Alberta small business confidence drops again in January, CFIB says

The Morinville News | January 31, 2020

Alberta’s small business confidence dropped 1.3 points in January to an index of 37.0, according to the latest Business Barometer results from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). Far behind the national average of 55.3 points, Alberta remains the province with the lowest business confidence in the country. The business organization considers an index score of 65 to 70 as indicative of a strong economy, both nationally and provincially. “Alberta small business confidence declined slightly in January 2020 compared to the large drops in November and December 2019,” said CFIB’s Alberta Policy Analyst Keyli Kosiorek. “This slight decline signifies that Alberta’s small businesses may be a bit more hopeful about the province’s economic prospects heading into 2020, but confidence still remains quite low. Rising costs, such as property taxes, the federal carbon tax and the health of the oil and gas industry continue to weigh heavily on small businesses.”

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So many times I’ve heard businesses - especially small businesses - say that social media just isn’t for them. It takes too much time. They’re not sure where to start or how to keep it going. And besides, they should be focusing on actually running their business - not just posting pictures online.


Other News
FINANCE

Wells Fargo Introduces Small Businesses to Alternative Options for Financing and Technical Assistance

Wells Fargo | April 25, 2022

Today, Wells Fargo announces the Small Business Resource Navigator, an online portal helping connect small business owners to potential financing options and technical assistance through Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) across the country. The portal was launched in collaboration with the non-profit Community Reinvestment Fund, USA, and was made possible by the Wells Fargo Open for Business Fund. By visiting www.bizresourcenavigator.com and completing a short questionnaire, small businesses may be connected to CDFIs or business advisory resources in their area. “As the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic persist, small businesses continue to need our help. We see a lot of value in supporting a resource like this to help small businesses connect to as many options as possible. The Small Business Resource Navigator connects small business owners to potential capital assistance provided by a CDFI who could help meet their needs, and serves as a major time saver for busy entrepreneurs allowing them to stay focused on their business.” Derek Ellington, head of Small Business at Wells Fargo Since 2015, Wells Fargo has provided more than $500 million in philanthropic grants and investments to CDFIs that help underserved small businesses. Ellington added, “We’ve long understood the impact of CDFIs. They are an important part of our financial ecosystem embedded in communities across America providing small businesses in need with capital and other assistance they may not otherwise qualify for through traditional financing. We are proud to expand our support of the work CDFIs do by helping route small businesses to these vital organizations for lending, technical assistance and support.” "Wells Fargo has been dedicated to helping small businesses for many years, but in particular, getting them through the current environment,” says Patrick Davis, SVP of Strategy with Community Reinvestment Fund, USA. "This support is extremely timely as it helps connect small businesses with CDFIs who can potentially provide them access to funding and resources that will help owners get back on their feet. CDFIs are an important part of the financial ecosystem and play a critical role in deploying capital to small businesses with a history of underrepresentation, and it's great to see that Wells Fargo is so committed to the success of small business across the U.S.” In 2020, Wells Fargo announced the Open for Business Fund, a roughly $420 million small business relief effort focused on small businesses hardest hit by COVID-19, including Black, African-American, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, women and many others. Grants were awarded to more than 235 CDFIs and nonprofits serving small businesses across the U.S. The Open for Business Fund is estimated to serve more than 152,000 small businesses and preserve or create more than 255,000 jobs. Roughly 85% of small businesses served by Open for Business Fund grantees are projected to reach racially and ethnically diverse entrepreneurs. Ann Finnegan, president of NDC Community Impact Loan Fund, an Open for Business Fund grant recipient and participating CDFI on the Small Business Resource Navigator network says, “We are excited for the opportunity to connect with more small businesses in need. This platform is an important tool to support our lending mission to minority and women-owned small businesses and non-profits.” About Wells Fargo Wells Fargo & Company is a leading financial services company that has approximately $1.9 trillion in assets, proudly serves one in three U.S. households and more than 10% of small businesses in the U.S., and is a leading middle market banking provider in the U.S. We provide a diversified set of banking, investment and mortgage products and services, as well as consumer and commercial finance, through our four reportable operating segments: Consumer Banking and Lending, Commercial Banking, Corporate and Investment Banking, and Wealth & Investment Management. Wells Fargo ranked No. 37 on Fortune’s 2021 rankings of America’s largest corporations. In the communities we serve, the company focuses its social impact on building a sustainable, inclusive future for all by supporting housing affordability, small business growth, financial health, and a low-carbon economy.

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MANAGEMENT

Nuula prioritizes small business owners' wellness with new app features

Nuula | May 18, 2022

Nuula, a fintech company focused on providing small businesses the tools and the capital they need to succeed, announced an initiative to help small business owners improve their overall mental and physical well-being. In partnership with Walnut, Nuula's new wellness feature gives small business owners access to life insurance, plus meditation programs and online fitness classes, all for as little as $9/month. Nuula's focus on the entrepreneur's well-being, in addition to business performance, was driven by insights into how personal stress is affecting small business owners, especially with the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic. A recent Capital One survey found that 45% of small business owners report that running a business during the pandemic has had a negative impact on their mental well-being, and 42% say they are currently experiencing burnout or have experienced it within the past month. "For a small business owner and entrepreneur, work and life are inextricably linked, which is why it is so important to provide support for both, Nuula is taking a new approach to small business financial services by focusing not only on the needs of the business but also on the needs of the small business owner." -Mark Ruddock, CEO at Nuula. Nuula's new health and wellness feature offers access to guided meditation, sleep guides, and mental focus programs through Headspace Plus and online fitness programs through ClassPass Digital. The programs are paired with $10k-$50k of Life Insurance to give small business owners peace of mind. The new feature sits atop of Nuula's existing portfolio of small business tools, including financial health tracking, cash-flow forecasting, 24/7 credit monitoring, as well as updates on rating and reviews, all available in the Nuula app. "Nuula is taking a forward-looking approach to the needs of small businesses, by embedding tools that match the holistic needs of its customers, Mental and physical health are paramount to entrepreneurial success. Walnut is proud to help Nuula empower business owners by allowing them to easily access health and wellness offerings within Nuula's existing ecosystem of critical financial tools." -Derek Szeto, Co-founder and CEO of Walnut Starting today, Nuula users can sign up for a health and wellness membership that includes group life insurance and subscriptions from ClassPass and Headspace. About Nuula Nuula is building the future of small business performance. Launched in 2021, Nuula is a financial services and technology company focused on serving the small to medium-sized business community. Nuula provides real-time data and analytics, allowing businesses to manage their finances, monitor their credit ratings and user reviews, and more. Nuula is an advocate of financial inclusivity and a proud partner to Kiva to create economic and social good. To learn more about Nuula, visit www.nuula.com About Walnut Founded in 2020, Walnut is a Canadian and US insurtech that has built infrastructure to enable multiple lines of embedded insurance for brokers, employers, and financial services coupled with value added benefits from international brands. Walnut's platform makes insurance simple and convenient – creating greater accessibility for underserved audiences. Learn more about Walnut at www.gowalnut.com/businesses.

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TECHNOLOGY

CIO Strategy Council and CyberCatch Launch Comprehensive, Cost-Effective Cybersecurity Solution Designed to Help Small and Medium-Sized Organizations

CyberCatch | March 30, 2022

CIO Strategy Council and CIO Strategy Council Member, CyberCatch, today jointly announced the launch of CAN/CIOSC 104 Compliance Manager, a comprehensive, cost-effective cybersecurity Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution for SMOs. CAN/CIOSC 104 is Canada's National Standard for Baseline Cyber Security Controls for SMOs. The Standard was published by the CIO Strategy Council with support from Standards Council of Canada (SCC) to help SMOs in Canada improve their cyber posture. The CIO Strategy Council is accredited by SCC and develops national standards for the digital economy to help propel Canada as a digital-first nation. "The Government of Canada recognizes that cybersecurity plays an integral role in building trust with consumers and keeping Canadian businesses competitive," said the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. "With cyber attacks on the rise, this new solution will support ISED's CyberSecure Canada program and our commitment to helping smaller businesses across Canada secure their systems and data to succeed in today's digital economy," continued Minister Champagne. "SMOs have limited resources and generally don't know what cybersecurity controls to implement or how to implement in order to be secure from cyber threats," said Keith Jansa, Executive Director, CIO Strategy Council. "We are pleased to have published CAN/CIOSC 104 in collaboration with Standards Council of Canada and Innovation, Science and Economic Development. The national standard is specifically tailored for SMOs and prescribes up to 55 cybersecurity controls to mitigate cyber risk while operating successfully in the digital world," continued Jansa. The CAN/CIOSC 104 Compliance Manager is a state-of-the-art cybersecurity SaaS solution, powered by CyberCatch, for SMOs in Canada to quickly and easily comply with CAN/CIOSC 104 and stay safe from cyber threats. The solution comprises of a tool-set to implement the necessary cybersecurity controls, with the help of a team of industry-leading cybersecurity experts. It also provides training to all employees and automatically and continuously tests controls to make sure there are no security holes for attackers to exploit and break in and steal data or infect ransomware. "The cloud-native platform solution makes it easy and inexpensive for SMOs to comply with CAN/CIOSC 104 and maintain compliance and security. Also, a team of industry-leading cybersecurity experts guide the SMOs to success. SMOs in Canada are definitely vulnerable. For example, the Small and Medium-Sized Businesses Vulnerabilities Report (SMBVR) revealed that 84% of SMOs in Canada are vulnerable to "spoofing" and can easily be attacked digitally. Our mission is to protect SMOs from cyber threats so they can be safe, thrive digitally and grow the economy." Sai Huda, founder, chairman and CEO, CyberCatch "We have been in business since 1912. We are now in a digital world and cyber threats are real. The CAN/CIOSC 104 Compliance Manager is a must-have so we can be safe from cyber threats and continue to be successful. Highly recommend the solution," said John Lake, Owner, Porcupine Advance Printers. "The CAN/CIOSC 104 Compliance Manager is a comprehensive and highly effective cybersecurity solution. Highly recommend it to any business to stay safe from cyber threats," said Arjun Grewal, CEO, Ventus Respiratory. About CIO Strategy Council The CIO Strategy Council is Canada's national forum that brings together the country's most forward-thinking chief information officers and executive technology leaders to collectively mobilize on common digital priorities. Cutting across major sectors of the Canadian economy – public, private and not for profit – the Council harnesses the collective expertise and action of Canada's CIOs to propel Canada as a digital-first nation. The CIO Strategy Council is accredited by the Standards Council of Canada and develops standards that support the data-driven economy. About CyberCatch CyberCatch is a unique cybersecurity Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company that protects small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) from cyberattacks by focusing on the root cause why SMBs fall victim: security holes. It provides an innovative cloud-based SaaS platform coupled with deep subject matter expertise to help SMBs implement just the right type and amount of cybersecurity controls. The platform then performs automated testing of controls from three dimensions: outside-in, inside-out and social engineering. It generates the Cyber Breach Score to continuously measure cyber risk, and finds security holes and guides the SMB to fix them promptly, so attackers can't exploit any missing or broken controls to break in and steal data or infect ransomware. CyberCatch's continuous value proposition: Test. Fix. Secure.

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FINANCE

Verizon partners with Mastercard and FNBO to launch small business credit card

Verizon Business | June 21, 2022

Verizon Business announced that it is teaming up with Mastercard and First National Bank of Omaha (FNBO) to launch a credit card designed to bring value to small business owners. In the coming weeks, existing Verizon Business wireless customers with less than 100 lines and an online account will be eligible to apply for the Verizon Business Mastercard®, which rewards purchases on everyday business expenses such as eligible office supplies, technology, fuel, and more. "Mastercard has been a key partner to us on our journey to help our customers of all sizes transform their businesses and ensure they are truly future-ready,” said Tami Erwin, CEO of Verizon Business. “We are pleased to expand this partnership to include FNBO and bring this small business credit card to our customers at a time when we know they are seeking new avenues to expand their business, manage costs and maximize their use of new technologies to solve challenges to drive growth.” Here is how it works: The Verizon Business Mastercard®, which is issued by FNBO, will allow small business owners who apply and are approved to earn and redeem Verizon Business Dollars toward devices or accessories for their business. Benefits and features of the card will include: Earn Rewards on Eligible Business Purchases*: Earn 5% back on Verizon purchases, like paying your Verizon bill or buying devices from Verizon, during your first billing cycle after account opening;1 3% back on Verizon purchases after your first billing cycle;1 2% back on eligible gas; electronic vehicle charging and office supplies;2 and 1% back on other purchases.3 Get More for Your Business: Earn Verizon Business Dollars on eligible business purchases and redeem them later toward new devices or a Verizon Business wireless bill. New Cardholder Bonus: Eligible Verizon Business customers who apply and are approved will receive $50 toward their credit card statement after their first purchase on the card* (maximum one bonus per business account). No Annual Fee4: The Verizon Business Mastercard® has no annual fee or foreign transaction fees.4 Fill Your Digital Toolbox: The Verizon Business Mastercard® features World Elite Mastercard for Business® benefits to help small business owners reach new audiences and grow their businesses, including access to Microsoft Advertising, Zoho Social and Zoho Marketing Pal.5 Assess Your Digital Footprint: Cardholders will have access to Mastercard’s Digital Diagnostic assessment and Digital Doors program, which provides always-on resources for small business owners to set up shop online, grow and manage their business, accept payments, and keep their business protected. Safe & Secure Payments Experience: The Verizon Business Mastercard® is contactless enabled. Upon approval for the card, cardholders can begin making purchases immediately online, in app, and at the point of sale after adding it to their mobile wallet. Experience Peace of Mind: The Verizon Business Mastercard® offers Mastercard ID Theft Protection™, Zero Liability6 and Price Protection, in addition to 24/7/365 Global Emergency Services.5 This new offering is the result of a multifaceted partnership between Verizon Business and Mastercard to help provide solutions for the global payments and commerce ecosystems. The global leaders continue to work together to couple Verizon’s 5G connectivity with the power of the Mastercard network. Today’s announcement complements Verizon’s network-as-a-service foundation and supports its core areas of growth and innovation across mobility, nationwide broadband, mobile edge computing and business solutions, the value market and network monetization. “Today’s small business owner is looking for smarter, relevant, and customized digital financial products that accelerate their operations and make their lives easier,” said Chiro Aikat, Executive Vice President, Products & Engineering, North America at Mastercard. “We’re proud to extend our relationship with Verizon and FNBO to connect the small business segment through meaningful technology and benefits.” “FNBO has a rich history of helping small businesses grow and succeed, so we are excited to partner with such a respected brand as Verizon on the launch of their first program for small business,” said Jerry J. O’Flanagan, Executive Vice President, Partner Segment at FNBO. To find out if your business is eligible to apply for the Verizon Business Mastercard® when it officially launches, visit http://verizon.com/business-mastercard-comingsoon. ABOUT VERIZON Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ) was formed on June 30, 2000 and is one of the world’s leading providers of technology and communications services. Headquartered in New York City and with a presence around the world, Verizon generated revenues of $133.6 billion in 2021. The company offers data, video and voice services and solutions on its award-winning networks and platforms, delivering on customers’ demand for mobility, reliable network connectivity, security and control. ABOUT FNBO First National Bank of Omaha (FNBO) is a leader in the credit card partnership arena, with partners in a variety of industries including retail, travel, entertainment, automotive, oil, nonprofits and more. For over 60 years, FNBO has specialized in providing comprehensive credit card programs with personalized service to help its customers achieve their goals. Visit card.fnbo.com for more information. ABOUT MASTERCARD (NYSE: MA) Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. Our decency quotient, or DQ, drives our culture and everything we do inside and outside of our company. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all. www.mastercard.com

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Spotlight

So many times I’ve heard businesses - especially small businesses - say that social media just isn’t for them. It takes too much time. They’re not sure where to start or how to keep it going. And besides, they should be focusing on actually running their business - not just posting pictures online.

Resources