instances of funding went towards two of the most deprived regions in the UK, serving low-income business owners. Jakob Pethick, Chief Commercial Officer at YouLend, comments: "This milestone underscores YouLend's growth across the US, UK, and the rest of Europe as we continue to invest in our platform. "At the heart of our mission is a commitment to supporting businesses with finance wherever and whenever they need it. This is why we will continue to work with our strategic partners to empower businesses with fast, flexible, and fair financial products to grow and thrive." About YouLend YouLend is the preferred embedded financing platform for many of the world's leading e-commerce platforms, tech companies, and payment service providers. YouLend's embedded finance platform offers fast, flexible, and fair financing to businesses, enabling YouLend's partners and their merchants to unlock revenue and growth opportunities globally.

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