Doral Business Forum

Doral Business Forum – Thursday, February 9, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

The City of Doral and the Economic Development Advisory Board present a free Business Forum that presents engaging speakers and experts in business, higher education, government and trade. Attendees will have the opportunity to interact with representatives from Miami-Dade County,
Miami Dade College, the Small Business Administration, SCORE, the Beacon Council and other organizations that provide resources to help small businesses succeed.

The keynote speaker will be Miami Herald President and Publisher Alexandra Villoch.

Other speakers include: Vivian Walters Jr.,Small Business Development Section Chief of the Internal Services Department at Miami-Dade County;

Dr. Roger Ramsammy, President of Miami Dade College West Campus;

Jonel Hein, Deputy District Director of the Small Business Administration;

Orlando Espinosa, Co-Founder of MICROscholarships Inc.

Stanley Rigaud, Economic Developer of International Programs for The Beacon Council.

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70 Percent of Small Businesses Plan to Increase Digital Marketing Spend

Seventy percent of small to medium sized businesses polled said they will increase their digital/web-based marketing budgets in the new year.

That’s according to GetResponse, an email marketing software solution serving over 350,000 small businesses, marketers and brands.

GetResponse recently commissioned a study to examine expected digital marketing investments among US-based small and medium-sized businesses in 2017.

The study polled 200 US-based small to medium sized business decision makers at the end of 2016, and also looked into the channels most likely to drive spending. The study findings were eye-opening.

Of the companies indicating in the poll they would increase their budgets, 30 percent said the budget will “increase considerably,” while 40 percent said it will “increase somewhat.”

Projected Digital Marketing Spend in 2017

According to the GetResponse study, 28 percent of the remaining businesses polled said their budget would remain unchanged. Only 2 percent said their digital marketing budgets would decrease in 2017.

“Digital marketing is vital for SMBs and our survey numbers bear that out,” said Simon Grabowski, GetResponse CEO and Founder. “Marketers are investing accordingly, given the substantial return on investment delivered through web-based campaigns.”

Social, Mobile and Email to Drive Digital Marketing Spend

The study also noted that social, mobile and email are poised to drive the spending surge this year. Of the small to medium sized business executives surveyed that projected increased marketing budgets in 2017, 59 percent said marketing on social networks, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter will primarily drive that growth.

The next channel projected to drive digital marketing spend in 2017 is said to be mobile marketing (50 percent) — either app or web-based — followed by email marketing (42 percent).

Other channels driving growth are: video production (28 percent), “search marketing, including paid search” and “content creation and management” (both at 26 percent), “data collection and analytics” and “corporate website maintenance and development” (both at 23 percent), and, “commerce experiences” (16 percent).

Source Small Biz Trends

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Small Business Resources for Veterans

Veterans who are small-business owners are an important part of the U.S. economy. These entrepreneurs own 7.5% of the nation’s 5.4 million businesses with employees, according to latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Still, new businesses need assistance at some point, and that’s where small-business loans, grants and other financing resources for veterans come into play.

If you’re a veteran hoping to get your small business off the ground, start with the Veterans Business Outreach Center Program. VBOCs provide business training, counseling and mentoring at 15 locations throughout the country. You can also contact Score, a nonprofit association of volunteer business counselors who offer free business workshops and in-person appointments.

Financing advice and training are highly beneficial for vets-turned-entrepreneurs. Find a mentor who has transitioned out of the military. They can provide valuable information on the leap into entrepreneurship, says Jim Salmon, a Navy veteran and vice president of business services at Navy Federal Credit Union.

To help you start and grow your business, we rounded up the best small-business loans for veterans. And below, we compiled great small-business grants and other resources for veterans:

Boots to Business: This is a free, three-part education and training program offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration to service members who want to become entrepreneurs. The program includes a two-day course taught at more than 165 military installations worldwide. All active-duty military members transitioning out of the military and their partners or spouses are eligible.

Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF): This program at Syracuse University provides education and training for business-minded veterans. It includes the Boots to Business program, the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans With Disabilities (EBV) and the Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship program.

“We’ve put about 39,000 people through [our programs],” says James Schmeling, IVMF’s co-founder and managing director. “Part of what we do is educate them on access to capital, financing their business or bootstrapping a business.”

Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan: These SBA loans help small businesses meet “ordinary and necessary” operating expenses if an essential employee is called to active duty.

Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small-Business Program: This SBA program helps qualifying entrepreneurs obtain sole-source government contracts of up to $5 million. Participants must own at least 51% of the business and have a service-connected disability, as determined by the Department of Veterans Affairs or the Department of Defense, among other criteria.

The StreetShares Foundation: Online lender StreetShares announced a partnership with JP Morgan Chase on Nov. 10 to provide a total of $10,000 in three monthly awards to eligible veterans, reserve or active-duty members, and military-spouse small-business owners. Winners are chosen based on several criteria, including the strength of their business idea, the potential impact and use of awarded funds, and the influence of the business on the military and veterans community, according to StreetShares.

VetBiz: Use this Department of Veterans Affairs site to apply to become a certified veteran-owned small business, which makes you eligible to win federal contracts.

Veteran Entrepreneur Portal: The VEP connects entrepreneurial vets to federal, state and local financing programs, resources and opportunities.

Women Veteran Entrepreneurship Program Grant: The SBA Office of Veterans Business Development offers this funding opportunity for female veteran-owned businesses. The SBA says it will make up to six awards with a minimum reward of $25,000 each for qualifying businesses. Applications for the grant must be submitted by Dec. 12, 2016.

Women Veterans Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-Wise): This three-part online training program provides the tools that female veterans need to become successful entrepreneurs. The program offers several courses, including business planning, accounting and finance, marketing and human resources. The program costs $75 and is open to all female veterans, active-duty female service members, and the partners or spouses of active-duty service members.

Source NerdWallet

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