WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was joined today by a group of leading technology companies to announce the formation of the Small Business Technology Coalition, a first-of-its-kind public-private partnership that will provide America’s small businesses a streamlined interface to connect to innovative technology platforms as well as digital education and enterprise training.
Through this coalition, the SBA will collaborate with a group of the world’s most iconic technology companies to educate entrepreneurs on the range of resources and technology available to help them connect to customers, scale, and do business safely anywhere. This collection of resources will cover areas important to entrepreneurs including online commerce and payment platforms, efficiency of back-office operations, productivity solutions, cybersecurity protection, and improved customer service and shopping experiences.
In announcing the initiative, SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet stated: “On behalf of America’s 28 million innovators, entrepreneurs and small businesses, welcome and thank you to the companies that have joined SBA’s groundbreaking initiative. I’m heartened by the quality of companies stepping up to participate in this coalition. The success of these industry leaders and their countless customers and partners is living proof of the transformative power of technology and innovation.
“This first of a kind public-private partnership will empower a new generation of entrepreneurs to build businesses that are ready to compete from day one. SBA started this effort with our ‘Startup in a Day’ initiative in mind, coordinating across federal state and local government to cut red tape and simplify the process of starting a business. Now, with the launch of this coalition, America’s startups will also have the digital tools they need to take their first steps toward success.
“I remain fervently committed to finding solutions for our nation’s job creators–our entrepreneurs and small enterprises–and look forward to adding new members to this coalition as we work to further strengthen this small business resource.”
Participating companies helping to introduce the coalition today include Amazon, Box, Facebook, LegalZoom, Microsoft, Salesforce and Zenefits. Each member of the coalition has affirmed its commitment to assist small businesses across the United States through the adoption of modern technologies.
“Amazon’s marketplace, innovative ecommerce tools, and cloud services enable small businesses to grow and expand their reach,” said Brian Huseman, Vice President of Public Policy for Amazon. “Today, we are excited to build upon that partnership through the Small Business Technology Coalition, and demonstrate further how technology can help small businesses to innovate, focus resources and grow.”
“Small businesses play a vital role in the U.S. economy, but without IT departments or dedicated resources they often don’t have access or expertise to deploy the best technology to grow and scale their business,” said Karen Appleton, Senior Vice President of Industries at Box. “By joining the coalition, Box is committed to providing modern, cloud technology tools and education that will empower small businesses across America to achieve their greatest ambitions.”
Erin Egan, Facebook’s Vice President of U.S. Public Policy noted, “Facebook is proud to join the Small Business Technology Coalition to help America’s small businesses establish and grow their online presences and connect with customers where they are most engaged.”
“Technology is a core enabler of consistency of quality, efficiency, and reach,” said John Suh, CEO of LegalZoom. “Small business owners now have unprecedented access to affordable technology-enabled solutions that are better suited for their most common legal needs. LegalZoom is truly committed to empowering America’s small businesses and proud to be a part of the Small Business Technology Coalition.”
“Microsoft welcomes the SBA’s leadership in establishing the Small Business Technology Coalition. We firmly believe that small businesses are at the core of economic growth and innovation for our nation and therefore are a focal point for our company as well,” said Cindy Bates, Microsoft Vice President, Small and Midsized Business. “Studies show that businesses that leverage modern technology grow 15% faster than those that do not. We look forward to sharing how small businesses can harness the power of technology such as the Microsoft Cloud to grow and succeed in business.”
“We are in the midst of a sweeping digital transformation. Small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy and equipping them with technology and innovation will be vital in fueling their future growth,” said Leyla Seka, SVP, Salesforce, Desk.com. “We are honored to be joining this initiative and helping small businesses go digital.”
“Our goal at Zenefits is to make it easier to start, manage and grow a small business; from day one, our technology has been designed expressly for that purpose,” Zenefits CEO David Sacks said. “We’re thrilled to serve as a founding member of the Small Business Technology Coalition and to partner with the U.S. Small Business Administration. We look forward to providing educational, technology and other support through the SBA to help the small business community thrive.”
“Whether they are selling quilts or cloud solutions, businesses need access to digital tools and capabilities to be competitive,” added Tracy Terrill, Chief Digital Officer at SBA. “Our goal at the SBA is to ensure that entrepreneurs and small business owners are aware of digital resources designed to simplify administrative, legal, and technology challenges required to scale their businesses.”
A key element to the coalition’s scope of activity will be the ongoing schedule of hosted knowledge-sharing sessions to increase technology awareness on topics of interest to small businesses and entrepreneurs including cyber security, social media marketing and brand awareness, mobile content management, productivity solutions, online/ecommerce, mobility and field operations, and payments.
About the Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was created in 1953 and since January 13, 2012 has served as a Cabinet-level agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation. The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow businesses. Through an extensive network of field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations, the SBA delivers its services to people throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam. www.sba.gov