Man Crush Monday: Carl Guardino

Join us in celebrating MWBEzone’s Man Crush Monday! This week’s business leader is Carl Guardino, President and CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG), a public policy business trade association. SVLG represents more than “400 of Silicon Valley’s most respected employers on issues, programs and campaigns that affect the economic health and quality of life in Silicon Valley, including energy, transportation, education, housing, health care, tax policies, economic vitality and the environment” (svlg.org).

The Silicon Valley Leadership Group was originally founded by David Packard of Hewlett-Packard in 1978 and generates over $3 trillion in revenue every year. Guardino served as Vice President of the company from 1991 to 1995 and became the CEO of the group in 1997. As the association’s Chief Executive Officer and a member on the California Transportation Commission, Carl Guardino is fully committed to fulfilling SVLG’s mission: “to engage CEOs and Senior Officers, who compete in a global economy – in proactive, positive efforts that strengthen Silicon Valley and America’s competitiveness for the Innovation Economy and benefit the employees, families and communities in which our Member Company employees live and work” (Kimberly Ellis, Senior Vice President of Communications and Marketing).

In addition to improving the quality of life, Guardino and SLVG are dedicated to educating business leaders of tomorrow through their 13 Women and Girls Leadership Summits held at 13 underserved middle schools throughout California, interacting with over 3,000 young women. This fall, the association will provide its first Young Men’s Leadership Summit in East San Jose.

The point is simple yet stunning – it is hard to overcome adversity. Too many low-income kids go to school hungry, have language barriers, are raised by single parents, are confronted by crime and may have inadequate or over-crowded housing.

Kids need – and deserve – to meet successful adults with shared experiences that they can emulate. They need you, and me, as role models and mentors. (Carl Guardino, President and CEO of SLVG)

A shout out to you, Carl Guardino, for improving the quality of life for youth and societies in everything you have done and will continue to do:

  • Co-creating the Housing Trust Silicon Valley, helping 25,000 people afford housing
  • Founding the annual Thanksgiving Day Applied Materials “Silicon Valley Turkey Trot,” raising almost $7 million for local charities
  • Establishing “Heart and Soles 5K,” placing salad bars in Silicon Valley public schools

Libby Hikind, founder and CEO of GrantWatch and MWBEzone, is also committed to empowering business leaders of tomorrow and improving the quality of life in underserved neighborhoods. Check out our ever-expanding inventory of current funding opportunities for grants that will help children and communities meet their full potential.

Grants for and Youth

Grants to USA Children and Youth for Community Service Projects

Grants ranging from $250 and $1,000 to USA children and youth ages 18 and under for a wide range of self-initiated community service projects. There are no predetermined focus areas for this grant; rather, individuals can apply for funding to support any community benefit project that they are passionate about.

Deadline: 10/01/17


Grants to USA Nonprofits for Human Services, Individuals with Disabilities, and Youth

Grants ranging from $2,500 to $5,000 to USA nonprofit human services organizations working with youth and individuals with disabilities.

Deadline: 08/16/17


Grants to USA Nonprofits to Engage Students in Educational STEM and Energy Projects

Grants of up to $25,000 and grants of up to $50,000 to USA nonprofit organizations for programs that provide students with the opportunity to learn about current and future energy challenges. Students in grades 6-12, college, or university will engage in educational projects that will enhance their understanding of science and technology, and inspire them to think differently about energy.

Deadline: 10/01/17


Quality-of-Life Grants

Grants to USA Nonprofits and Agencies to Address Low-Income Housing Health Risks

Grants to USA nonprofit organizations and government agencies to improve community health and well-being by addressing risks associated with low-income housing. Primary emphasis is placed on improving health equity for individuals residing in low-income neighborhoods, and enhancing health for whole communities.

Deadline: Ongoing


Grants to USA, Canada, and International Nonprofits for Water, Recycling, Health, and Education Programs

Grants to USA, Canada, and International nonprofits for programs that encourage healthy and sustainable communities. Programs may fall in the areas of community recycling, water stewardship, education, and healthy living. Funding is intended to improve the quality of life in the communities where the funding source does business.

Deadline: Ongoing


Grants to USA Nonprofits for Research and Projects on Early Childhood Development and Health

Grants to USA nonprofit organizations for research and development projects that focus on the development, health, education, safety, and quality of life of children, infancy through age seven.

Deadline: 09/29/17

About the Author: Kayli Tomasheski is a Copy Editor for MWBEzone.

Sources:

Woman Crush Wednesday: Featuring Joi Gordon

GrantWatch and MWBEzone were specifically looking for an organization to crush on for Woman Crush Wednesday that has a strong history of empowering women in the workforce. What better nonprofit to choose than Dress for Success, currently led by Joi Gordon.

Joi left her legal career to take over for founder Nancy Lublin, who started Dress for Success in 1996 with a $5,000 inheritance from her great-grandfather Max. Nancy turned his gift into one that is still giving and empowering women today.

Read Libby's interview with Executive Director Joi Gordon and then check out GrantWatch's grants and MWBEzone's grants specifically geered towards women and female empowerment. 


How is Dress for Success still carrying on its original vision/mission and how has it diverged with the times?

This year, Dress for Success celebrates 20 years. We have grown from a tiny operation in a basement of a church in Manhattan to an international organization that has served over one million women, with affiliates in 150 cities across 26 countries. As an organization, we have grown and transformed along with our women to offer a full continuum of services that goes far beyond the suit. Our programs offer women the tools they need to achieve our original mission for all women to become economically independent and to thrive in their lives and communities.

Most recently in collaboration with FedEx, we launched The Career Hub, an innovative digital platform, which will provide access to online learning and workforce development resources for women through their computers or smart phones. This program evolution will enable clients and affiliates of Dress for Success to interface with a high-quality educational resource coupled with shared access to opportunities. Now more women will have the option to access our courses remotely and from the comfort of their own homes. The Career Hub will continue to evolve with Dress for Success as it provides a pathway to bolster affiliate programmatic implementation and execution, enrich the professional development of all of its members, include industry-specific career mapping, descriptions of career opportunities on a job board, postings of up-and-coming webinars, employment vacancies and skill-based training classes.

When we look to the next 20 years, we see that journey continue to evolve so that each and every woman can achieve her fullest potential. We are about opening doors and creating opportunities. We still have more work to do, and it will take all of us working together to realize our vision and achieve our mission.

What 1, 2 or 3 accomplishments of your time at Dress for Success are you most proud?

I am most proud of the 1,000,000 women that have come through our doors and have found their own paths to success. The majority of the women we serve are single moms, so in reality I’d say 3,000,000 children’s lives are now directly impacted by their mother’s ability to remain self-sufficient and employed. Watching these strong, courageous and brave women has given me strength over the past 20 years and I am so proud of them.

I am also most proud of the global impact Dress for Success has had on women all over the world. To think, we started with just one location 20 years ago and now we are striving for the same vision and mission in over 26 countries. It is truly amazing. Our vision is a world where women do not live in poverty; are treated with dignity and respect; and are strengthening their families and shaping their communities.

And last but not least, I am proud of the hundreds of young women who have worked with and for me over the years. For many, this was their first job out of school and it has been wonderful to track their success and see their accomplishments as they shape their careers.

How did Nancy Lublin pass the baton to you? Any small anecdote about that meeting or about yourself starting the work that you do so well?

Almost since the beginning of Dress for Success, Nancy and I were side by side. I served on her Board of Directors and saw the life-changing work she was doing first-hand. When she was ready to move on, I was ready to move in. This year, we honored Nancy Lublin for her remarkable work at our 20th Anniversary Gala. In her acceptance speech, she said, “My one operating principal for everything I have ever done is kindness.” That is where I felt I aligned so closely with Nancy and that is one of the core principles that I have led this organization with for the past 18 years.

Has Dress for Success received any grants or funding from sources other than individual philanthropists? From which funding sources and for what types of programs?

Dress for Success Worldwide receives grants and funding from diverse sources, including corporate social responsibility programs, workforce giving, foundation grants and in-kind products and services. Significant supporters include Talbots, Pandora, and Walmart. Walmart was a signature partner in establishing our workforce development program called Going Places Network. This is a national safety-net program for women who receive suiting services from Dress for Success for an upcoming interview, but do not land the job. We work with each individual client through the Going Places Network to enhance their cover letters and resumes, develop an individual career plan with a job specialist, and hold career panels where they can network with hiring managers at major companies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The new Dress for Success "boutique" of The Palm Beaches, organized by Volunteers from The Container Store.  "Dress for Success Palm Beaches was thrilled when they offered to organize the new “boutique” that houses our professional attire."-standfor.containerstore.com

Once a low income woman obtains an interview suit, what happens after she gets the job?  What support systems are there for her and for her daily wardrobe? Are the clothes totally free?

Our women are referred to us through partnering agencies and must have a job interview lined up to be suited. Prior to her interview, we invite her into our boutique where she is styled from head to toe. We offer her suits, dresses, shoes, handbags, jewelry, beauty products and anything else she may need (absolutely free of charge). After the interview, if she gets the job, we provide her with enough wardrobe pieces for a five-day work week. If she doesn’t get the job, we sign her up for the Going Places Network where she receives resume-building tips, mock interview training and assistance with her job search.

Are women pre-qualified based on their income level or is Dress for Success open to all women?

Dress for Success is open to absolutely any and every woman. It doesn’t matter where you come from or who you are, we all go through challenges and, regardless of our circumstances, we weather storms. We are all just one misstep away from needing help. Dress for Success is here to support women and build them up from the inside-out, no matter where they come from and what their current circumstance may be.

What message would you want to impart to organizations providing services and programs for women?  What is missing out there?

Dress for Success supports like-minded organizations that are focused on helping women gain self-sufficiency. Whether these organizations are focused on women’s health, housing, family services, skills training or leadership, our collective job is to relay to the philanthropic community how important a holistic approach is to empowering women and how little funding is made available towards that work. As a global organization, we see first-hand that women between the ages of 16 and 65 years old need access to work opportunities. By becoming economically independent, adult women create an aggregated circle of beneficiaries – their families gain income security, their communities gain a robust workforce, and most importantly, the cycle of poverty is eventually broken.

How do you think I, Libby Hikind, and any of the six websites I have founded could work with Dress for Success to further empower women and women's organizations?

There are so many ways you and any of your readers can get involved with Dress for Success:

  • Give confidence with monetary donations. The monetary donations we receive directly support the development of our programs that offer our women the tools they need to achieve and sustain a lifetime of success.   

  • Donate nearly new professional attire to your local affiliate. This includes clothing, accessories and beauty products.

  • Volunteer your time. Assist with our suiting program and style women for their upcoming interviews or join our career center. You can help boost her confidence through mock interviewing, provide her with resume tips that set her up for success or sign up as a speaker at our professional development workshops.

  • Spread the word and empower more women in your community! Help us spread our mission by engaging with our social channels @dressforsuccess.

If you were called to testify before the House or Senate , what types of programs and funding would you suggest to stimulate the economy by providing a more skilled female workforce? What roadblocks are still present for low and middle income female workers?

I would suggest skills training and workforce entry programs for women 25-65 years old and leadership programs for adult women, so they can move to upper management and executive roles–not just entry-level or mid-level positions. What’s equally important to developing a skilled workforce of women are making innovative changes to issues like the minimum wage, maternity and family leave, access to higher education, health insurance for all and pathway development for women’s leadership in the public and private sector. Typically, women’s participation in the workforce is negatively affected by periods of unemployment due to childcare/family care responsibilities, lesser salaries than male counterparts for the same job, the lack of available income and time to attend or return to school, the lack of health insurance for themselves and their children in addition to the cost of high premiums, and the lack of visible leaders and change-makers to mentor other women in almost every industry.  With the absence of change in the issues listed above, roadblocks will remain not just for low and middle income female workers but for all women who are participating in the workforce.

Describe Dress for Success in one paragraph.

Dress for Success is an international not-for-profit organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. Since starting operations in 1997, Dress for Success has expanded to 150 cities in 26 countries. To date, Dress for Success has helped more than 1,000,000 women work towards self-sufficiency. Visit www.dressforsuccess.org to learn more.

About the Author: Libby Hikind is the CEO of GrantWatch.

Sources:

Woman Crush Wednesday: Featuring Barbara Corcoran

 

MWBEzone.com‘s Woman Crush Wednesday is one of the most captivating business leaders of our time: Barbara Corcoran. You probably recognize her as the sharp-witted “Shark” investor on ABC‘s Shark Tank who turned a $1,000 loan into a $5 billion business. Barbara’s immense success results from years of hard work, dedication and perseverance. Her determination is an inspiration for women in small business and female entrepreneurs.

Corcoran graduated college in 1971 with a degree in education. She was a teacher for just one year before dedicating herself to becoming her own boss. She co-founded The Corcoran Group, a real estate company in Manhattan, NY. She began exploring her talents in journalism in the mid-1970s, publishing real estate trends in New York City on The Corcoran Report. Our favorite “Shark” is also a real estate contributor to NBC’s Today Show, the host of The Millionaire Broker with Barbara Corcoran on CNBC, and a columnist for More MagazineNew York Daily NewsThe Daily Review and RedbookCorcoran has written several books and has been featured in multiple television shows, such as Larry King Live. She is also a business consultant via her consulting and television production business, Barbara Corcoran Inc. Corcoran sold her business to NRT Incorporated in 2001 for $66 million and is currently invested in more than twenty businesses.


Shark Tales : How I Turned $1,000 Into a Billion Dollar Business Shark Tales : How I Turned $1,000 Into a Billion Dollar Business

Buy Shark Tales by Barbara Corcoran in Paperback – Revised Ed. for the low price of 16.00. Find this product in Biography & Autobiography > Business, Motivational, Personal Growth – Success.


If you are a woman who shares Barbara’s dream of becoming your own boss, it’s never too late. Bring your dreams to life! Browse funding opportunities for women in small business on MWBEzone.com. Launch a UHelp campaign and work with an expert crowdfunding mentor to raise funds in support of your start-up!

Grants for Women in Small Business

Grants to USA, Canada, and International Scholars for Excellence in Art Authorship, Criticism, and Teaching Awards to USA, Canada, and International individual artists, art historians, authors, curators, and critics for outstanding contributions in their individual disciplines. Deadline: 7/31/17


Grants to USA Nonprofits for Projects in Education, Entrepreneurship, Advancement of Women, Crisis Management, and Child Abuse Prevention Grants to USA nonprofit organizations for a wide range of social change initiatives. Deadline: 10/15/17 UHelp-logo-The-Crowdfunding-Platform-TM

Create a UHelp Campaign to Support Your Small Business Dreams

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About the Author: Annalee Scholle is a Staff Writer for MWBEzone.com

Sources:

http://www.barbaracorcoran.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbara_Corcoran

https://www.facebook.com/TheBarbaraCorcoran/

About the Author: Annalee Scholle is a Staff Writer for MWBEzone.com

Man Crush Monday: Afterburner CEO Jim Murphy

It’s Man Crush Monday on MWBEzone.com. This week, our spotlight is on Jim Murphy, Founder and CEO of Afterburner, an International consulting firm with offices in the United States and  Australia. Murphy launched Afterburner, Inc. in 1996, bringing his dreams of running a successful small business to life. As a former F-15 Instructor Pilot for the United States Airforce, Jim Murphy is an inspiring role model for veterans returning to the business world.

Based in Atlanta, GA, Afterburner is now one of Forbes’ top 25 Best Small Companies. The company is run by former US military that served in elite combat units, such as Navy SEALs, Green Berets and Army Rangers, and specializes in “teaching clients how to define and execute a business strategy with a military-inspired approach to teamwork” (Forbes). Afterburner offers a variety of services such as consulting and workshops, training and team building, and inspirational keynote programs.

Regardless of the extensive size of clientele, events and programs, Afterburner is a small business created and owned by a multi-talented veteran who hatched an idea and carried it through to the end. We congratulate you, Jim Murphy, and wish you 20 more years of immense success.

Transitions: A Field Guide for Military Professionals and Veterans Seeking Leadership Positions in the Business World

Transitions: A Field Guide for Military Professionals and Veterans Seeking Leadership Positions in the Business World

Are you or someone you know a veteran interested in starting a small business? Browse the grant listings on MWBEzone.com to discover funding opportunities that will help you achieve your goals!

Grants for Veterans


Grants to USA Veterans and Military Spouses to Attend a Technology Entrepreneurship Event

Grants to USA veterans and their spouses to attend a three-day, hands-on technology entrepreneurship event.

Deadline: 8/6/17


In-Kind Services to Greater New Orleans, Louisiana Veteran Entrepreneurs for Business Development

In-kind business development services to Greater New Orleans, Louisiana individual entrepreneurs who have served (or are currently serving) in the USA armed forces.

Deadline: Ongoing


Grants for Small Business


Grants to Young Maine Business Owners for Projects That Will Result in Economic Growth

Grants of up to $5,000 to young Maine business owners for projects that will contribute to the state’s economic growth.

Deadline: 7/23/17 5:00 PM EST


Grants to USA Nonprofits, For-Profits, and Journalists to Advance Health Care Journalism

Grants to USA nonprofit and for-profit organizations and institutions, as well as individual journalists, for health care journalism initiatives.

Deadline: 7/24/17 5:00 PM EDT


Grants to USA Nonprofits, For-Profits, and IHEs in Multiple States to Enhance STEM Research and Development Capacity

Grants to eligible USA States and territories nonprofits, for-profits, and academic institutions for capacity building to enhance research and development in the STEM fields.

LOI Deadline: 7/31/17

Deadline: 8/21/17 5:00 PM Submitter’s Local Time


New grants for veterans and small business are posted every day on MWBEzone.com.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for small business news, grant announcements and features!

About the Author: Annalee Scholle is a Staff Writer for MWBEzone.com

Sources:

Make the Most of Small Business Week

Happy Small Business Week, America! MWBEzone applauds the hard work and courageous accomplishments of America's small businesses, entrepreneurs and startups. This week, as proclaimed by the president of the United States in 1963, we recognize the critical contributions of small businesses across America. Small Business Week also creates valuable opportunities for networking promotions and partnerships among entrepreneurs. 

Small Business Week honors and acknowledge the positive impact of small businesses and entrepreneurs from all 50 states and U.S. territories. Events across the nation will focus on increasing awareness of the positive impact small businesses have on both local communities and the national economy. 

The 51st annual National Small Business Week swings into gear with national events planned in Washington, D.C, New York City, Indianapolis, Dallas and Fresno, California. Events throughout the week will be live-streamed on SBA's website at www.sba.gov/nsbw.

American citizens owe a great deal of gratitude to small business. Over 50% of Americans either own or work for a small business. Small businesses are responsible for the creation of about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. The SBA reports that 23 million small businesses in America account for 54% of all U.S. sales, and produce 16 times more patents per employee than large firms. 

"Every day, they’re working to grow small businesses, create 21st century jobs, drive innovation, and increase America’s global competitiveness."  -SBA

If you are an entrepreneur or a small business owner, take advantage of the many opportunities for growth Small Business Week brings!

Leverage Local Media

"Local media outlets are likely to publish roundups, schedules, and calendars for the events happening around you, so make use of them! If you’re running a sale or promotion, or hosting an event, see if you can get your business added to their lists." –ThriveHive

Reach Out to Micro-influencers.

"Your community isn’t just limited to your geographical area. It can also refer to your digital spheres as well, such as smaller social media groups that are specific to your niche. Within these niches are bloggers and micro-influencers who have a strong, highly specific, and loyal following who are trusted among your target audience. See if they’d be willing to include you in one of their blog or social media posts, to write a guest post on your blog, or to let you contribute a post to their blog." -ThriveHive

Update Your Listings

"The last thing you want is a person learning about a promotion you’re running, but being unable to locate your business or get the information they need for making a purchase."-ThriveHive

Make sure ALL of your listings are up to date. This includes your Facebook Page, Google listing, Website and all social media platforms. 

Run Small Business Week Promotions 

If you operate a small business, this week is an opportune time to launch a promotion. Reward your return customers with loyalty incentives or offer a seasonal discount in celebration of the week's focus. Take advantage of the national spotlight shining on small businesses! 

Partner Up 

Small Business Week is the best possible time to promote your small business, form partnerships and participate in events that will build your brand value. 

Are you a female entrepreneur? Use this time to connect with other women in small business, building your professional networks through cross promotion. 

Spark & Hustle :  Launch and Grow Your Small Business Now

Participate in Local Small Business Week Events 

The SBA dedicates this week to the efforts and accomplishments of small businesses with awards to entrepreneurs and small businesses, events, speaking engagements and seminars. Be proactive and use this opportunity to further the reach of your small business, build brand recognition and discover the opportunities for growth that are available to you.  

"Attend webinars and join in on social media conversations. To learn about SBA events of interest to you, visit https://www.sba.gov/nsbw/nsbw, or find your regional SBA office at https://www.sba.gov/tools/local-assistance/districtoffices."

sendinblue

Browse MWBEzone for small business grants, grants for women and workforce grants.


Fundraising and Business Development Opportunity to USA Women Entrepreneurs for Fundraising and Business Development

Deadline: 06/01/17


Grants to USA and Canada Women Entrepreneurs to Start a Business or Grow an Existing Business

Conf. Date: 3/14/18

Deadline: Ongoing – One grant is awarded each month


Fellowships to USA Scholars to Conduct High-Level Research and Data Analysis in the Social Sciences

Fellowships to USA scholars for high-level research and writings on ways to improve social and living conditions in the United States.

Deadline: 6/28/17


 

 

 

Follow MWBEzone on FacebookMWBEzone on Twitter and MWBEzone on LinkedIn for more Small Business Week news!

 

 

About the Author: Aurora Belle is the Copywriter and Editor of MWBEzone.com and Sister Sites

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What I Really Want for My Birthday

With my birthday but a day away, I realize and lament that I have been too busy for dating websites, too caught up redesigning Uhelpfund.com (for a sneak peek go to Uhelpfund.org), to have even the possibility of a date. The majority of my male interaction is a daily Skype share screen web development session from 3 a.m.. to noon, marking up changes with my stylus pen. 

If you are shaking your head as you read this, you probably understand all too well. 

So, with no date for my birthday and nothing at all on the horizon, I started to wonder…

Am I all alone or are other women CEOs experiencing the same? I am the founder & CEO of GrantWatch.com and other grants and crowdfunding website companies. I work nonstop, to the point of being dangerously close to a mandatory work-a-holic workshop.  

Recently, my daughter Lani linked me up with a business consultant (to figure out how to work less) who basically told me I am doing the impossible – but really it's not just me, I have a great staff.

Now my staff, they have lives – outside of the office. Maybe I live vicariously. It appears that I need the perfect match to virtually drop in my lap! 

I find dating sites to be like those initial interviews searching for my next sales, writer or social media specialist. 

The man I would enjoy spending what little time of my day I have with, probably wouldn't have the time to play on them, either. 

Since LinkedIn and Facebook are my current spaces (publishing articles about grants, grant writers or crowdfunding daily for nonprofits or small businesses),

I am "BIGLY" wondering if a late 50s to early 60s, widowed or divorced, available and eligible, educated, smart, healthy, somewhat observant Jewish man, psychologically and financially sound – who lives or is able to relocate to south Florida, would reach out to connect with me… and then drop directly into my inbox? 

Could it really work that way? Maybe LinkedIn is the dating website for overworked CEOs.

You tell me.

Check out my FB photos and if you're so inclined, send a quick Facebook poke!

My daughter asked me what I wanted for my birthday. I told her I want to go to the beach. It's about five minutes away and getting there for just one hour in my work day would be heaven. 

BUT- What I truly want and what I do not have the time or energy to find is that special person who respects my work and has their own, and at the time of day when I finally call it a day – that there be someone of value to eat dinner with, see a movie or just decompress from all the daily decisions. 

So LinkedIn followers and Facebook friends, if you know someone of like mind, let me know.  

Libby Hikind

CEO and Founder 

GrantWatch.com

About the Author: Libby Hikind is the Founder & CEO of GrantWatch.com, MWBEzone.com, GrantWriterTeam.com, GrantNews.press and Uhelpfund.com. You can reach Libby through Editor@GrantNews.press

Is there a Recipe for Success in Business Crowdfunding?

Many times, there are grants available to support inventive endeavors of small business. We list hundreds of grants on MWBEzone.com and encourage you to research opportunities in funding within our grant listings. What happens if you have a million dollar idea, something groundbreaking that you're certain would be embraced and simply haven't yet found a qualifying grant to support the endeavor? Crowdfunding

The highest income producing business crowdfunding campaigns have been in tech, travel, and entertainment industries. Can you guess what those were and why? Use these crowdfunding lessons below to make to make your business campaign a success. Be sure to follow our Uhelpfund crowdfunding campaigns on Twitter.

Tech Industry: The Smart Watch

In first place is obviously the Pebble Smartwatch, crowdfunding $10,266,845, which pre-ordered more than a quarter million watches and now graces the shelves of Best Buy and other retailers. –Crowdfund Insider

The Smart Watch, originally called the Pebble, was introduced as a crowdfunding campaign and operated on one of the most universal measurements of life itself, time. Not only did it measure time, it unified time, your phone, and your email in one place that the eye is automatically drawn. The invention has certainly taken off, but not in the way that many investors thought that it might –  simply because, we are not all watch people. However, a large percentage of individuals cannot live without their watches. Similarly, large populations cannot live without access to their phones. Combine those two technologies and there is a high percentage that you will find investors for your fund.

Lesson 1: Your crowdfunding idea, if it is an invention, must be both natural to human behaviors and innovative, combining technologies that are not completely foreign.

Travel Industry: FaceCradle Neck Pillow

FaceCradleFaceCradle is the brainchild of Australian entrepreneurs David Scrimshaw and Roz Ruwhiu, who have both experienced first hand the difficulty of sleeping on an airplane. With the FaceCradle, the user has five different options for positioning his or her head. This gives the FaceCradle versatility that doesn’t exist with any other travel pillow on the market.

19,611 backers pledged AU $1,479,231 to help bring this project to life.-Huffington Post

Many generations find the neck pillow to be, quite frankly, a bizarre accessory to the millennial traveler. However, it has made the perils of coach class travel much less taxing. This pillow allows the head to rest on either side of the pillow, alleviating neck strain that results from prolonged stretching on one side or the other. Many could not think of traveling without it. The FaceCradle is a new development in the world of neck pillows, bringing "smart" technology and versatility that doesn’t exist with any other travel pillow on the market. With the FaceCradle, the user has five different options for positioning his or her head: dozing, snoozing, table nap, deep sleep side and deep sleep side. 

Lesson 2: Innovative comfort will inevitably succeed. Adding smart technology to a revolutionary design is a winning combination.

Entertainment Industry: Mystery Science Theater 3000

The original $2 million campaign goal would fund three full-length episodes, and $5.5 million would fund a season of 12 episodes. By the end of the funding round, the project secured $5,764,229 from 48,270 backers. –Crowdfund Insider

Mystery Science Theater 3000, otherwise known as MST3K, premiered on local TV in Minneapolis in 1988. Created by writer and comedian Joel Hodgson, the beloved Emmy-nominated cult series starred Hodgson as a janitor that was trapped on the Satellite of Love by mad scientists who spends his time making fun of terrible movies with a bunch of wisecracking robots. The rebooted series will be comprised of 14 new episodes including a holiday special and will star comedian and Nerdist Podcast co-host Jonah Ray, genre favorite Felicia Day (Buffy the Vampire SlayerSupernatural) and comedian Patton Oswalt. Some perks for campaign donors included personalized voicemail greetings from favorite characters, invitations to the premieres in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, dinner with the cast and a chance to appear in an episode. 

Lesson 3: Never underestimate the power of nostalgia. A fresh spin on a retired classic can yield incredible results.

Have you designed a convenient, yet innovative invention?

Do you have a great idea for a compact size travel companion or a fun twist on traditional entertainment? 

Launch a crowdfunding campaign on Uhelpfund.com today!

Have you successfully used a crowdfunding campaign to bring your invention to life?

Has crowdfunding empowered you to support the launch of a small business?

Share your story with us, comment below!

About the Author: Martha Greenlee is a crowdfunding mentor at Uhelpfund.com with a degree in cultural anthropology.

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Grants Empowering Women

Are you a female entrepreneur or a woman who runs a small business? According to The Women’s Economic Opportunities Index: Rankings by region, the country of Sweeden ranked highest (in specific attributes of the environment) for women employees and entrepreneurs in 113 economies.

MWBEzone.com and GrantWatch.com are proud to be playing an active role in women empowerment.

Another key factor identified on the study is that:

Many women face greater barriers than men in setting up businesses. Women’s enterprises are often particularly small and concentrated in the retail or services sectors. This calls for training programs in management to provide the skills needed to run a successful business.

We list grants dedicated to securing a future of opportunity and success for women in small business. Our grants for women also support the female leaders who are paying it forward by making a positive impact with other women or girls in their communities. Grants for women also fund education and training programs that provide girls with the knowledge, social skills and confidence necessary to grow as empowered business leaders.

Award to an Arkansas Woman for Her Positive Impact on Girls and Women in Society

Deadline: 4/7/2017

Grants to Kentucky Individuals and Groups to Advance the Workforce Potential of Women

Deadline: 4/30/17

Search grants for women in other states here.

MWBEzone.com supports women empowerment Recognition is broadening for women in business. Startups with female leaders are proving to be more succesful than those run by men only.

First Round Capital recently reported 63 percent better performance by its companies with women leaders than those with all-male leadership teams. –Inc.com

MWBEzone.com has new grants for women posted each week. You can also discover grants for women on GrantWatch.com, each supporting a variety of initiatives for women empowerment. Don’t miss out on available opportunities that have the power to help you achieve your goals, grow your business or advance positive influences on girls and young women in your community.

Consider launching a crowdfunding campaign if you have a specific mission that will benefit women in business, unite women for a positive cause or fund a dream start-up company that caters to future female leaders. Inform your friends, family, online networks and website visitors of your goal to gain support and exposure. As those closest to you show their support, the confidence will permeate throughout your extended network and their connections. Crowdfunding is a space that women are experiencing particularly great success in.

We are seeing massive growth of crowdfunding venues, including women-focused ones. According to CircleUp, a private equity platform for consumer businesses, female found­ers are nine times more successful in crowdfunding than in raising capital with traditional banks, and five times more successful than with Venture Capitolists.     -Inc.com

Raise Money on Uhelpfund for Nonprofits, Female Entrepreneurs, Small Businesses and Start-ups throughout the USA, Canada, and International Communities.

About the Author: Staff Writer for MWBEzone and Affiliate Sites

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Small Screen, Big Impact

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are a small business with a blog, you should consider the needs of smartphone users. This is because they approach reading on the internet differently than large-screen users. For grants for improving your internet presence, check out MWBEzone.com under the technology category. You can also crowdfund for your needs on Uhelpfund.com.

Smartphone users tend to focus on the center of the screen while large-screen users begin reading from the top left. This may seem odd but I’m sure we’ve caught ourselves doing this on our smartphones.

There are a few things you could practice to engage a smartphone using audience.

1. Create short titles

A long title for a blog entry could take up the entire screen. This is off-putting. You want a title that is both attention-grabbing and easy to comprehend.

2. Short paragraph headers

This could make it easier for a reader to sift through your writing for information most relevant to them. Think of them as cliff notes for your article. They should summarize the point of each paragraph in a very succinct manner.

3. Put your best foot forward

Start your blog entry with your strongest point. This would make it more likely for the reader to continue with your story. Because your readers are on their phone, this usually means they are out of their house or away from their office. So, they want to get to the best parts of your writing early on.

4. Write in brief paragraphs

What appears to be a short paragraph of 5 sentences on a large screen may end up looking like a barrage of words on a smartphone. So, keep your paragraphs short. No more than 3-4 concise sentences.

5. Stay focused

Don’t fill your article with fluff. Remember, your readers are on-the-go. So, they just need the essentials. Fluff maybe an irrelevant quote or digressions.

Now you know how to write for an audience that reads on smartphones. A strong blog can go a long way for SEO. If you want to make improvements upon your internet presence, look at grants for technology on MWBEzone.com.

About the Author: Sabeen is Master in Public Health. She currently writes for MWBEzone.com and its affiliated websites.

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Starting a Business in the New Year?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy New Year, everyone! Was your New Year’s resolution to improve or start a new business and look for funding? MWBEzone suggests you write a comprehensive business plan and provides you with some pre-writing tips below. Follow these 3 guidelines before beginning your business plan. GrantWriterTeam.com can also help you develop your business plan. Keep in mind that a business plan is a living document. You will want it in a format that you can modify and tweak as your business goals change.

1. Be verbal.

Talk to people about what you want to accomplish. This is important because it helps you articulate your ideas. Try to get it down to 30 seconds. You’ll find yourself refining your ideas and deciding what stays and what goes. Another good thing about talking to people is feedback. Were they excited about the idea? Did they seem genuinely interested? In addition, talking allows you to network! Now is a great time to find like-minded entrepreneurs, advisors, investors, etc. who will be pivotal as you move forward. Uhelpfund, a crowdfunding website that offers great customer service may be just the right place to start a campaign that gives the people you know an opportunity to help you with start-up funds.

2. Take a step back.

Don’t rush! Don’t expect to quit your job, buy a storefront or domain name and bring in business all in one day. Only quit when you’re comfortable and put thought into where you will be located or what your business name will be. Remember to research this and possibly even consult on it. Take one thing at a time.

3. Compile all necessary paperwork.

Make sure your partners and co-founders are all on the same page about how you want to run the business. Get a lawyer and prepare all legal work. Even if you are going into business alone, you want to set up what is called a separate legal business entity. This is a safeguard should there be disagreements between yourself and a customer. And when shopping for a lawyer, we suggest to get a lawyer who specializes in start-ups. This is because they may defer their fees to give you time to launch your business.

Now that you know 3 things to do BEFORE finalizing your business plan, you can work on making your new year’s resolution to start a business come true! And while you approach this undertaking, look for funding at MWBEzone. Not every business starts with a loan.