FINANCE,SMALL BUSINESS ADVICE

Small Businesses Are Raising Capital Through SMBX and the DC Rebuild Bond Program

SMBX | August 05, 2022 | Read time : 02:13 min

Small Businesses Are Raising
Five new Washington, DC small businesses are giving local investors the opportunity to invest in them through SMBX and the DC Rebuild Bond program—a partnership with DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Deputy Mayor’s Office of Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) to drive $5 million in investment in DC small businesses.

“Our first-in-the-nation partnership with Mayor Bowser’s administration continues to bring investment to DC small businesses while giving local investors more control over their money,” said Ben Lozano, CEO and co-founder of SMBX. “We’re committed to bringing investment to small businesses in DC’s underserved communities to keep wealth creation local."

The new DC small businesses listed on the SMBX marketplace include:

Aurora Market—The veteran-owned organic market near Howard University is raising $250,000 to add staff, new equipment and working capital.
Style Bar DC—The Black-owned Dupont Circle neighborhood salon is raising $250,000 to expand its staff and marketing efforts.
Arepa Zone—The traditional Venezuelan eatery with 6 locations in DC is adding a 7th by raising $500,000 to fund construction and new equipment.
Zeleno—The healthy café plans to expand to a new DC location by raising $250,000 for construction and working capital.
Toolbox— The Pilates studio and event space is raising $250,000 to build a second location in Union Market.

“Aurora Market is known as ‘The Modern Mom & Pop Shop’ and we believe that the DC Rebuild Bond Program and the SMBX marketplace can help others raise the capital needed here and in other underserved communities, SMBX Small Business Bonds empower communities to support local, buy local, and invest local. It’s a win-win for all involved; DC improves the economy, small businesses remain open, and the community keeps their favorite places while earning a profit from their investment. Why donate, when you can invest?”

-Pablo Ortiz, founder of Aurora Market

Through the DC Rebuild Bond program, businesses can issue Small Business Bonds with no origination fees. Their customers and local investors can invest in their business by purchasing their Bonds for as little as $10 each and be repaid monthly principal and interest.* Since it was launched in September 2021, thirteen (13) businesses have raised over $1.3 million in investments, with more small businesses joining the program and investors buying Small Business Bonds daily.

"Our partnership with SMBX is a valuable tool that allows residents to invest in our local businesses, It is so important for small businesses to have access to funding, specifically entrepreneurs of color, and SMBX provides a viable option to convert customers to investors."

-Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio

SMBX is the Small Business Bond marketplace that connects qualified small business owners with everyday investors. By issuing a Small Business Bond, businesses can borrow money from existing customers and their community at competitive rates, raising the funds needed to expand their business.

SMBX was founded by Ben Lozano, Chief Executive Officer; Bhavish Balhotra, Chief Technology Officer; and Jackie Chan, Chief Operating Officer. They created the SMBX marketplace and the Small Business Bond after the SEC implemented Title III of the JOBS Act in 2016, making it easier for people to invest in startups and small businesses as non-accredited investors.

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FINANCE, SMALL BUSINESS TRENDS

VISTAPRINT, THE BOSTON CELTICS SHAMROCK FOUNDATION AND NAACP ANNOUNCE NEXT ROUND OF $1M POWER FORWARD SMALL BUSINESS GRANTS

Vista | September 16, 2022

Today, VistaPrint, the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation, and NAACP announced the next cohort of recipients from the Power Forward Small Business Grant. The grant program, now in its third iteration, focuses on creating lasting impact for Black-owned small businesses across New England. Select applicants will receive $25,000 in grant funding and the tailored design and marketing support they need to expand their existing businesses and achieve long-term success.The latest group of grant recipients includes 14 New England-based small-businesses across industries including food and beverage, retail, healthcare, tech, and more. Each business selected was identified as having a meaningful impact on their community and demonstrated a clear vision its use of the funding. Recipients of the Power Forward Small Business Grant were notified with a mix of surprise in-person and virtual visits from Boston Celtics players JD Davison and Derrick White, Celtics Vice President of Player Development and Organizational Growth Allison Feaster, Assistant Coach Aaron Miles, and the team's beloved mascot, Lucky. From Vista, Cliff Skeete, Global ECD; Michael Buckley, Senior Director, Sports Marketing; and Erin Shea, Head of North America Marketing, were also present at the surprise notifications. "It's an honor to work with the Boston Celtics and NAACP to build a truly unique grant program that serves some of the most vibrant and visionary Black-owned small businesses in New England,Our program doesn't only provide funding, but also offers support to recipients, providing individualized marketing and design services that ultimately help our small businesses grow. This third deployment marks the final round of our $1 million fund – and we can't wait to see the full results of our grant program in action." Erin Shea, Head of North America Marketing at Vista In total, following this most recent and final round of the program, more than 1,700 small businesses applied from more than 500 areas across New England. Among these applicants, over one-third of the businesses had less than $25k in annual revenue and 57 percent were female.Providing funds and critical resources for minority-owned businesses is one of the many ways we seek to create lasting change in the community," said Allison Feaster, Boston Celtics United Co-Lead and Celtics Vice President of Player Development and Organizational Growth. "Through the Power Forward Small Business Program, we hope to alleviate some of the barriers and obstacles these businesses face and support them while they pursue their passions. Building Black business is synonymous with building Black power. For far too long, our Black small business owners have been shut out of the opportunities necessary to ensure financial freedom, and the growth and prosperity that it affords, said NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson. "Providing Black businesses with the investments they deserve is a vital component of our continued efforts to promote community growth and close the racial wealth gap. NAACP is proud to be making entrepreneurial visions a reality through this critical initiative. We salute our partners in this effort, the Boston Celtics and VistaPrint for their investment in, and commitment to building Black power. With our corporate partners invested in our future, there is nothing we can't achieve. In June 2021, VistaPrint and the Boston Celtics announced the first group of the Power Forward Small Business Grant recipients designed to make a lasting impact on local business throughout New England. The launch of the grant was the first collaboration within this partnership, an initiative of Boston Celtics United for Social Justice. In January 2022, the two partnered with NAACP to announce the second round of recipients along with a shared commitment of $1 million. About Vista Vista is the design and marketing partner to millions of small businesses around the world. As a global, remote-first company, Vista has a growing footprint with team members working in more than 25 countries. For over 20 years we've been inspired by small businesses and we work incessantly to deliver solutions to their evolving needs. Together, VistaPrint, VistaCreate, and 99designs by Vista represent a full-service print, digital and design solution, elevating small businesses' presence in physical and digital spaces and powering them to achieve success. Vista is a Cimpress company ( Nasdaq: CMPR). To learn more, visit vista.com. About the Boston Celtics A charter member of the Basketball Association of America (which evolved into the National Basketball Association) since 1946, the Boston Celtics have won a record 17 NBA Championships, including eight (8) in a row from 1959-1966, winning their first title in 1957 and their most recent in 2008. The Celtics have long stood for equality, and respect, including hiring the first African American Coach and starting the first all Black starting five. In addition, 35 former Celtics players, management or staff have been inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. In December 2002 the team returned to local ownership for the first time since 1963.

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SMALL BUSINESS TRENDS,INDUSTRY OUTLOOK

DBS named 'World's Best SME Bank' by Euromoney for second time

DBS | July 18, 2022

DBS has been recognised as the 'World's Best SME Bank' yet again, entrenching the bank's position as a global industry leader in partnering SMEs to grow and expand their businesses across borders and digitally. DBS' latest global best SME bank accolade comes from leading UK-based financial publication Euromoney, which has honoured DBS with the 'World's Best SME Bank' title for the second time since 2018. Louise Bowman, Editor of Euromoney, said: DBS has applied its customary digital innovation to the SME space with great success. This is not just a Singapore story: DBS has more than half of its SME book outside of its home base, and our review period was characterised by impressive growth in India, Southeast Asia and China. Since the start of the pandemic in early 2020, DBS has tapped on emerging technologies relentlessly to help SMEs, especially micro and small enterprises, manage their credit risk. DBS has developed algorithmic models powered by artificial intelligence and advanced data analytics that alerts the bank to potential signs of trouble faced by SMEs. With these capabilities, DBS was able to successfully identify over 95% of non-performing SME loans at least three months before the businesses started experiencing credit stress. Of these, over 80% of borrowers accounting for more than SGD 700 million in loans were averted from risk. As a result of its robust credit processes, since 2020, DBS has approved over 16,300 collateral-free loans totalling more than SGD 7 billion to SMEs in Singapore, with over 90% of the loans going to micro and small enterprises. "We are honoured and thrilled that Euromoney has chosen to recognise DBS as the World's Best SME Bank once again. We are encouraged that our commitment to support our customers and the SME community through thick and thin has been recognised. As SMEs emerge from the pandemic, they are walking into intensifying macro-economic headwinds, geopolitical tensions and supply chain turmoil. In all operating environments, we will continue to partner our SMEs to proactively manage their cashflow and liquidity needs while cheering them on to keep up the momentum of their digital transformation and business expansion journeys." -Joyce Tee, Group Head of SME Banking, Euromoney also awarded the World's Best 'Financial Innovation of the year' to DBS' Fixed Income Execution (FIX) Marketplace, Asia's first automated digital bond issuance platform where issuers can directly connect with investors on the platform at their sole discretion. Launched in 2021, FIX Marketplace aims to propel efforts to create a more efficient and accessible capital market through digitalisation, thereby creating more inclusive and accessible markets for issuers. Bowman said, "FIX Marketplace was a classic example of DBS not just waiting for the future to come but helping to design it. FIX Marketplace is an important step in the digitalisation of the capital markets. DBS also won another two first-time awards – it was named Asia's Best Bank for Wealth Management, beating established global private banking peers; and Hong Kong's Best Bank, dethroning a bank with an extensive global network which had won the award for 21 consecutive years. Bowman added, DBS achieved strong profit growth in Hong Kong as the established names experienced sharp falls. Groupwide investment in digital, and some sensible decisions around sector exposures, have paid off for the bank while others have struggled. In 2021, DBS bagged a record number of global accolades, including many first-time wins. Global wins included 'World's Best Bank' and 'World's Best Digital Bank' from Euromoney, 'Global Bank of the Year' and the global award for 'Most Innovative in Digital Banking' from Financial Times publication The Banker, and 'World's Safest Commercial Bank' from New York-based Global Finance. About DBS DBS is a leading financial services group in Asia with a presence in 18 markets. Headquartered and listed in Singapore, DBS is in the three key Asian axes of growth: Greater China, Southeast Asia and South Asia. The bank's "AA-" and "Aa1" credit ratings are among the highest in the world. Recognised for its global leadership, DBS has been named "World's Best Bank" by Euromoney, "Global Bank of the Year" by The Banker and "Best Bank in the World" by Global Finance. The bank is at the forefront of leveraging digital technology to shape the future of banking, having been named "World's Best Digital Bank" by Euromoney and the world's "Most Innovative in Digital Banking" by The Banker. In addition, DBS has been accorded the Safest Bank in Asia" award by Global Finance for 13 consecutive years from 2009 to 2021. DBS provides a full range of services in consumer, SME and corporate banking. As a bank born and bred in Asia, DBS understands the intricacies of doing business in the region's most dynamic markets. DBS is committed to building lasting relationships with customers, as it banks the Asian way. Through the DBS Foundation, the bank creates impact beyond banking by supporting social enterprises: businesses with a double bottom-line of profit and social and/or environmental impact. DBS Foundation also gives back to society in various ways, including equipping communities with future-ready skills and building food resilience.With its extensive network of operations in Asia and emphasis on engaging and empowering its staff, DBS presents exciting career opportunities. For more information, please visit www.dbs.com.

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INDUSTRY OUTLOOK

Avalara Partners with Xero to Automate Sales Tax for Small Businesses

Avalara | August 25, 2022

Avalara, Inc, a leading provider of cloud-based tax compliance automation for businesses of all sizes, today announced a new partnership with Xero, the global small business platform, that will provide accountants, bookkeepers, and small businesses with a new sales tax automation solution. The new partnership will bring advanced sales tax workflows and management directly into the Xero platform, enabling advisors and business owners to automate sales tax calculations, reporting, and filing.With more than 13,000 sales and use tax jurisdictions in the U.S., managing and reporting sales tax can be a complex and resource-intensive burden for small business owners. Recent research found that small businesses with up to five employees spend an average of 163 hours or $17,672 each month on sales tax compliance. The partnership will allow Avalara and Xero to build an integration solution that automates the sales tax compliance journey from within the Xero platform, which allows accountants and small businesses to more easily manage sales tax calculation and reporting. Avalara’s expansive tax content database and sales tax calculation engine improves the accuracy and streamlines the management of ever-changing taxability rules and rates. Meanwhile, Xero provides the ability to apply the correct tax treatment to invoices and simple, state-based reporting. "We know people don’t start their small business to be buried in tricky admin. Our new partnership with the experts at Avalara, we can automate compliance work and give small businesses and their advisors a simple, efficient, and beautiful experience to meet their tax obligations so they can focus on growing their business, Anna Curzon, chief product officer at Xero. Looking forward, accountants and businesses will benefit from additional sales tax functionality from across Avalara's suite of products, including e-filing options and more detailed reporting tools. “Sales tax continues to change and become more complex, especially for small businesses. We want to make it as easy as possible for these businesses to have access to automated solutions so they can focus on running their business,” said Sanjay Parthasarathy, chief product officer at Avalara. “By partnering with Xero, we are able to inject Avalara’s tax compliance expertise and technology directly into a leading global accounting platform for a convenient way for businesses to manage sales tax. This partnership will also support accountants by automating the management of changing tax rates and rules, and providing validated data to process returns for clients.” This partnership with Xero illustrates Avalara’s commitment to embedding compliance into experiences for our partners. Earlier this year, Avalara announced new tools and APIs to expand opportunities for partners to build compliance integrations and functions. The partnership was announced at Xerocon New Orleans, where Avalara and Xero provided attendees the first opportunity to sign up for closed-beta trials, which will be available next year to a limited number of users. To keep up to date with the latest partnership developments, please click here. About Avalara Avalara helps businesses of all sizes get tax compliance right. In partnership with leading ERP, accounting, ecommerce, and other financial management system providers, Avalara delivers cloud-based compliance solutions for various transaction taxes, including sales and use, VAT, GST, excise, communications, lodging, and other indirect tax types. Headquartered in Seattle, Avalara has offices across the U.S. and around the world in Brazil, Europe, and India.

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