SMALL BUSINESS TRENDS

Intuit Announced Small Business Hero Day to Celebrate Heroic Efforts

Intuit QuickBooks | April 26, 2022

Small Business Hero Day
Intuit declares May as Small Business Success Month for the second consecutive year. The month will feature various activities, including a Town Hall with the United States Small Business Administration and the launch of a new celebration day on May 31: Small Business Hero Day.

Alex Chriss, EVP and GM, Small Business & Self Employed Group at Intuit, said, “Every day, millions of small businesses across the U.S. serve their customers, strengthen their communities and play a critical role in powering our economy. Through Small Business Success Month, we are excited to celebrate the incredible impact small businesses have in our communities and continue to support them on their journey with the resources they need and the recognition they deserve.”

Small Business Hero Day Contest
Nominations for the Intuit QuickBooks and Mailchimp Small Business Hero Day Contest are now available through 11:59 p.m. PT on Friday, May 6. Any resident of the United States of America aged 18 or older may nominate a small business in the United States for a chance to receive $20,000 for heroic actions that benefit an individual or community.

Small Business Success Month Activities
Along with Small Business Hero Day, Intuit QuickBooks and Mailchimp will give additional tools to the small business community and celebrate the success of all small companies throughout May. Among the supporting programs are the following:
  • Town Hall with the Small Business Administration
  • Educational Ask the Expert
  • Scrapbook of Success

Spotlight

When a customer asks you for a quote, they're giving you a golden opportunity. This video covers how to write a quote for a job so you can close the deal quickly and win new business. A price quote is a call to action. It’s a formal document that explains your pricing for a job or order, and gives your customer a clear cost for the work. When a customer asks you for a quote, it means they're seriously considering doing business with you. The quotation process might seem like an unnecessary formality, but it isn't. New business is won or lost at this stage, so it's important to get it right.


Other News
FINANCE

Lenovo Awards $100,000 in Grants to Minority-Owned Small Businesses Across Ontario

Lenovo | February 09, 2022

Today, Lenovo announced the ten Ontario-based recipients of its Evolve Small grant program aimed at providing relief to Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour-owned (BIPOC) small businesses navigating the challenges and impact of COVID-19. Issued in partnership with the Toronto Region Board of Trade (TRBOT), each small business will be awarded a CAD $10,000 grant. In addition, Lenovo is providing educational programming to all TRBOT member businesses, to help accelerate their digital adoption. Throughout the two-month application window, TRBOT received a total of 203 small business applicants that met eligibility requirements. All applications were reviewed by a panel of experts from TRBOT and grant recipients were selected based on their ability to demonstrate their business’s equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives and their completion of one or more of TRBOT’s Recovery Activation Program (RAP) streams, an online support and education program designed to help businesses adapt to a more digital world during and after the pandemic. TRBOT launched its Recovery Activation Program (RAP) to help Canadian small businesses adapt to the increasing need for digital adoption that was accelerated by COVID-19. By focusing on attracting customers, improving supply-chain efficiencies, managing workforces virtually, and streamlining costs, RAP provides a comprehensive toolkit to support the long-term success of Toronto’s small business community “As the pandemic continues to impact us all, we recognize that small businesses, and especially minority-owned small businesses, have been hit the hardest and need support to survive and thrive. We hope that the funding provided through the grant program with the Toronto Region Board of Trade will provide relief to some of the businesses who have been impacted the most, and we look forward to seeing how these funds are used to innovate and build for the future.” Colin McIsaac, Vice President and General Manager, Lenovo Canada “The submissions we received show a remarkable range of engaged, passionate women and BIPOC entrepreneurs,” said Leigh Smout, President of the World Trade Centre Toronto. “Each of these grants, which Lenovo has made possible, will allow the recipients to grow their business and, in turn, their already-significant contributions to our regional economy and communities. We are proud to be associated with Lenovo and these amazing business leaders.” About Lenovo Lenovo is a US$60 billion revenue Fortune Global 500 company serving customers in 180 markets around the world. Focused on a bold vision to deliver smarter technology for all, we are developing world-changing technologies that power (through devices and infrastructure) and empower (through solutions, services and software) millions of customers every day and together create a more inclusive, trustworthy and sustainable digital society for everyone, everywhere. About Toronto Region Board of Trade The Toronto Region Board of Trade is one of the largest and most influential chambers of commerce in North America and is a catalyst for the region’s economic growth agenda. Backed by more than 13,500 members, we pursue policy change to drive the growth and competitiveness of the Toronto region, and facilitate market opportunities with programs, partnerships, and connections to help our members succeed – domestically and internationally.

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SMALL BUSINESS TRENDS

Sustainable Earth Launches the Small Business Sustainability Awards

Sustainable Earth | April 23, 2022

Sustainable Earth, a collaboration between Arizona State University (ASU) and Wells Fargo, has announced the launch of the Sustainable Earth Small Business Awards (SESBA) to celebrate the innovative solutions small businesses throughout the US are developing to support their communities and the planet. The program will award more than $50,000 in prize money, with individual award amounts up to $5,000, to 15 US small businesses making strides toward a more sustainable future. The award program, which is seeking nominations now through July 1, 2022, is open to any US-based small business and its employees who demonstrate innovation in sustainability. This can include, but is not limited to, the use of renewable energy, water conservation, waste reduction, creating closed-loop systems, increasing equity and accessibility, etc. Solutions may be in development or currently in practice. “The collective efforts and innovative solutions by small businesses and individuals within those organizations are making a profound impact on the future of our earth and communities. Our goal with the Sustainable Earth Small Business Awards is to celebrate those taking action in big and small ways and share their stories so that it may trigger ideas for other businesses and leaders.” Sustainable Earth Program Manager Katelyn Armbruster, M.Ed. Businesses with fewer than 500 employees are invited to share their sustainability stories via video or podcast. Nominations must include a description of the challenge, what solutions were tested and implemented, and what worked, what didn’t, and the outcomes. “Small businesses have long been the backbone of our economy and they have become integral to moving the needle on sustainability,” said Alicia Marseille, Interim Deputy Director, Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Service. “This award program honors their hard work and dedication, and perhaps more importantly, will also serve as inspiration for other small businesses wanting to implement sustainability, but may not know where or how to start.” About Sustainable Earth Sustainable Earth, powered by ASU, is a sustainability-, knowledge- and idea-sharing website created to empower individuals, businesses and educators to contribute to a more sustainable tomorrow. The platform provides sustainability information, news and education presented in an approachable format, and includes sustainable-focused micro-courses, educational tools and learning activities, and new research coming out of ASU and other institutions. Sustainable Earth is a collaborative effort, funded by Wells Fargo and developed by Arizona State University (ASU). For more information, visit sustainable-earth.org. 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 the leading middle market banking provider in the U.S.

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FINANCE

Velocity Financial, Inc. Acquires Majority Interest in Century Health & Housing Capital

Velocity Financial, Inc | December 29, 2021

Velocity Financial, Inc., a leading provider of small balance investor loans, today announced it has acquired a majority stake in Century Health & Housing Capital (“Century”). Founded in 1992, Century is a licensed “Ginnie Mae” issuer/servicer that provides government-insured Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage financing for multifamily housing, senior housing and long-term care/assisted living facilities. Century originates loans through its borrower-direct origination channel and services the loans through its in-house servicing platform, which enables the formation of long-term relationships with its clients and drives strong portfolio retention. Century issued $158 million in unpaid principal balance (UPB) of loans for the 11 months ended November 30, 2021, and manages a servicing portfolio in excess of $500 million in UPB. Transaction Highlights: Expands growth opportunities via new products for Velocity’s broker network Capital light, fee-based business diversifies revenue and enhances return on equity Immediately accretive to EPS and ROE with minimal book value impact Stable and durable MSR income due to long term loan characteristics Substantial organic growth opportunity by leveraging Velocity’s national origination footprint Century’s government-insured product focus acts as a natural hedge through market cycles Longer-term opportunity to further expand the product suite The Century acquisition expands Velocity’s commercial mortgage product offerings through growth in a new channel and the ability to offer new products to Velocity’s broker network. The addition of Century is expected to be immediately accretive to Velocity’s earnings with minimal impact to tangible book value. The transaction also diversifies Velocity’s revenue with fee-based origination and servicing income which generates strong returns on capital and is durable through market cycles, in addition to providing the opportunity for Century to leverage Velocity’s technology-driven platform to broaden their Northeast-focused origination footprint. “The entire Century team is pleased to be joining Velocity’s family and we look forward to realizing the opportunities this transaction offers to both companies. Velocity’s national footprint and operational capabilities will significantly expand our ability to grow customer relationships and origination volume.” Kyle Perry, Century’s Chief Executive Officer “We are very excited to partner with a proven leader in Kyle and accelerate the growth of the Century platform in this important lending segment. We believe the long-term demographic trends will be a strong tailwind for the healthcare lending area in particular,” said Chris Farrar, President and Chief Executive Officer. “The ability to offer government-insured products to our brokers will drive incremental origination growth and enables further expansion of our product menu in the future.” About Velocity Financial, Inc. Based in Westlake Village, California, Velocity Financial, Inc. (NYSE: VEL) is a vertically integrated real estate finance company that originates and manages investor loans secured by 1-4 unit residential rental and small commercial properties. Velocity originates loans nationwide across an extensive network of independent mortgage brokers it has built and refined over 17 years. About Century Founded in 1992, Century provides government-insured mortgage financing for the multifamily housing industry, senior living and long-term care facilities and hospitals. Century is an approved Federal Housing Administration (“FHA”) mortgagee and Governmental National Mortgage Association (“Ginnie Mae”) issuer/servicer, including approvals for FHA Multifamily Accelerated Processing (MAP) and LEAN healthcare lender programs. Century also acts as financial advisor for non-FHA insured transactions and will assist in arranging Bridge-to-HUD financing. Century is a relationship driven lender that not only originates, processes, underwrites and funds its own loans, but also services its loans during both the construction and permanent loan stages – enabling it to form long term relationships with clients. Century’s mission is to provide its clients with personalized, responsive, and professional service while focusing on their immediate financing needs and long-term goals.

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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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Spotlight

When a customer asks you for a quote, they're giving you a golden opportunity. This video covers how to write a quote for a job so you can close the deal quickly and win new business. A price quote is a call to action. It’s a formal document that explains your pricing for a job or order, and gives your customer a clear cost for the work. When a customer asks you for a quote, it means they're seriously considering doing business with you. The quotation process might seem like an unnecessary formality, but it isn't. New business is won or lost at this stage, so it's important to get it right.

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