Helping small businesses get access to capital

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been actively working on ways to support communities and small businesses in the United States and around the world. In March, we announced the $125 million Grow with Google Small Business Fund as one way to offer support. Through a partnership with Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), the fund provides low-interest loans to community development financial institutions (CDFI), who in turn provide loans to small businesses in underserved communities in the U.S. also made a $5 million grant to OFN to further support CDFIs as they grow their capital and build their capacity during this time of crisis. 

Earlier today, as part of our effort to support the Black community, our CEO Sundar Pichai announced that we are expanding the program by adding $45 million in loans to the fund and $5 million in grants to OFN, with a specific focus on Black communities. This brings Google’s total support for CDFIs and the small businesses they serve to $170 million in loans and $10 million in grants.

Today we’re announcing the first five CDFIs, which will receive a total of $15.5 million in financing from OFN. They will provide loans to small businesses to help them make rent, pay their employees and continue to serve their customers. This financing will enable OFN’s member CDFIs to improve access to capital for some of the most underserved small businesses: those owned by women and minorities. In addition, six CDFIs will each receive a $125,000 from OFN, made from the grant funds provided by

Here are the CDFIs which will receive the first round of funding.

Although most CDFIs are not household names, they play a vital role for small businesses throughout the U.S., many of whom are overlooked by traditional lenders. According to OFN’s 2018 Member Survey, their over 300 member CDFIs serve 58 percent people of color, 85 percent people with low incomes, 26 percent people who live in rural areas, and 48 percent women. 

Since announcing the Grow with Google Small Business Fund, we’ve worked hand-in-hand with OFN to create a holistic program that includes low-interest loans, funding for cash grants, Ad Grants and digital skills training through Grow with Google, our economic opportunity initiative. Over the next year, Google and OFN will continue to work together to underwrite and fund loans to additional CDFIs, which will then lend to thousands of small businesses. Through this partnership and program, we hope we can do our part to make sure small businesses remain the heart of the U.S. economy.

4 Lessons To Learn From Delta’s DR Failure

Delta is paying big for the IT outage that occurred last month: millions of dollars in damages, 2300 cancelled flights, and significant reputational damage. Despite the harsh cut to the airline’s bottom line, Delta will probably still survive. But the real question is this: Can your business survive after long periods of downtime? A natural disaster, power outage, or successful hack can be the downfall of many small- to medium-sized businesses. But if you learn from the lessons of Delta’s IT mishap, your organization has a good chance of staying on its feet.

Strive for 100% redundancy

According to Delta’s chief information officer, a power failure caused the company’s data center to crash, grounding thousands of would-be passengers. Although power was restored six hours after the incident, critical systems and network equipment failed to switch to a secondary site, corrupting valuable data in the process. And while some systems failed over, other vital applications didn’t; this created bottlenecks, decreased revenue and diminished customers’ confidence

Delta’s case is a massive wake up call not just for the airline industry but for every business -- large and small. Companies must implement disaster recovery plans for their data centers, on-site technology, and Cloud applications to continue servicing customers while fixing the main issue with their primary systems.

Companies also need to get rid of the false notion that redundancy plans to assure service continuity is restricted to larger corporations. DR and business continuity solutions are extremely affordable today, and a partnership with a provider can help you in more ways than one (more on this later).
Always test your backups
So although Delta had a plan to bring its business back to normalcy, the DR plan left a lot to be desired in practice. This begs the question as to whether the airline company is actually testing, reviewing, and reinforcing its vulnerabilities to different disasters.
The point is that even though your company may have a failover protocol in place, that protocol adds no value to your business unless it has been rigorously tried and tested. In order to avoid the same fate as Delta, make sure to find out whether your disaster recovery plan is capable of running mission-critical applications like email and customer service applications before -- not after -- downtime occurs.
Account for different types of vulnerability
In an interview with the Associated Press, Delta CEO Ed Bastian said, “We did not believe, by any means, that we had this type of vulnerability.” Indeed, it’s often hard to foresee what threats and vulnerabilities a natural disaster, power outage, or hacker can produce.But it’s not impossible.

By conducting a comprehensive audit of your data center security and disaster protocols, your business will be more aware and adept at minimizing the risk of potential disasters. This also means evaluating and preparing for disasters that are likely to happen to your business depending on its geographic location. Southern US, for instance, is prone to hurricanes and flooding.
Call for help
These lessons and strategies are all crucially important, but pulling off a DR and business continuity solution on your own may be difficult. For this reason, it’s critical to have a planned partnership with a managed services provider that can assess, plan, test and install the continuity solutions your business needs in order to minimize the impact and avoid encountering a Delta IT outage of your own
To find out more about business continuity and guaranteeing complete IT redundancy, contact us today.
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Published with permission from Source.