SMALL BUSINESS ADVICE

Benzinga Announces Small Business Free Website Giveaway to Assist Economic Recovery Efforts

Benzinga | June 02, 2021

As lockdown restrictions are lifted in many locations across the country and throughout the world, small businesses everywhere are scrambling to keep up. Many people are still recovering from the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Benzinga, a fintech and financial news hub headquartered in Detroit, Michigan, is assisting small businesses in their economic recovery efforts with the Benzinga Small Business Free Website Giveaway.

To give back to the business community, Benzinga is giving a free website every month until the end of 2021. Each website is custom-built by a team of professional web developers, a service worth more than $5,000.

Businesses who were in existence in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic have or can obtain a domain name and are a professional service provider is eligible (e-commerce platforms do not qualify.)

Business owners can enter the giveaway by providing some basic information here. Businesses can enter as many times as they want, and Benzinga will notify one winner of their prize each month.

This giveaway celebrates the accelerating reopening of the American economy as COVID-19 rates fall, as well as the launch of the Benzinga Business portal, a valuable resource hub for small businesses of all types.

During the reopening phase, businesses can also benefit from the Benzinga Business portal. Busy entrepreneurs will find a hub well-stocked with B2B software, platforms, and other resources designed for small businesses when they visit the Benzinga Business site.

Whether you're looking for the best email marketing software to expand your reach or the best approach to build an online store, the Benzinga Business portal will make your reopening efforts go as smoothly as possible as we all work to return to pre-pandemic normalcy.

Benzinga will continue to support small businesses globally by increasing access to resources and providing other types of assistance similar to the Benzinga Small Business Website Giveaway.

Spotlight

Tamil Nadu has the second largest economy in India. As the most industrialized state of India, Tamil Nadu is also the most urbanized state. Service industry contributes to 45% of the economic activity in the state, followed by manufacturing at 34% and agriculture at 21%.


Other News
FINANCE

Mibanco Uses FICO Platform to Expand Microlending and Help Customers

Mibanco | March 21, 2022

Mibanco, the largest microfinance bank in both Peru and Latin America, has used FICO Platform’s Decisions Capability to boost its lending capacity and respond quickly to changing market conditions during the pandemic. The transformational project has reduced the time taken to put policy into production by 90 percent and cut annual IT development expenditure by 20 percent, allowing Mibanco to better serve thousands of its customers. “Mibanco’s goal is to expand access to credit for the unbanked or credit invisible,” said Sebastián Valera, risk transformation manager at Mibanco. “Annually we grant about 1.6 million loans worth about USD$3.7B to hundreds of thousands of people. These loans are often life-changing, allowing individuals to build businesses, access housing and education. We were seeking a tool with predictive analytic qualities that would accelerate and increase approvals, while qualifying consumers better, even the unbanked ones. FICO had the strongest offering that filled the brief.” Prior to the implementation, the entire credit flow, including the policies and various scores, was developed within the bank's core system. This meant when any lending changes were needed, software development within the core was required. “It could take anywhere between 3 to 12 months whenever credit risk wanted to make a change,” said Valera. “Requests went to IT, meetings were held, changes were prioritized by committee, technical documents prepared, development, testing and so on. As a result, we were lacking the agility we wanted and failing to extend microcredit to the largest number of consumers possible.” Mibanco needed to adopt a solution to make more precise, value-based decisions at the origination stage, enabling them to grow more profitable portfolios while managing customer-level risk. Mibanco implemented FICO’s technology in two stages. The first was to enable FICO® Platform - Decision Modeler to be connected directly to the core system, where the flow would be maintained. The second was to replace the core credit flow, used FICO® Originations Solution which is powered by FICO Platform. Over just six months, FICO worked with the Mibanco team to examine, adjust and migrate all the policies programmed into FICO Platform. Group policies were also added that could not be programmed in the past and by January 2020, 28 policies were put into production just as COVID-19 started to spread around the world. When the pandemic arrived, Mibanco was able to react quickly by having a highly flexible originations solution in place. The risk team rescheduled and froze repayments for USD$2.4 billion in loans to 720,000 borrowers and assisted approximately 267,000 customers with USD$785M of credit through government-sponsored programs to the MyPe segment (micros and small companies). Additionally, COVID forced Mibanco to adjust credit policies and the different scores it uses. Thanks to FICO Platform, Mibanco can make quick changes and assist its customers while ensuring that risk keeps within the company’s guidelines. “Lenders want to expand their market to include more new borrowers, but this segment of applicants poses a significant challenge to a lender’s ability to assess character, credit risk and verify the credit destination. Mibanco has modernized its ability to originate loans by harnessing the analytic and predictive power of FICO Platform. Financial inclusion has been a foundational area of focus for FICO and a key part of our ethos. We get great satisfaction out of helping lenders like Mibanco expand their offering to hundreds of thousands and bring them into the financial system.” Nikhil Behl chief marketing officer at FICO “Mibanco did a great job optimizing their decisioning process to drive more automation,” said Armando Junior, general manager, risk and compliance at Dock and one of the FICO Decisions Awards judges. “With an increased adoption of advance technology in microfinancing, lenders can reduce the operational costs and expand lending to thousands more people and at the same time grow their own revenue and opportunities in the market.” About Mibanco Mibanco is the leading microfinance financial institution in Latin America and the second largest player worldwide. In Peru, Mibanco has 23 years of experience working with the purpose of transforming people's lives, committed to their financial inclusion and progress. It has a loan portfolio of more than USD 3 billion, close to 1.6 million customers and more than 300 points of service throughout Peru. About FICO FICO powers decisions that help people and businesses around the world prosper. Founded in 1956, the company is a pioneer in the use of predictive analytics and data science to improve operational decisions. FICO holds more than 200 US and foreign patents on technologies that increase profitability, customer satisfaction and growth for businesses in financial services, manufacturing, telecommunications, health care, retail and many other industries. Using FICO solutions, businesses in more than 120 countries do everything from protecting 2.6 billion payment cards from fraud, to helping people get credit, to ensuring that millions of airplanes and rental cars are in the right place at the right time.

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FINANCE

OPay and Mastercard announce strategic partnership to grow cashless ecosystem and advance digital financial inclusion for millions

OPay & Mastercard | May 19, 2022

Fintech giant OPay and Mastercard today announced a strategic partnership, which marks a significant boost for wider financial inclusion and economic prosperity by opening up digital commerce to millions of people across Middle East and Africa. The collaboration enables OPay consumers and merchants in the region - including Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Pakistan, South Africa and the UAE - to engage with brands and businesses anywhere across the globe, thanks to a Mastercard virtual payment solution linked to the OPay eWallet. This partnership is the latest milestone in Mastercard's emerging market strategy where the technology company is collaborating with growing Fintech's such as OPay to expand access to digital payments, enable multiple lifestyle services, create new pathways to financial inclusion and support the next generation of super-apps. Consumers are increasingly looking for seamless user experiences on a single platform offering easier interactions to complete various day-to-day needs, including sending and receiving money, ordering food and groceries, organizing transport, lending, investing and listing items they wish to sell. In the initial phase of this partnership, OPay customers will benefit from the Mastercard virtual payment solution linked to their OPay wallets, to shop at well-known global brands for leisure, travel, accommodation, entertainment, streaming services and more. The service is available regardless of whether or not the customer has a bank account. It also allows small business owners to purchase from suppliers abroad and pay with the secure virtual payment solution. "At Mastercard, our innovation strategy is rooted in partnerships to support inclusion at scale. Our partnership with OPay demonstrates our commitment to supporting payments providers across the world to create an interconnected global payments ecosystem that benefits an array of consumers with unique needs." -Amnah Ajmal, Executive Vice President for Market Development, Mastercard EEMEA Yahui Zhou, CEO of OPay,said: As the leading fintech in the Middle East and Africa, we are delighted to be partnering with Mastercard as we continue on our journey to promote financial inclusion, helping to open up the global economy to more consumers and businesses across Middle East and Africa. Since its operations started in 2018, OPay's active users have grown to 15 million in dozens of markets in which it operates. The company processes millions of transactions per day on average. In Nigeria alone, where OPay takes significant market share, users have saved billions of US dollars in the last four years through credit-linked savings accounts from their mobile wallets and small loans from lenders that use its platform. Plans are in place to launch OPay services in other markets in the next three to five years, significantly driving the growth of digital inclusion and digital commerce, while at the same time widening OPay customer inclusion into the global economy. Mastercard has made a worldwide commitment to financial inclusion, pledging to bring 1 billion people and 50 million micro and small businesses – with a focus on 25 million women entrepreneurs – into the digital economy by 2025. About OPay: OPay is a fast-growing mobile payment fintech company. OPay has achieved significant growth in the past three years and has become one of the largest fintech companies in Africa and Middle East with a decent market share in key markets including Nigeria, Egypt, and Pakistan among others. OPay offers bespoke services to different clients in order to suit their needs; some of these services include offline payment, online payment, digital wallet service through AI and other fintech innovations. OPay boasts over 15 million registered wallet users, 600,000 merchants nationwide and surpassed $6 billion in monthly transaction value. About Mastercard Mastercard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com, 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.

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TECHNOLOGY

Dashlane Launches Small Business Campaign to Increase Security Awareness Among SMBs

Dashlane | May 06, 2022

In honor of World Password Day and Small Business Week, Dashlane, the leading credential and digital identity management company, today announced a brand campaign, Dashlane for SMBs, to increase awareness on the importance of making security simple for small and medium-sized organizations and their people. As part of the campaign, Dashlane is offering 30% off new accounts for Teams and Businesses from May 5 to May 19.Small and medium businesses are the backbone of this country, and often they may lack the IT resources or budget for enhanced security protocols. The pandemic has also shifted workers to remote or hybrid work. In 2021, according to our trend report, 71% of small businesses made some security changes, with 43% adopting new security policies, 40% increasing cybersecurity training, and 31% started investing in digital security tools like password managers. Dashlane’s Password Playbook for Small Businesses shows how small-business leaders can manage passwords to secure company and employee accounts and protect sensitive data—all while improving productivity. The company released initial findings on trends regarding the future of secure work for small businesses, in anticipation of their launch of a full report later this month. We want to empower leaders to create a culture of security, where employees understand their role in protecting data and are active participants in ongoing security conversations,” said Dashlane CEO JD Sherman. “It is key for SMBs to identify, measure, and mitigate cybersecurity risks and have the tools they need to maintain good security habits without trading simplicity for convenience. “Dashlane is passionate about making security simple for small and medium sized businesses, Cybersecurity is now a standard part of doing business and unfortunately, SMBs are even more susceptible to online threats. We will continue to serve as a trustworthy partner to this community, providing the necessary tools and information for them to protect their walls, gates, and human behavior.” -Dhiraj Kumar, Dashlane CMO. Launching this summer, Dashlane’s Domain-based Dark Web Monitoring capability - called Dark Web Insights - will continue their mission in supporting threat management for businesses by helping them identify breaches that could impact their organization. For more on Dashlane’s campaign, visit the Dashlane blog. About Dashlane Dashlane is a tool that simplifies password management for people and businesses. We empower organizations to protect company and employee data, while helping everyone easily log in to the accounts they need—anytime, anywhere. A better digital future starts with secure access. Our team in Paris, New York, and Lisbon is united by a strong sense of community and passion for improving the digital experience. Over 15 million users and 20,000 businesses in 180 countries use Dashlane for a faster, simpler, and more secure internet.

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MARKETING AND NETWORKING

Tailwind Acquires Replier.ai, Adding AI Capability to Help Marketers Break Writer's Block + Write Better Copy

Tailwind | March 31, 2022

Tailwind, a leading small business marketing software platform, has acquired Replier.ai, a software platform that helps marketers generate custom replies and content with AI, in order to expand its team, products and customer base. Replier.ai joins Tailwind as the company's 6th acquisition to-date. Tailwind is backed by Pilot Growth Equity out of San Francisco and New York. As the Tailwind team explored opportunities to help users create AI-driven marketing copy, Replier surfaced as a strong partnership candidate. However, as the two teams came to know each other better, they recognized an opportunity to create greater value for small businesses by joining forces. "Tailwind is committed to helping small business owners accomplish their marketing effectively and easily." Tailwind Co-Founder and CEO, Daniel Maloney "The copywriting power of Replier.ai is truly remarkable. We can't wait to incorporate that functionality across the Tailwind marketing system to empower our members to put their best foot forward in all of their content." Replier's vision to help small businesses generate high-quality customized content using AI-driven technology complements Tailwind's strategy to make world-class marketing easy for everyone. With this shared vision Tailwind will be one step closer to offering a complete marketing suite that helps small business owners take control of their marketing in less time. "For a company whose members are as diverse as ours, being able to tailor AI to the specific needs of each customer's brand is critical - but also a meaningful technical challenge," says Will Washburn, Tailwind VP of Engineering. "The Replier.ai team had made great strides in that direction and we're excited to work together to fully realize that vision." About Tailwind Launched in 2015, Tailwind is a leading small business marketing platform that helps entrepreneurs, creators, sellers and marketers plan, create and execute world-class marketing campaigns across digital marketing platforms including Email marketing, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Tailwind is rapidly shifting the status quo that marketers should expect from marketing software by integrating what would normally be separate stand alone tools into one cohesive system, with the goal of enabling small businesses to be effective omni-channel marketers within their unique needs.

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Spotlight

Tamil Nadu has the second largest economy in India. As the most industrialized state of India, Tamil Nadu is also the most urbanized state. Service industry contributes to 45% of the economic activity in the state, followed by manufacturing at 34% and agriculture at 21%.

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