SMALL BUSINESS TRENDS

TriNet Launches Connect 360 to Serve Small and Medium-Size Businesses

TriNet | February 11, 2021

TriNet, a main supplier of comprehensive human assets for small and medium-size businesses (SMBs), today announced the wide market launch of Connect 360, an inventive HR administration model to address its clients' issues in the present everchanging and advancing business climate.

Connect 360 was made and actualized because of input from TriNet clients, industry information and profound examination. The outcome is an essential business part intended to give TriNet's SMB clients immediate and quick admittance to particular HR specialists, all day, every day visit and customized account the board so they can more readily oversee HR matters with speed, certainty and information.

"The needs of our customers continue to evolve—and this is happening more rapidly than usual in an unpredictable business environment," said TriNet Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Olivier Kohler. "We are committed to putting the customer at the center of all we do and developing the right solutions to address their most pressing needs. With this in mind, we created Connect 360 to offer businesses the agility, velocity and personalization they need as they continue to strive for success in the face of so many challenges."

TriNet launched a beta variant of Connect 360 in November in light of clients' requirement for quicker goal, and immediate and fast admittance to HR arrangements and vital specialists.

"Our beta launch allowed us to gain valuable insights and increase optimization from our customers that allowed us to further refine our service model," said Kohler. "Today, we are excited to announce the official launch of Connect 360 for our valued customers."

About TriNet

TriNet (NYSE: TNET) provides small and medium size businesses (SMBs) with full-service HR solutions tailored by industry. To free SMBs from HR complexities, TriNet offers access to human capital expertise, benefits, risk mitigation and compliance, payroll and real-time technology. From Main Street to Wall Street, TriNet empowers SMBs to focus on what matters most—growing their business.

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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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FINANCE

OneConnect Inks New Strategic Partnership Agreement with Chengfang Financial Technology

OneConnect | January 10, 2022

OneConnect Financial Technology Co., Ltd. ("OneConnect"), a leading technology-as-a-service platform for financial institutions has today announced it has entered into a strategic partnership with Chengfang Financial Technology Co. Ltd., (abbreviated as "Chengfang Financial Technology"), a financial technology company established by the People's Bank of China ("PBOC"). Working with shared principles of equal collaboration, joint development, honesty and trustworthiness, both parties will work together to address common pain points in the financial industry, deliver technological innovations, and enhance data processing and governance. Under the agreement, OneConnect and Chengfang Financial Technology will harness cutting-edge technologies -- including AI, cloud computing and big data -- to explore new applications for data privacy technology in bank surveillance systems, promote the introduction and sharing of new data standards, and identify the financial data collaboration and circulation models needed by businesses to meet the requirements for secure cloud computing. In addition, the two parties will carry out research and development in areas such as secure computing technology, blockchain, and graph data; as well as nurture and cultivate new FinTech talents for the future. "This partnership with Chengfang Financial Technology is a significant step forward for OneConnect. China's digital banking sector has continuously remained at the forefront of digital transformation, and technology is at the core of its integrity and innovation. As a FinTech B2B business, OneConnect upholds its responsibility to promote the development of the financial services sector. Together with Chengfang Financial Technology, we will continue to adhere to our ongoing mission: to develop and empower the industry with our unique combination of professional expertise and technology, in order to build a new way forward for digital banking." Wangchun Ye, Chairman of OneConnect A subsidiary of PBOC, Chengfang Financial Technology is entrusted with the construction, operation, and maintenance of the digital banking system for China's central bank. The company performs resource scheduling and operation management for PBOC's network and data centers, and operates its data transfer management platform to provide the entire system with services ranging from network communications and infrastructure to systems maintenance and data transfer. Its partnership with OneConnect promises to accelerate the digitalization of China's banking sector, and cements OneConnect's position as a leader in digital financial development. As the world's leading technology-as-a-service platform for financial institutions, OneConnect harnesses cutting-edge technologies to improve efficiency and services for banks, government agencies and exchanges, while also reducing costs and minimizing risk. OneConnect helps providers accelerate digital transformation across four key pillars: the construction of a digital ecosystem, the cultivation of green finance, the integration of the Greater Bay Area, and the continued development of the FinTech sector. In addition to its partnership with Chengfang Financial Technology, OneConnect has established strategic alliances with the China Securities Regulatory Commission's Technology Supervisory Bureau, Insurance Asset Management Association of China, and China Insurance Asset Registration and Trading System Co., Ltd. The company has also successfully implemented major FinTech projects around the world, including the Hong Kong Stock Exchange's FINI IPO settlement platform, Singapore Stock Exchange's ESG platform, a corporate financing platform for small to medium-sized enterprises in the Guangdong province, Hong Kong's trade finance linkage platform, Guangxi Province's cross-border digital finance platform, the Hainan Provincial Financial Supervisory Bureau's smart integrated financial services platform, and more. OneConnect has also been aggressively exploring and leading the development of privacy computing in recent years, leveraging its advantages in privacy computing technology and cooperation practices. The company has won China Merchants Bank's bid for the "Privacy Computing Platform Interoperability" project, and the two companies will begin working together closely to build China's first multi-party cross-heterogeneous privacy computing platform. The project will be applied to financial scenarios such as financial risk control, anti-fraud, and blacklist query. By collaborating on this platform, both parties will jointly activate the full potential of big data and boost customer business value on the basis of meeting regulatory data privacy protection regulations. Looking ahead, OneConnect plans to continue exploring new partnerships with domestic and foreign organizations, government agencies and financial exchanges; strengthen its technological innovation and IP protection; and improve its R&D capabilities in technology in order to accelerate the digitalization of the global financial services sector.

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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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FINANCE

Crossroads Systems to Acquire Leading Small Business Lender, Fountainhead

Crossroads Systems Inc. | December 17, 2021

Crossroads Systems, Inc., a holding company focused on investing in businesses that promote economic vitality and community development, announced today that it has reached an agreement in principle to acquire Fountainhead, a leading national, non-bank, direct commercial lender specializing in business financing for small to midsize businesses. Founded by some of the most experienced and accomplished Small Business Administration (SBA) lenders in the industry, Fountainhead finances the growth of small business borrowers, in addition to working with referral partners at community banks, credit unions, and others through their industry-leading referral program. The Fountainhead team has collectively been involved in financing over $28 billion in total projects throughout their careers by providing SBA 7(a), SBA 504, and low loan-to-value (LTV) conventional loans across all 50 states and US territories. Fountainhead's SBA products provide capital to deserving small businesses through the SBA 7(a) program. Additionally, their SBA 504 and conventional loan programs provide low leveraged loan opportunities with up to 65% LTV first lien commercial real estate loans on owner-occupied/operated properties. Over the past nearly two years, Fountainhead has also operated at the forefront of providing aid to support America's small businesses through the SBA's Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) effort. Since the inception of the program, Fountainhead has closed and funded nearly 300,000 PPP loans, becoming the nation's sixth most active PPP lender in 2021 alone. "Our acquisition of Fountainhead, a national SBA and major PPP lender, allows us to further diversify our small business product mix and offer more financing solutions to even more deserving businesses across the country. This combination, when added to our existing partnerships with Enhanced Capital Group and Rise Line Business Credit, two other leading nationwide lending firms, will enable us to capture additional SBA loan business which fit perfectly within our growing pipeline of small business opportunities. On behalf of our entire organization, I'd like to formally welcome Fountainhead to the Crossroads family." Eric Donnelly, CEO of Crossroads Fountainhead Founder and CEO, Chris Hurn added: "We could not have found a better partner to help us expand our mission of providing the smartest, fastest financing possible to owners of every well-run small to mid-sized business in America. We're looking forward to working alongside the Crossroads team over the coming months and years to make that a reality." This agreement was unanimously approved by the members of both Crossroads' and Fountainhead's Boards of Directors. The deal remains subject to the consent of and final approval by the SBA and is expected to close in the first half of 2022. Additional terms have not been disclosed. Fountainhead is one of only 14 nonbank lenders approved to make SBA 7(a) loans under its Small Business Lending Company (SBLC) license. Additionally, Fountainhead has one of SBA's Preferred Lender Partner (PLP) designations, which roughly 10% of participating SBA lenders earn. The PLP is the highest level of approval and status that a lender can hold, offering full delegation of lending authority. About Crossroads Systems, Inc. Crossroads Systems, Inc. is a holding company focused on investing in businesses that promote economic vitality and community development. Crossroads' subsidiary, Capital Plus Financial (CPF), is a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and Certified B-Corp, which supports Hispanic homeownership with a long-term, fixed-rate single-family mortgage product. About Fountainhead Fountainhead SBF and Fountainhead Commercial Capital (collectively, "Fountainhead") is a nationwide, non-bank, direct lender specializing in the SBA 7(a), SBA 504, and low LTV (<65%) conventional commercial real estate loans.

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