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Three entrepreneurs share how they used a $10,000 grant and free courses through Small Business Digital to grow their businesses in amazing ways.
Verizon Small Business Digital Ready Grant
Small Business Digital Ready is dedicated to helping small businesses thrive in the digital economy. As part of that initiative, and in partnership with national community development nonprofit LISC, small business owners are offered the opportunity to apply for $10,000 in small grants per business. By 2022, Small Business is committed to funding more than $1M in grants specifically for Digital Ready users. Here, three of them share how they used their funds to grow their businesses in unique ways – and apply new learnings from Digital Ready courses.
Next Level Networking In The Digital Business World
Ahmed and NC Moghaddam (left) are the owners of ASM Educational Center in Rockville, Maryland, with their daughter Ajita (right) and son Hamed (right). Credit: Tania Fernandez
After immigrating to the U.S. from Iran, Ahmad and NC Moghaddam founded ASM Educational Center (ASM) in 1992 with their son and daughter, who grew up in Rockville, MD. Since then, the family business has trained more than 38,000 IT professionals, as well as other technical skills. “We are proud of our heritage and the opportunity to help so many people,” Ency said. Due to the pandemic, the center’s clients contracted and transferred their in-person courses to virtual instruction. Ajita Moghaddam, chief customer officer and daughter of NC and Ahmed, actively helped transform the business when she applied for the Digital Ready grant. Q. How does the grant support ASM? A. Actually, that win was great and confirmed for us that we are on the way. In addition to the grant, we also put some capital into our general operations to maintain a customer-facing office and increase teacher salaries. ASM is now planning new levels of success and expanding important programs including career skills training for Afghan refugees. Q. Are other digital ready resources helpful in ASM? A. I have taken several courses covering income generation activities, buying channels for MWBEs and business plans. After completing the course Planning for the Unexpected: Building Resilience in Your Business I experienced a mental shift. I am now even more excited to embrace the future and accelerate the continuity plan for the family business. Q. What would you say is the key to making a family business work? A. Love and support each other unconditionally and know that we are truly living our motto of changing lives through education. That’s why we work every day and my 89-year-old father continues to work to inspire all our students, especially our youth.
Jaza Chen and Devin Lee launched their premium dumpling and boba tea company Cha Community in 2018. The business is based in Waco, Texas and focuses as much on building community as it does on creating delicious products. Chen and Lee were in the middle of opening their second cafe when the pandemic hit, encouraging Chen to finish the grant. Q. How has the pandemic affected the opening of your new location? A. Initially things went according to plan. But as construction costs increased, we realized that more funds were needed to complete the project. Q. How has the grant benefited the Cha community at that time? A. The grant was a game changer for our small business. We faced challenges in navigating the COVID-19 federal relief dollars and limited cash flow as a result as the pandemic put pressure on our business. With the help of the grant, we were able to build our Boba Tea Cafe in Temple, Texas without taking on additional debt. That’s the help needed to cover construction costs and keep the project going. We successfully launched in March 2022. Q. How is business? A. Downtown Temple has really welcomed us and supported us a lot. Our current focus is on growing catering and food truck pop-up events throughout the community we are involved with. We are also increasing leadership development within the company and plan to grow the Cha community throughout Central Texas.
Top Federal Small Business Grants In The Us
Joe Alvarez (left) and Eric Casillas (right) are co-owners of iCareClean in Los Angeles, California. Source: Miguel Alvarez
Joe Alvarez and Eric Casillas launched iCareClean in 2016 in Los Angeles, CA. In just six years, they grew the office cleaning business from one client to over 100 and expanded the operation to include cleaning services. The pandemic has caused difficulties for entrepreneurs as client offices have been closed and the need for cleaning has decreased significantly. Fortunately, Alvarez and Casillas worked with LISC, where they both gained new business skills and also learned about Small Business Digital Ready. Alvarez applied for and received a $10,000 grant. Q. How did the grant help your company during the pandemic? A. When the pandemic hit, we had to change our thinking. After taking the courses and getting the grant, we invested in our digital marketing strategy. Our approach is getting more Google ads in online search results, as well as on social media. Q. What is the impact of your digital marketing investment? A. Search engine promotion allows our business to rank in various neighborhood related searches. This resulted in 20 more customers. The company is aiming to hit $3 million in revenue this year. Q. What does success mean to you and your family? A. Owning a business and caring for and encouraging the growth and development of my two sons means everything. My daily affirmation to them is to love, serve and forgive greatly. Always stay focused and have integrity. Small Business Digital Ready offers free personalized courses, live coaching, networking, micro mentorship and grant opportunities for qualified small businesses. To sign up for this free program, click here.
This article profiles Zaja Chen and husband Devin Lee, founders of a premium boba tea and dumplings company in the Cha community of Waco, Texas.
Verizon Small Business Digital Ready Program
Earth Day is April 22 – the perfect opportunity to celebrate this beautiful planet we call home. It’s time to get outside and volunteer to create a cleaner, greener world. Verizon’s Small Business Program recently released information on its latest round of grant funding. The grant program is in partnership with LISC and through which Verizon awarded $1 million in small business grants for Small Business Digital Ready 2023.
To be eligible for grants, you must first participate in Verizon Small Business Digital Ready. It’s free.
With VSBDR, you not only get access to courses, live coaching sessions led by industry experts and other resources, but you can also apply for a special pool of $10,000 small business grants.
Women’s Business Center Events
To open an application for the current round of funding, register with Verizon Small Business Digital Ready, complete a combination of two courses, mentoring activities and community events, and apply by May 12, 2023.
Last year we reached out to Brianna Ellison, director of community engagement for Verizon, as part of our initiative to bring the Verizon Small Business Digital Ready program to entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners. He explained some of the program’s marketing tools, one-on-one mentoring and other aspects that help small businesses throughout Michigan and the Great Lakes region.
Verizon actively partners with small businesses in Michigan. We are members of several statewide chambers of commerce and associations that work with small businesses (such as Detroit Regional Chamber, Grand Rapids Chamber, Dearborn Chamber, The Right Place, MI Chamber, Automation Alley, Metro Detroit Black Business Alliance, MI). Business Incubator Assoc.). Verizon engages in many thought leadership activities with these organizations to share expertise and resources with their membership.
Verizon Business Announces Grants To Hispanic Small Business Owners
In 2021, we are hoping for a grant from the Veterans Entrepreneurship Lab at Grand Valley State University. Veterans and/or military spouses work on their business startup for a three-month period. MVE-Lab equips participants to identify their target customers, network with others, and find the resources necessary to launch a profitable and successful startup. It culminates in a pitch showcase offering at least $25,000 in prize money. Guests included other seasoned entrepreneurs, consultants and experts such as attorneys and marketing experts, including the leader of Verizon’s veteran employee resource group who shared information about Verizon’s support for small business owners with his own personal experience as an entrepreneur.
In 2021, we are also establishing a partnership between Verizon’s Pro Bono Program and the Metro Detroit Black Business Alliance’s Capital Connection Program. This program prepares and connects metro Detroit block-owned businesses with a variety of funding sources to ensure their continued success. If any of these businesses require additional legal assistance or one-on-one support, the Verizon Pro Bono Program team agrees to work directly with these businesses to identify additional legal services. .
Finally, in September, Verizon launched Small Business Digital Ready. It is online
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