Verizon is one of many companies working hard to help small businesses who have been hit hard during the ongoing pandemic, and its VP of Verizon Business Southern Region, Aimee Novak, is helping the tech giant through the Verizon Business giveback programs.
After conducting a small business survey in May, Verizon Business found that 49 percent of woman-owned small businesses would find it helpful to have access to a network of like-minded female business leaders to navigate a post COVID-19 reality. In July of this year, Verizon Business launched Women in Business to help female executives and entrepreneurs through the pandemic.
“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy,” Novak told Dallas Innovates. “Since the start of this pandemic, we’ve really been committed to helping these small businesses who have been hit the hardest during this time.”
In partnership with CircleAround, a new subsidiary of the Girl Scouts, and the National Association of Women Business Owners, Verizon Business launched a mentorship program aimed at providing female entrepreneurs with networking opportunities and virtual panels with female executives in tech, media, sports, finance, and the public sector.
“I have always been passionate about mentoring women,” Novak said. “I saw the struggle up close with my own family and friends, many of whom had chosen to leave the workforce for a variety of reasons and found it very difficult to get back in when they are ready.”
Women in Business is not the only program that Verizon created to help small businesses during the pandemic, it also launched the Comeback Coach program.
The Comeback Coach program is Verizon Business’ first ever comprehensive small business resource hub that helps provide connectivity, security, and collaboration to small businesses, as well as pair small business coaches with small businesses. Comeback Coach also provides free video conferencing via BlueJeans for one month and two free months of One Talk, a program that enables customers to reach a business in the office or on the go.
“According to our recent Verizon Business Small Business survey, 76 percent of small businesses found that collaboration between teams is important during this challenging time, as they integrate digital tools to create new business opportunities,” Novak said.
Along with Women in Business and the Comeback Coach program, Verizon has also provided 777 small business grants of $5,000 to $10,000 to help businesses meet payroll, pay rent, and address other small business needs through Verizon’s Small Business Recovery Fund. These grantees include minority-owned, woman-owned, and veteran-owned businesses and 88 percent of them operate in underserved communities that have historically not had access to flexible and affordable capital.
“We are helping small businesses of all kinds. Some of them are receiving actionable strategies from small business coaches, for others, we are aiding in their digital transformation with the investments in technology,” Novak said.
Novak believes that all employees need to be set up properly to enable seamless and secure work from home with an investment in smartphones, video conferencing tools, tablets, and proper internet hookups. In regard to women asking for advice on reentering the workforce, Novak had this to say:
“I always tell women looking to reenter the workforce about the importance of networking and continuing education courses. Network, network, network. Set up virtual coffee dates and expand your network as much as you can.”
To learn more about Verizon Business’ giveback programs and to get access to the small business series, visit the link here.
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