Weekly Reads: May 15 - May 19


If You Live in an Area with High Income Inequality, You’re More Likely to Burn Out at Work

"Because employees are nested within organizations, states, and countries, it is crucial to investigate how these social contexts influence employees’ reactions to job insecurity."

With income inequality continuing to increase, this study examines the effects of job insecurity based on the level of income inequality in the place they live in the world.


Google I/O Exclusive: Google to Launch Google for Jobs to Help Americans Find Work

"The challenge of connecting job seekers to better information on job availability is like many search challenges we’ve solved in the past."

In order to increase the efficiency of job matching, Google has launched Google for Jobs, a new initiative that takes job listings from across the web and puts them in one place. There will be specific filters job seekers can put in place so they are getting the right kind of jobs in the right places.


US Official Urges American Small Businesses to Export Abroad

"Businesses that export are less likely to go out of business and more likely to grow faster."

Only 1% of all small businesses in the US export their products, something that US Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon is trying to change. She recently visited ECOSOC to encourage small business owners to enter the global market, highlighting the various resources offered by the SBA and their partners to help small businesses get to that stage.


We’re Encouraging Female Entrepreneurship (And Leadership) All Wrong

"Only by cultivating more interest, imbuing more power, and shifting the focus for the next generation of women will we start to close the female entrepreneurship and leadership gaps in this country."

This article discusses the efforts currently being made to close the wage gap and address the lower female representation in business, but suggests that these efforts lack a few fundamental factors. The author argues that many of the deterrents for women are gender roles taught at a young age, so those need to be addressed to really see a change.


How to Create a Brand that Grows On It's Own

"As a founder, your only job is to listen to your customers and iterate as fast as you can to serve them."

The author spotlights a couple of brands that started simply by identifying a customer-need that wasn't being met by a competitor, and stepping into the space to address that need. But she warns to not lose that goal - continue to listen to the needs of your business' customers and adapt to their needs.


New Black Entrepreneurship Course Draws Strong Interest
Harvard Crimson

"One of the things I decided to do was not make it a course that focused on problems, but a course that focused on solutions and the end product of success."

A Harvard Business School professor has created a class called “Black Business Leaders and Entrepreneurship" that highlights successful black entrepreneurs as the center of the case studies. A very small portion of the total case studies typical Harvard Business School students read feature black protagonists so this professor is filling the gap.


5 Things Small Business Owners Can Do Now to Grow in the Next Year

Written by the CEO of the small business lending source Kabbage, this article outlines 5 areas where small business owners should focus their attention this year in order to continue to grow. This includes topics around budgeting, taxes, diversification, outsourcing, and company culture. Read more to learn these 5 small business tricks!

Boss Logo
Like What You See? Sign Up for Emails!

Weekly Reads: May 8 - May 12


Black and Hispanic Unemployment Rates Have Never Been Below Those for Whites

"The rate for black Americans has never been less than 66 percent higher than that for whites — and since January 1974, it has been at least twice the rate for whites 80 percent of the time."

Although unemployment rates are at the lowest level in the past 10 years, it is important to point out the disparities along racial lines. In April, the white unemployment rate was 3.8% while the rate for Hispanics was 5.2% and for black people was 7.9%, almost double the national average.


Small-Business Owners Are Split on the Federal Minimum Wage Debate

A recent survey performed by BizBuySell found that, out of 700 small businesses and prospective buyers, 47% support raising the federal minimum wage while 40% oppose the raise from $7.25 an hour, the rate since 2009. The article then looks at the reasoning each side has for their stance as well as how to look at the debate at a state and local level.


Minority Women 8a Certified Business Wins Big During United States SBA Small Business Week

"Women, & especially minority women, are the fastest growing sector of business. Our economy misses out if we don't support them."

In addition to the many StreetWise 'MBA' alum celebrated as their states' Small Business Person of the Year during Small Business Week, Interise instructor Vanessa Best was also chosen as New York's Women Business Champion of The Year, chosen from over 1.6 million businesses. Interise is so honored to have Vanessa teaching the StreetWise 'MBA' to participants on Long Island and in New York City!


Boston Mayor Walsh on Tech Innovation, Job Creation

On the day Mayor Walsh helped break ground at the new GE headquarters, he met with Bloomberg Technology to discuss Boston's innovation and job creation, especially in the tech and biotech sectors. Mayor Walsh also discussed the measures Boston has been taking to tackle the housing crisis as well as inequality in order to continue to be an inclusive city.


The Power Of Building Customer Communities

"Building online customer communities – and getting permission to follow customers home – is how a small business transcends being competitive and achieves the pinnacle position: relevance."

While many small businesses believe just having a website gives them a strong online presence, the author argues that social media has become a must, as customers want to be nudged regularly instead of having to visit the website on their own accord. This, in turn, builds customer communities.


SBA Unveils Funding Opportunity for Firms, Nonprofits That Offer Veteran Training Programs

The Small Business Administration this week announced the "Veteran Federal Procurement Entrepreneurship Training Program", which will give up to $500,000 to organizations that train veteran-owned or service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses on procurement opportunities. The SBA hopes supporting these programs will help VOSB and SDVOSB to better compete for government contracts in the future. In addition, the SBA will be holding a webinar at the end of the month for those interested in the program.


What the Best Transformational Leaders Do

The Harvard Business Review looked at S&P 500 companies and created "The Transformation 10", 10 companies that have shown new growth, core repositioning, and their financial performance during these times of change.

The article then explains 5 criteria that makes the heads of these organizations so successful in transforming them into better, more efficient companies. CEOs can use these 5 guidlines to become transformational leaders themselves, repositioning their companies to be more successful.


J.P. Morgan’s Big Bet on Detroit Is Paying Off

JP Morgan, recently announced they're increasing the Invested in Detroit budget from $100 million to $150 million through 2019, an initiative focused on supporting neighborhood revitalization, small-business development, and job training. The initiative has been very successful to date, and the company hopes the effort will provide a blueprint for companies to do the same in other cities in the US and around the world. JP Morgan now spends 95% of it's philanthropic budget on small-business development, job training, and other community-oriented investments, up from 40% in 2012.


Dell Launches A Machine-Learning Platform For Women Entrepreneurs

Alice, an online platform designed to support female entrepreneurs, was launched this week by partners Dell and Circular Board. The tool offers help with strategy, financing, and technology in addition to connecting users to mentors, experts and events. Dell created the tool to help female entrepreneurs have access to various components needed to start a business that they otherwise would have a hard time finding as mothers and those with a tough schedule.

Like What You See? Sign Up for Emails!

Where Would We Be Without Our Teachers?

Teacher Appreciation Header

Interise instructors are the reason the StreetWise 'MBA'TM continues to prove its success, so it's only fitting to celebrate them during Teacher Appreciation Week! Each instructor brings their unique business knowledge and past experiences to their cohort, often creating relationships with participating business owners that last long after the program's completion. This week, Interise is featuring testimonials shared by business owners in appreciation for their StreetWise 'MBA'TM teachers and instructors!

“Mary is a gifted teacher and instructor. She knew how to capture the interest of our class in an engaging, witty, direct and helpful way. Some of the concepts in class were entirely new to me and she really helped all of us understand how a concept could be applied to any one of our businesses. I also appreciated how she really took the time to listen, understand and customize the material for what our class needed to learn.” - Interise Alum on Mary Marshall; Seattle, WA instructor

“Our instructor was never dull. She made it exciting to come to class and learn how to become great CEOs. She used her only life's examples with a failing hair salon to teach us about businesses. Even though class is over. She continues to motivate us and provide additional opportunities for our businesses to excel.” - Interise Alum on Nicole Cober, Esquire; Baltimore, MD instructor

“Well to start I was not totally into being in this class , but my sister said it would be good for the family business if I was going to take the business into the future with a lot of grumbling I went to the first class and there was Bob Ross all excited and raring to push the class onward. Mind you I was not a fan of going to college and was about to find out I was going to be doing more homework and basic studying and learning our family business all over again. He took me from being defiant to participating to always the first one there in class excited to see Thursday come, he made it so I wanted and needed to be there or I would miss out and that has never happened in all the years of seminars, classes, webinars, etc. I even I had emergency gallbladder surgery and the day I left the hospital I went to class 2 hours later and so to me, that says a lot about Bob. He was valuable in our business landing a 1/4 million dollar a year account from what he had taught and his invaluable insight.” - Interise Alum on Robert BoB Ross; Columbus, OH instructor

Look out for more teacher appreciation features as the week goes on!

For more, check out Interise's StreetWise 'MBA'TM, a game changing capacity-building program recognized by the World Bank and the US Federal Reserve.

Weekly Reads: May 1 - May 5


Houston Ranks No. 1 for Minority Entrepreneurs

"The city recently ranked No. 1 among U.S. cities for cultivating minority-owned businesses, based on such factors as the number and percentage of businesses, the opportunity for finding customers here and the rate at which startups are launched."

Interise is proud to partner with the city of Houston and the Office of Business Opportunity to support minority-owned businesses through the BuildUp Houston program.


Has Trump Helped Small Business During His First 100 Days?

As the Trump administration's 100 day point passes, the author examined 5 storylines that affect small businesses, for better and for worse. He highlights Trump's pledge to help women in business, Linda McMahon's role in the administration, the SBA budget cuts, the promised regulatory relief, and Trump's first address to Congress.


Where Have All the Black-Owned Businesses Gone?

"The role of market concentration in inhibiting black-owned businesses is also troubling because of the critical role that such enterprises have played in organizing and financing the struggle for civil rights in America."

While some of the decline in black-owned businesses can be attributed to increased economic opportunity in the job force, market concentration has made it increasingly difficult for black-owned businesses to open and compete with larger companies. These businesses more times than not get sold to their white competitors.


How Billionaire Linda McMahon Hopes to Help Small Businesses in Her New Role

This article features an interview with Linda McMahon, the administrator for the Small Business Administration and former CEO of WWE, about her agenda for her time as SBA administrator. She covers topics from the small business owners she's met so far to her experience running a business to the tax reform she hopes to see.


60 Percent of Business Owners Approve of Trump's Performance. But That's Not the Whole Story

After the first 100 days of the Trump administration, 60% of small business owners are reported to approve of Trump and believe that his administration will benefit their businesses. However, many owners are approving of his platform rather than belief that the administration will be able to accomplish all they hope to.

Some small business owners see the first 100 days as a sign that there won't be much compromise and therefore not all campaign promises will be passed through. Many also hoped Trump would tackle taxes and regulations first rather than immigration and healthcare.


Women, Minorities Are Still Nearly Shut Out of This $71 Trillion Industry

"The disparity is likely rooted in a perception that investing with women or minorities is riskier, industry officials say."

Many Wall Street firms looking to support diversity do so through hiring women- or minority-owned businesses for contracting and construction, rather than actually hiring diverse employees. In addition, women and minorities have fewer connections to money and strong networks, making it challenging to break into the financial sector.


PayPal's Small-Business Lending Tops $3B As Company Launches New Tools For Small-Business Owners

PayPal's small business financing program has hit $3 billion in financing, three times the amount from a year and a half ago. The company is looking "to change the image that many small businesses have of the online payment-processor’s capabilities" and has been "regularly increasing its financing limits as it works to woo larger borrowers that might otherwise go to a bank".

In addition, they are offering a new service called "Business in a Box", which provides additional resources to small business owners, such as access to a select group of partners for guidance and resources.

Like What You See? Sign Up for Emails!

StreetWise 'MBA' Alumni Celebrated for Impact at 2017 Immigrant Entrepenur Awards


2014 Winner of the Immigrant Entrepreneur Award and 2010 Interise graduate, Victoria Amador(left)

Three StreetWise 'MBA'TM business owners (Daniel Perez; Yessy Feliz; and Jose de la Rosa) were nominated for the 2017 Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards, given each year by the Immigrant Learning Center for four categories (business growth, neighborhood business, high-tech business, and life-science business).

Daniel Perez, a 2017 Interise graduate from Colombia who owns DPV Transportation Worldwide in East Boston, was nominated in the Business Growth category; Yessy Feliz, a current Interise business from Dominican Republic who runs Tails, Inc. in Jamaica Plain, was nominated for Neighborhood Business; and Jose de la Rosa, a 2014 Emerging Leaders graduate from Dominican Republic who owns Guardian Healthcare in Jamaica Plain, won the 2017 Immigrant Entrepreneur Award for Business Growth.

In the past, many StreetWise 'MBA'TM alumni have been nominated for these awards, and two have won in their respective categories. Below is a list of all that have been nominated, with winners in bold, along with the name of their small business, the location, and the year(s) they were nominated:
  • Ruth Francis, P&R Ice Cream and Restaurant, Mattapan (2015)
  • Alberto Calvo, Stop & Compare Supermarkets, Chelsea (2014, 2015)
  • Herby Duverné, Taino Consulting Group, Boston (2016)
  • Colette Phillips, Colette Phillips Communications, Boston (2016)
  • Antonio Rodrigues, TNT Cleaning Services Inc., Assonet (2016)
  • Marc Silva, Somerville Sustainable Cleaning, Cambridge (2014)
  • Rosa and Nisaury Tejeda and Victoria Amador, Tremendous Maid LLC, Jamaica Plain (2014)
  • Jose de la Rosa, Guardian Healthcare in Jamaica Plain (2017)
  • Daniel Perez, DPV Transportation Worldwide in East Boston (2017)
  • Yessy Feliz, Tails, Inc. in Jamaica Plain (2017)
The Immigrant Learning Center, situated in Malden, MA, provides research, business, and learning tools to recent immigrants while also educating the public on the benefits of immigrants in the community. Through ILC's English Learning Program and their Public Education and Research, they give immigrants a voice.

Interise's proven model for accelerating economic development through small business growth in lower-income communities has had impressive impact across the country, as illustrated in the 2016 Impact Report. Celebrate thriving small businesses #AllYearLong!

Why Every Small Business Needs an Attorney


This week, Interise alumni are engaging in Ask an Expert: Law in Small Business, learning from the Baltimore program instructor Nicole Cober, Esquire. Small business owners often think needing an attorney means their business is in trouble, but Cober wants to break this stereotype and show that it is important to have an attorney before something goes wrong. She is discussing what small business owners should seek counsel for, as well as best practices for communicating effectively with counsel, how to hire, and when small business owners need full time staff within their counsel.

What Business Owners Are Asking about Legal Matters

Employment manuals are an extremely vital part of any business. According to the National Federation of Independent Businesses, at a minimum your employee handbook should contain the following six items: (1) an employment at-will disclaimer (section 1.3); (2) a statement regarding equal employment opportunity (section 2.1); (3) a policy prohibiting unlawful discrimination and harassment (section 2.2); (4) a section that describes the policy for use of company property and privacy rules (section 3); (5) a section on employment classification and overtime rules (section4); (6) a policy on Family and Medical Leave if you have 50 or more employees (section 6.3); and (7) a section on Safety (section 9). You should also consider including a disciplinary guideline (section 8). Please contact an attorney in your state to help you create and review the local regulations that apply to your business and its individual circumstances.

Teaming agreements are not easy but they are straight forward in terms of...the terms. You and the business partner need to first sit down and stamp out the big picture items--what are you going to do, what are they going to do; for how much; when will you begin; when will you end; what will happen if a dispute arises; who has decision making authority, etc. Once you have this important meeting, WRITE DOWN THE DETAIL SUMMARY. Now...you are ready to call an attorney. You have the facts and details together. You will now present them to an attorney and the attorney will take a template and draft or tailor it to meet your specific needs. The more detail you do upfront on the terms of the agreement, the more focused time an attorney can spend on drafting and counseling. You can ask for flat fees for contract drafting too because at that time, the attorney can now look at your detail summary and give a measured answer about how many hours the agreement will take. Also, find an attorney that focuses on small business and contract law. Those will hopefully focus on the small entrepreneur and want to be sensitive about budgets.

"So much of small business touches areas of the law that are relevant to compliance. Whether it be employees that you hire, marketing and advertising laws, regulatory issues, or real estate. Think of an attorney as an advisor or counselor. A wise business owner wants to be proactive in putting a lawyer on their team before they need a lawyer on their team.

I'd encourage business owners to stop thinking of only needing a lawyer after your in trouble, but thinking of them as an advisor at the beginning of a decision-making process. You will save a lot of money, time and heartache working with a lawyer in a "counselor" role rather than a litigation role."
- Nicole Cober, Esquire.

Interise's Ask an Expert series is facilitated by the Interise Continual Engagement program and occurs every month for an entire week. Continual Engagement refers to the programs and resources that Interise offers to alumni of the StreetWise ‘MBA’TM curriculum. It is also a way that Interise works to support partners’ organizational capacity – they can implement programs or best practices from the Interise Continual Engagement team, or gain inspiration to create something that works best for their respective community.

For more, check out Interise's StreetWise 'MBA'TM, a game changing capacity-building program recognized by the World Bank and the US Federal Reserve.