SMALL BUSINESS TRENDS

Woligo Collaborates with Assurity Life to Offer Online Disability Insurance to Self-Employed Workers and Small Business Owners.

Woligo, Assurity Life | June 29, 2021

Woligo with Assurity Life offers disability insurance in their line of personal income protection products with a digital application and underwriting process. Woligo's platform provides variety of insurance, benefits, banking, and retirement solutions to independent workers and small business owners.Individuals can easily obtain a personalised quote for disability insurance and complete a secure online application process in 10-15 minutes.

About Woligo
Woligo is designed for self-employed professionals, small business owners, and anyone else who oversees their own destiny and that of their business. We help you find stability while preserving the freedom and flexibility of your work-life world by matching you with insurance, benefits, banking, and retirement solutions. We are a member of the Cameron Group, which also includes INSURICA, First Fidelity Bank, American Fidelity, and other companies.

About Assurity Life
Assurity is working hard to make the insurance business simpler – and more human – by listening, demonstrating that we care, and providing customers with financial protection and invaluable insurance products. We are a mutual organisation with the mission of assisting people in difficult times. We can take the long view when it comes to keeping our promises because we dedicate ourselves to the community, the environment, and using our business as a force for good.

Spotlight

Emergency savings can help your business survive unexpected crises. John Howie, a SCORE mentor from our Southern New Jersey Chapter walks you through the steps you should take to build an emergency fund for your small business.


Other News
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

Castlelake and Chesswood Announce Forward Flow Purchase Agreement for Equipment Loan and Lease Receivables

Castlelake | March 17, 2022

Castlelake L.P. ("Castlelake"), a global alternative investment manager with 17 years of experience investing in asset-rich opportunities, and Chesswood Group Limited, a specialty finance company with 40 years of experience in the commercial equipment finance market, today announced an agreement for the forward purchase of diversified equipment loan and lease receivables originated by Chesswood subsidiaries Pawnee Leasing Corporation and Tandem Finance Inc. Through the agreement, vehicles managed by Castlelake will acquire up to $400 million of small ticket equipment loan and lease receivables. The funds from the forward flow agreement are expected to enable Chesswood's subsidiaries to continue growing originations alongside market demand by providing off-balance sheet funding for loan originations. "We are pleased to partner with the management of Chesswood, Pawnee and Tandem as they continue to expand their well-established equipment financing footprint with small and medium-sized business across the U.S.," said Armin Rothauser, Partner, Lending at Castlelake. "We believe this agreement enables us to help meet the need for capital in a growing market, support the continued growth of an experienced market participant and provide interesting exposure to our investors." "The industry consolidation that has taken place over the past decade in U.S. small and mid-size equipment finance has created a unique growth opportunity for both Pawnee Leasing and Tandem Finance. Castlelake's expertise in equipment finance and focus on asset-rich, cash-flowing opportunities make them an ideal partner for the Chesswood Group of Companies." Jeff Fields, Chief Executive Officer of Chesswood Capital Management "We are excited to announce this transaction as we continue to grow our equipment finance volumes in the United States. This agreement expands on our strategic initiatives which seek to diversify revenue and earnings streams for Chesswood Group," said Ryan Marr President & CEO of Chesswood Group. Castlelake's specialty finance experience spans more than $3 billion of investments across more than 3,500 commercial and industrial loans and over 5 million consumer receivable accounts. The Chesswood team has originated and serviced equipment loan and lease contracts across the credit spectrum through multiple credit cycles, including the global financial crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic. About Castlelake, L.P. Castlelake, L.P. is a global alternative investment manager focused on investments in real assets, specialty finance and aviation. Founded in 2005, Castlelake manages approximately $21 billion of assets. The Castlelake team comprises more than 200 experienced professionals, including 89 investment professionals, across six offices in North America, Europe and Asia. About Chesswood Group Limited Through three wholly-owned subsidiaries in the United States and five subsidiaries in Canada, Chesswood Group Limited is a North American specialty finance company publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Colorado-based Pawnee Leasing Corporation, founded in 1982, finances a highly diversified portfolio of commercial equipment leases and loans through relationships with over 600 brokers in the United States. Tandem Finance Inc. provides commercial equipment financing in the U.S. through the equipment vendor channel.

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FINANCE

River City Federal Credit Union Enhances Small Business Lending for Financially Underserved, Supported by Compliance Systems, Hawthorn River and IMM

Compliance Systems | May 11, 2022

Compliance Systems, the financial industry’s leading provider of modern digital and dynamic compliance documentation, announced that River City Federal Credit Union has selected Compliance Systems to automate and streamline its lending processes with embedded compliance. Compliance Systems is working with Hawthorn River and IMM to provide the credit union with a digital-first banking platform at no cost for its employees and members, including local businesses and community organizations.San Antonio, TX-based River City FCU is certified as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and is a designated Juntos Avanzamos credit union. The organization is committed to providing safe, affordable financial services and products to everyone, including communities that have been historically underserved and are financially vulnerable. During the pandemic, River City FCU identified a gap in small-business lending in financially underserved communities and sought to provide a more inclusive process. “Like many financial institutions in our community, we have passed along small business lending opportunities because we didn’t have the compliance capabilities to process loan transactions, As financial institutions increasingly focus on serving the underserved, they must consider investing in technology to address the needs of small businesses. By partnering with Compliance Systems, Hawthorn River and IMM, we are now able to stand behind our mission of 'people helping people,' providing seamless access to loans to the most vulnerable businesses in our community.” -Jeff Ivey, president and CEO of River City FCU. With help from Compliance Systems, the credit union now has the technology to automate compliance processes for business lending, generating documents faster and boosting turnaround rates for quicker funding. In collaboration with Hawthorn River and IMM the credit union is also able to eliminate disjointed technologies and error-prone spreadsheets, get its bankers a more efficient lending solution that addresses complex operational issues, and provide an enhanced, more modern e-signature experience that reinforces members’ trust in their financial institution. “Enabling community financial institutions like River City FCU to help connect financial services to groups who are often underserved is one of the reasons we built our innovative compliance technology. River City FCU is highlighting a need for credit unions to rethink business lending and community engagement, and we are proud to work with them to make our solution available to them at no cost. Credit unions that continue expanding their digital strategies will be the ones to not only maintain a central role in their communities but also build and maintain relationships with members that otherwise may have been left behind,” -Chris Appie, president of Compliance Systems. About IMM For 25 years, IMM has been the premier provider of eSignature and Digital Transaction solutions designed exclusively for financial institutions. Today, more than 1,500 banks and credit unions use IMM’s eSignature and Digital Transaction Management solutions across the Institution to elevate consumer experiences while streamlining back-office processes in a comprehensive, end-to-end digital processing environment. About Hawthorn River Hawthorn River is community banking software designed by community bankers. From streamlining the end-to-end lending process to automating specific steps along the way, Hawthorn River helps community banks increase productivity, reduce regulatory risk and elevate the borrower experience. For more information, please visit www.hawthornriver.com. About Compliance Systems Compliance Systems is the financial industry’s leading provider of digital and dynamic compliance content. Its technology effectively enables deposit, IRA, and loan transactions with configurable content that supports business flexibility and operational efficiency. With more than 29 years’ experience with financial documentation, Compliance Systems supports more than 1,500 banks and credit unions. For more information, please visit www.compliancesystems.com.

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BUSINESS STRATEGY

FreshBooks Expands With Invoicing Starter Plan for New Zealand Small Businesses

FreshBooks | May 26, 2022

FreshBooks, a cloud-based accounting software provider, announced that it is expanding its invoicing software offering to meet the needs of New Zealand small businesses. This includes the creation of a new starter plan and competitive pricing packages with unique pricing, set in NZ currency. “FreshBooks recognizes the depth and breadth of small businesses across New Zealand. We’re excited to help local owners impress their clients and get paid faster with our competitive new starter plan and invoicing software, FreshBooks is listening to the passionate small business owners in New Zealand by making it easier for them to digitize their invoicing.” -Dragana Ljubisavljevic, SVP of International Markets at FreshBooks The expansion in New Zealand arrives as small business owners look for invoicing software that is intuitive and simple to use. FreshBooks is different because it’s built exclusively for small businesses, making it easier to stay on top of invoicing. The company’s new starter plan in New Zealand lets businesses: Send 2 invoices per month to up to 2 clients Collect online payments without invoicing Track unlimited expenses Get paid with credit cards via Stripe & PayPal Access their account from anywhere on iOS and Android devices All pricing packages are being offered at new competitive rates. The expansion in New Zealand builds on FreshBooks securing $130M in funding, bringing its valuation to over USD $1 Billion. With a mission to reach more customers in more countries around the world, FreshBooks also acquired German-based FastBill to strengthen global expansion plans. Learn more about FreshBooks here. About FreshBooks FreshBooks is changing the way business owners manage their books. Its owner-first accounting platform, loved by businesses in over 160 countries, takes an easy-to-use approach to managing finances, billing, payments, and client engagement. FreshBooks, known for its 10x Stevie award-winning customer support, serves customers of all sizes from offices in Canada, Croatia, Mexico, Germany, Netherlands, and the US.

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Spotlight

Emergency savings can help your business survive unexpected crises. John Howie, a SCORE mentor from our Southern New Jersey Chapter walks you through the steps you should take to build an emergency fund for your small business.

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