Amex GBT Launches Spend Management Tool for Small Businesses in the U.K.

American Express Global Business Travel | July 03, 2020

American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) has developed a new service enabling small businesses to manage travel, office purchases and cash flow on a single platform. Neo1 for the first time integrates Amex GBT with office expenditures for supplies — including Amazon Business purchases — and utilities in one location, according to a report in Business Travel News. The service will roll out first in the U.K. Designed for owner-managed businesses, Neo1 also provides a view of corporate card spending plus employee reimbursements, eliminating the need to import separate payments.

Spotlight

While social entrepreneurs play an increasingly important role in driving social and economic empowerment in developing regions, practice-related academic work that supports their operations is hard to find. We struggled with this at Siemens Stiftung when we embarked on our own operational projects in Eastern African countries, and found many social entrepreneurs in the global south facing the same challenges.


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TECHNOLOGY

SparkCognition's Award-Winning Cybersecurity Solution Providing Zero-Day Protection Now Available in Lenovo's Small Business Store

SparkCognition | February 02, 2022

SparkCognition, a global leader in artificial intelligence (AI) software solutions for business, announced its award-winning AI endpoint protection product (EPP) solution, DeepArmor, is now available in the LenovoPRO Small Business Store. "We are proud to work with Lenovo to bring our AI-enabled cyber solution to a broader range of small business users, helping them to detect and prevent even the most sophisticated zero-day cyber threats," said Vijay Doradla, President at SparkCognition. "The Deep Armor technology, based on advanced machine learning models, can help prevent never before seen cyberattacks, even while working offline, requiring less than four megabytes of space for deployment." A new cyberattack occurs every 39 seconds, putting businesses at risk of being compromised, shut down, and ransomed. SparkCognition developed DeepArmor as the first line of defense to prevent cyber threats at the edge. Built on proven AI and machine learning (ML) models, rather than rules, heuristics, and specific signatures, DeepArmor helps to prevent malware from accessing sensitive data, taking operational control, and compromising asset integrity, blocking known and new ransomware, trojans, and viruses. Its endpoint protection works both online and off, and installs and activates within minutes, without needing IT support or security skills. "Two in five small to mid-sized businesses were impacted by ransomware in 2020, with 43% lacking any type of cybersecurity defense. Extending our AI expertise and trusted and tested cyber solutions to Lenovo's small business customers is just one way we're able to work together to serve businesses in further protecting their endpoints." Marc Davis, Senior Director of Business Development at SparkCognition Lenovo is a leading OEM in cybersecurity that takes a secure-by-design approach to embed security features throughout the entire lifecycle across device components, ranging from hardware and below-the-operating-system, all the way to the cloud layers. By working with software providers like SparkCognition, Lenovo is able to offer its customers more solutions to further protect their data privacy, intellectual property, strategic investments, and customers. About SparkCognition SparkCognition's award-winning AI solutions allow organizations to predict future outcomes, optimize processes, and prevent cyberattacks. We partner with the world's industry leaders to analyze, optimize, and learn from data, augment human intelligence, drive profitable growth, and achieve operational excellence. Our patented AI, machine learning, and natural language technologies lead the industry in innovation and accelerate digital transformation. Our solutions allow organizations to solve critical challenges—prevent unexpected downtime, maximize asset performance, optimize prices, and ensure worker safety while avoiding zero-day cyberattacks on essential IT and OT infrastructure.

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IMPACT

LegalShield’s Enhanced Small Business Service Empowers Aspiring Entrepreneurs at Launch

LegalShield | February 23, 2022

The entrepreneurial spirit is stronger than it has been in decades as more people have decided to create their own business during the pandemic. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 5.4 million new business applications were filed in 2021, surpassing the 2020 record of 4.4 million. At the same time, small business formation requires a significant amount of legal paperwork which can be difficult to navigate alone. Those seeking to start a small business can greatly benefit from a service that’s affordable and provides personal legal support to help to manage every step of the process. To provide a solution, LegalShield, the leading provider of membership-based legal services and identity theft protection plans, has enhanced its Launch by LegalShield service to simplify the business formation process. From launch phase to growth phase and beyond, professional lawyers seamlessly support and assist aspiring entrepreneurs with all their legal needs. “Starting a business can be stressful and complicated, especially if you’re doing it alone or relying on a DIY solution. LegalShield supports founders every step of the way with a dedicated law firm as they form their business. Let us take care of all the legal details in launching your business, and then support you with a personal and business legal plan for 90 days so you can focus on making your dreams become a reality.” Jeff Bell, CEO of PPLSI Launch by LegalShield’s network of provider lawyers and law firms acts as a concierge service and brings value and support to critical business steps including: Entity formation to review and complete the paperwork needed to successfully form an LLC or corporation including protecting personal assets, opening bank accounts, completing contracts, hiring employees, and securing business licenses and permits. Additionally, to understand how the business will be taxed and advise of any legal liabilities that could result in financial ramifications. Business name check to ensure the chosen business name is legally available and doesn’t infringe on other business registrations. Business startup consultation to discuss business goals and form the LLC. Tax ID/Employer Identification Number (EIN) that allows the IRS to recognize the business for tax reporting. An EIN enables access to open bank accounts and apply for credit under the business’ name. Worry-free filing through the designated lawyer who will prepare, review, approve, and submit all necessary paperwork to form the LLC. Registered agent services are available for purchase to those who need to focus on growing the business and need a trusted source to act as the Registered Agent for the business. About LegalShield A trailblazer in the democratization of affordable access to legal advice, counsel, protection, and representation, LegalShield is the world's largest platform for legal, identity, and reputation management services protecting individuals and businesses across North America. Founded in 1972, LegalShield, and its privacy management company, IDShield, has provided individuals, families, businesses, and employers with tools and services needed to affordably live a just and secure life. Through technology and innovation, LegalShield is disrupting the traditional legal system and transforming how and where people receive legal guidance and services, with access to thousands of qualified, trusted attorneys and law firms. About PPLSI A champion of equal access to justice and security, PPLSI has provided individuals, families, businesses, and employers with the tools and services needed to live a just and secure life for 50 years. Under PPLSI, our consumer brand, LegalShield, is disrupting the legal services industry by giving everyone the resources and tools to affordably find their justice. We are transforming the traditional way of receiving legal guidance and services and providing qualified, trusted attorneys and law firms in the palm of your hands. Our security brand, IDShield, specializes in privacy and reputation management and protects your online data and information.

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FINANCE

BayFirst Financial Corp. Launches LoanBud, a Nationwide Lender Focused on Serving the Self-Employed

LoanBud | April 21, 2022

BayFirst Financial Corp. announced that First Home Bank (d/b/a BayFirst Bank), its wholly-owned subsidiary, has launched LoanBud, a lending division designed specifically to serve self-employed homebuyers and small business owners across the U.S. LoanBud provides the option to qualify for a mortgage loan without tax returns and underwrites each self-employed borrower's income before providing a pre-approval letter. LoanBud also offers government-backed Small Business Administration (SBA) loans up to $5 million – making it a one-stop shop for entrepreneurs, freelancers and business owners looking to get the home and business financing they require. This division is the first of its kind for the Bank as it combines both residential and small business lending services, creating synergy between two typically separate lines of business. “As a nationwide lender focused on assisting those facing unnecessary challenges in their pursuit of financing, we are proud to now provide a comprehensive solution for self-employed individuals looking to buy a home or grow their business,” said Anthony N. Leo, CEO of BayFirst. “When it comes to residential mortgages, lenders don't thoroughly review self-employment income documentation up front and many self-employed homebuyers who receive a pre-approval letter are later denied a mortgage. As the future of work changes, more homebuyers are being impacted by lenders who base mortgage approval on tax returns only. LoanBud is proud to serve as a residential mortgage lender that gives self-employed homebuyers the tools and resources to make smart homebuying decisions and secure a mortgage, while also supporting their businesses through SBA lending.” More than one in three workers, 53 million people, are part of America’s independent workforce, according to a study from UpWork. In a new survey from LoanBud conducted by Pollfish, 53% of self-employed home buyers reported having trouble securing mortgage approval because of tax return requirements, with 63% saying they wished lenders offered additional qualification options. In addition, half of the survey respondents received pre-approval from a lender based on self-employment income information that was later denied. “LoanBud is solving two major problems for self-employed homebuyers seeking a mortgage. First, we offer the option to qualify using bank statements or 1099s instead of tax returns. Second, whether they use tax returns or alternative documentation, we underwrite each applicant’s income up front, giving our customers confidence that their loan will close once they find a home to purchase.” Burke Purcell, Director of LoanBud Business owners, freelancers and entrepreneurs face unique challenges seeking approval for a home loan because most banks still qualify people based on the net income reported on tax returns after deductions and write-offs. LoanBud offers more mortgage options, including qualifying using bank statements or 1099s instead of tax returns. Its lenders are trained to understand the income of self-employed borrowers seeking assistance with buying a home or obtaining a small business loan, saving them time and money. The launch of LoanBud further solidifies First Home Bank’s commitment to serving every member of the community as it positions the Bank to better support a wide range – and growing number – of self-employed professionals who might otherwise be denied access to the capital they need to realize the dream of home and business ownership. About LoanBud LoanBud is a division of First Home Bank. LoanBud’s mission is to become the number one lender in the country for self-employed people by providing mortgages and SBA-backed loans to entrepreneurs, freelancers, and small business owners. About BayFirst Financial Corp. BayFirst Financial Corp. (f/k/a First Home Bancorp, Inc.) is a registered bank holding company which commenced operations on September 1, 2000. Its primary source of income is from its wholly owned subsidiary, First Home Bank d/b/a BayFirst Bank, which commenced business operations on February 12, 1999. First Home Bank is a Federal Reserve member and a state-chartered banking institution. The Bank operates seven full-service office locations, 23 mortgage loan production offices and is in the top 25 by dollar volume and by number of units originated nationwide through the second quarter ended March 31, 2022, of SBA's 2022 fiscal year. BayFirst Financial Corp., through the Bank, offers a broad range of commercial and consumer banking services including various types of deposit accounts and loans for businesses and individuals. As of December 31, 2021, BayFirst Financial Corp. had $917.10 million in total assets.

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INDUSTRY OUTLOOK

Sherweb and RBC Team Up to Help Canadian Businesses Accelerate Digital Transformation

Sherweb | March 08, 2022

Sherweb, an award-winning cloud marketplace leader, announced today a collaboration with Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) to help Canadian businesses accelerate their digital transformation as part of RBC’s Go DigitalTM program. The past year has impacted businesses across Canada, with many struggling to adapt to new digital realities. Sherweb and RBC are committed to helping businesses manage their transformation journey with confidence, so they can increase their resiliency and continue to grow. "Sherweb’s objective is to simplify the cloud adoption process through a combination of expertise and a human approach to providing IT solutions. We help businesses better understand their investments, the opportunities available to them and overcome the barriers associated with going digital." Matthew Cassar, Sherweb’s co-CEO "With a network of thousands of IT professionals, Sherweb can help businesses overcome any obstacle. With competencies in every tech area from productivity to security, our extended partner network represents unmeasurable knowledge for businesses to tap into." The benefits of adopting cloud solutions are clear: increased efficiency, lower costs and improved competitiveness. Research from BDC shows that digitally mature businesses are 62% more likely to have high sales growth and 52% more likely to have greater profitability over time. Sherweb’s product portfolio and cloud expertise will allow RBC to scale out digital solutions rapidly and effectively for their Go Digital customers. This exclusive offer for RBC business clients supports all productivity, security and training needs, including industry-leading names such as Microsoft, Office Protect, Acronis, LogMeIn and QuickHelp. “The RBC Go Digital™ strategy makes it easier for our clients to gain access to digital expertise and the right technologies to meet evolving demands and grow their business, no matter where they are on their digital journey,” said Don Ludlow, VP Small Business, BFS Strategy and Partnerships at RBC. "We are pleased to introduce Sherweb as the newest Beyond Banking partner under the Go Digital banner. Sherweb will become an RBC strategic digital partner through their tailored support with business strategy, operational efficiencies and the very best cloud product and service solutions to help our clients with their evolving technology needs. I am looking forward to learning from Sherweb and sharing this partnership with our clients.” Digital transformation has never been more critical for business growth. Its importance is recognized by the Government of Canada through its Canada Digital Adoption Program, which is committed to helping SMBs adopt new technologies. Over the next four years, $4 billion will be provided to eligible businesses to access skills, training and funds to move into the digital age. About Sherweb More than 6,500 partners and 80,000 companies worldwide grow their business using Sherweb’s value-added services. We support our customers with business strategies, cloud services, operations and expertise. Whatever their business, we can help them reach their full potential by creating a tailored approach to their needs.

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Spotlight

While social entrepreneurs play an increasingly important role in driving social and economic empowerment in developing regions, practice-related academic work that supports their operations is hard to find. We struggled with this at Siemens Stiftung when we embarked on our own operational projects in Eastern African countries, and found many social entrepreneurs in the global south facing the same challenges.

Resources