Guest post from Marissa Mitrovich, director, public policy and corporate responsibility for Verizon. Follow @mpmitrovich on Twitter.
(photo taken with her smartphone: Marissa with Marie Johns, Deputy Administrator of the US Small Business Administration)
Earlier this month, I attended a very powerful event: The White House Business Council and Small Business Administration hosted the Urban Economic Forum at Barnard College, a women’s college, in New York City. The venue was thoughtfully selected, as the entire day was dedicated to women.
The Urban Economic Forum was open to the public and was created out of the need and desire of women entrepreneurs seeking a place they could come together to find resources for their businesses and meet other women entrepreneurs. This event was the first event of a series of eight to take place in other cities nationwide. It hailed an impressive number of attendees, over 400 women! Special guests included Arianna Huffington, columnist and co-founder of The Huffington Post; Susan Sobbott, the president of American Express OPEN; and even Senior Advisor to the President of the United States Valerie Jarrett were in attendance to speak to this dynamic and diverse group and offer advice.
While there were many invaluable pieces of advice offered to women throughout the day. One of the key takeaways – and the advice that was repeated throughout the day by multiple people, but first mentioned in the morning by Susan Lyne, Chairman of Gilt Groupe Inc., an e-commerce company that pioneered “flash sales.” She told the women in the room that they must embrace technology.
Susan indicated that technology was going to allow women to maximize the reach of their business, increase their efficiency, and help them cut costs.
As women in the room were tweeting all day using the hashtag #WHEconForum and #womenentrepreneurs – this statement by Susan resonated true. These women, myself included, were instantly building a large network and maximizing our reach…with technology.
According to Deputy SBA Administrator Marie Johns, “Today it’s about 30% - and women-owned businesses are growing at a rate of more than twice that of b...” Certainly this growth is going to require all of the benefits Susan Lyne mentioned that technology will allow for. As an employee of Verizon, I am familiar with the resources available to allow for this efficiency after all, Verizon has the best network and the fastest Internet speeds.
I personally left this event moved by this experience, the strength and energy of the women in the room, and happy that I would be able to keep up with these women I met with the use of a couple small symbols “@” and a “#” – my smartphone made the connection!
Editor’s note: Are you embracing technology?
If you are a small business owner, are you using technology to connect with your customers? If not, take action today! Don’t be one of the 40% of small businesses that don’t have a website. Your business needs to be found. Verizon offers an easy do-it-yourself website building software, click here for more info. You can click here to learn about our latest promotional solution of voice and broadband or click here if you already have services with us and want to add wireless service. If you need tips to shop for a tablet click here or click here to learn how you can take payment anywhere… even on the go. Of course, if you need additional assistance, such as how to use Facebook to find customers, watch one of the free webinars presented by the Verizon Small Business Center. (Click here to go to the Verizon Small Business channel or visit http://www.brighttalk.com/channel/6255).
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