Small Business

Laura Lund, a restaurant owner from Berea, OH found all her positive Yelp reviews gone after she refused to pay for the company’s advertising services. Now she is urging all her remaining customers to steer clear of Yelp and use other review platforms such as Trip Advisor, Facebook, and Google.Relying on Yelp to choose where to eat, have a drink or get a haircut has become commonplace in the fifteen years the reviews website has been around. Numerous studies on the effect online reviews have on businesses that have been conducted in recent years show these websites way heavily with consumers’ decision-making process. The one by Review Trackers suggests that more than 33 percent of diners will not choose to eat in a restaurant with less than a 4-star rating on online review sites like Yelp, Google, and TripAdvisor.Now imagine you’re a restaurant owner who wakes up one day to find all the positive Yelp reviews gone and only the negative ones left on the platform.That’s exactly what happened to Laura Lund, the owner of The Lazy Bee restaurant in Berea, OH, after she refused to pay for Yelp’s advertising services. Four months after opening her restaurant, she was approached by the review platform about obtaining their advertising services. Lund says she did not return their calls and was shocked by the repercussions. "Why were all of the good reviews hidden and only the bad ones left up? To me that seems like bullying," Lund told News 5 Cleaveland.Unfortunately, this small business owner from Ohio isn’t the first one to accuse Yelp of unfairly treating businesses that decline Yelp’s advertising services. Many business owners have complained about foul play and bullying by the company over the years. More than a thousand of them have reported the ‘pay-and-play’ scheme deployed by Yelp to the Better Business Bureau, a non-profit organization that strives to create a fair marketplace. Ironically, the BBB awarded Yelp a one-star rating accompanied by a slew of negative reviews.Other businesses have pursued the matter even further, filing class action suits against the social reviews website, but to little effect. In January 2018, a group of business owners from Dallas sued the review website for removing the five-star ratings after they too declined to pay for advertising services. And back in February 2010, Yelp was sued for asking businesses to pay the company in exchange for the removal of negative reviews. Ultimately, courts ruled in favor of the San Francisco-based reviews platform. Aware of the failure other small business owners experienced in courts in the past, Lund feels her best chance at getting back at Yelp is to speak directly to her customers, advising them against using Yelp and diverting them to other review platforms."It could hurt our business, our livelihood and affect our children in the end. I felt like their practices were deceptive. This is just the beginning of people lashing out at them and saying you either need to change your ways or we're going to let our customers know not to use your site,” said Lund.

By Ivana V. July 12,2019

If the Small Business Cybersecurity Assistance Act makes it through the Congress, U.S. small businesses will gain access to top-notch cybersecurity training, consulting, tools, and resources developed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).Sens. Gary Peters (D-MI) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) recently introduced the Act. If the bipartisan bill goes through, it will enable the DHS and Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) to work together towards developing rock-solid cybersecurity strategies that help small businesses ward off cyber attacks.Small businesses are frequent targets of cybercriminals since they lack the financial resources to implement robust cybersecurity defenses. DHS’s expertise, together with a managed security service provider’s experience, could make small businesses less susceptible to attacks.The bill authorizes U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to become a cybersecurity clearinghouse with access to cybersecurity materials, resources and protocols belonging to the federal government.Once the collaboration is approved, and plans and strategies are developed, small businesses would be able to find all the information they need to stay safe in one place. SDBC counselors would also receive training from DHS specialists for cybersecurity outreach to small businesses.The Act allows SBDCs to use their SBA grant funding to deliver technical cybersecurity training and resources to small businesses. The DHS must first develop online cybersecurity materials tailored for small businesses.When particularly successful cyber attacks hit small businesses, their networks and the ability to operate are compromised. It takes businesses days and even weeks at a time to resume their work, all the while adding costs in money, clients, and hurting the company image. The financial ramifications can be detrimental to the victims’ future, and some small businesses might never recover.The bipartisan bill reduces cybersecurity risks small businesses face on a daily basis, by providing greater access to key resources and training. Once the employees and owners are able to recognize cyber threats and react promptly, businesses can better protect themselves before a cyber attack even occurs.Some of the bill’s mechanics originate from the Small Business Development Cyber Strategy report by DHS and the SBA. Peters and Rubio referenced the report a great deal when they debuted the bill, as it details the usual setbacks and challenges small businesses face when implementing a cybersecurity strategy.In March 2018, Rubio introduced two other similar bills concerning small business cybersecurity. The Small Business Cyber Training Act would authorize SBDC counselors to provide cyber planning assistance to small businesses. On the other hand, the Small Business Administration (SBA) Cyber Awareness Act would require the SBA to come up with a cybersecurity strategy. The Senate has yet to vote on both bills.Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO) introduced the companion legislation in the House two months ago. The bipartisan measure is not part of the House version of the yearly National Defense Authorization Act.

By Andrea July 11,2019

The Wharton Small Business Development Center, a division of the Snider Research Center of Wharton Entrepreneurship, is closing at the end of July.The decision was made after two years of careful assessment. The number of existing small-business support services in the area and their impact were prime factors. Wharton decided it’s no longer as useful and rewarding in the role of a small business supporter due to the abundant availability of similar resources. Instead, Wharton is expected to focus on “evidence-based entrepreneurship,” according to Karl Ulrich, vice dean of entrepreneurship and innovation at Wharton, who oversees the Wharton SBDC. This term stands for translating the useful and practical but still somewhat scholarly literature on what makes a business successful into actionable tools.For almost 40 years, thousands of small businesses and entrepreneurs have benefited from Wharton’s free and low-cost services. Highly esteemed Ivy League business professors and students contributed to the once indispensable resource for U.S. startups. Sabre Systems, Urban Outfitters, and Destination Maternity all sought advice from this once prominent institution. Della Clark is the president of another such business - the Enterprise Center. This West Philadelphia nonprofit has been preparing minorities for entrepreneurship since 1989, when it was founded by Wharton SBDC. “We wouldn’t exist today if they didn’t have the vision to open up the Enterprise Center,” she said.As a part of the Wharton program, participating students and professors would assist entrepreneurs in putting together business and marketing plans, applying for bank loans, and overcoming strategic issues. Every year, the program provided one-on-one training to between 350 and 550 clients, along with workshops for another 500 of them. Wharton Small Business Development Center is a division of the Snider Research Center of Wharton Entrepreneurship. The state Department of Community and Economic Development, as well as the U.S. Small Business Association, have been contributing to the program with a total of $500,000 per year.  “Because Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship priorities are not fully aligned with the PA SBDC mission, we would prefer to release our public funding back to the network so that those resources can be deployed at other SBDCs around the commonwealth,” Ulrich commented.Ulrich added that there is another contributing factor to the closing of Wharton other than the proliferation of privately owned incubators for startups in Philadelphia. Amy Gutmann, president of the University of Pennsylvania, chose to put special emphasis on technology and life sciences as future entrepreneurial ventures. The result was the Pennovation Center—a tech-focused incubator opened in 2016, back when Wharton’s future was first called into question. On Monday, Ernie Post, state director of Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers, stated that about 75% of the funding initially meant for Wharton SBDC will be allocated to Widener SBDC, in an effort to expand its influence beyond Delaware County into Philadelphia.Lenin Agudo, director of Widener SBDC, said his mission is to form partnerships with entrepreneurial groups in the Philadelphia area. “It’s a big challenge, but at the same time it’s an opportunity to deliver innovative programming to Philadelphia-area entrepreneurs,” Agudo said.

By Andrea July 09,2019

Extending tax cuts to small businesses, families, and individuals will cost almost $920 billion through 2029, according to Congress’s non-partisan scorekeeper.According to a report issued on Monday by the Joint Committee on Taxation, the cuts would increase the deficit by $1 trillion over the next ten years. Admittedly, the Committee projected economic growth of only 0.7% per year.On the other hand, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s report suggests the tax cuts and the overall budget would stimulate economic growth to 2.9% per year in the same period. The projected prosperity and tax revenue would be enough to offset the tax cuts. A Politico report estimated that, following the tax cuts, all additional revenue from increased economic growth would go toward paying for them. The cost might be too high for the tax cuts to pay for themselves, further increasing debt and deficit. All the projected figures would add to the $1.5 trillion tax overhaul from back in 2017 when the Congress passed a law featuring a wide array of temporary tax cuts such as generous child tax credits, a 20% deduction on pass-through businesses profits, and lower individual rates. In spite of the seemingly for-the-people attitude behind the 2017 law, Democrats have criticized it for having made tax cuts for individuals and small business temporary, while making the tax cuts for corporations permanent.The 2017 temporary tax breaks for individuals and small businesses will all expire in 2025, but Trump’s fiscal year 2020 budget request is likely to request that they be made permanent. The permanent corporate tax changes cut the rate to 21%.Nevertheless, this decision is unlikely to sit well with the Senate. Still under Republican rule, the House attempted to make individual tax cuts permanent last year, likely in search of political support on the eve of the midterm elections. The Senate refused to advance the bill. The next conflicting decision lawmakers will be forced to make will hit them in 2025, the expiration year for individual tax cuts. They will be forced to choose between extending the expensive cuts or raising taxes on families and small businesses right before the 2026 midterm elections.Still, this issue is not unheard of, since lawmakers of both parties are prone to extending tax breaks into infinity rather than making them permanent. The two-party system results in members being reluctant to erase the changes they had initially inserted into the code. Tax cuts passed in 2001, which were later enhanced by George W. Bush were set to expire in 2010. They ended up being extended for two additional years. One must also keep in mind that the 2017 decision to enable the individual tax cuts was driven by necessity rather than a particular political opinion. Lawmakers were supposed to fit the cuts within the $1.5 trillion loss the Congress had previously allotted. The lawmakers then claimed they would vote to extend the cuts at a later time.

By Andrea July 09,2019

For the sixth consecutive year, the federal government has exceeded its goal for small business federal contracting. According to the  U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), 25.05% in federal contract money has been awarded to small businesses, totaling $120.8 billion. That’s nearly $15 billion more than the previous fiscal year. According to The Fiscal Year 2018 Small Business Federal Procurement Scorecard, last year was the first time more than $120 in prime contracts was awarded to small businesses.Chris Pilkerton, the Acting Administrator, said that this overall investment works towards strengthening the economy and supporting the American workforce. His example of this influence is the million jobs created as a result of these stimuli to small businesses.In FY2018, the government exceeded its subcontract goals for service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses. The prime contract dollar awards in all small business categories have also increased from previous years. The subcontract goals for awards to women-owned small businesses have been exceeded as well. SBA collaborates with federal agencies to help small business contractors compete and win federal contracts. This resource backed by the federal government empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners to grow their businesses, form partnerships, and improve local economies. The FY2018 prime contracting and subcontracting small business performance scorecard graded the federal government with an overall “A”. One agency got a “C”, three others got a “B”, twelve received an “A”, and eight agencies were awarded an “A+”. The annual Procurement Scorecard assesses the way federal agencies reach small business and socio-economic prime contracting (and subcontracting) goals. It also reveals transparent and accurate contracting data and provides an outline of agency-specific progress. The subcontracting component consists of goals for small businesses, women-owned small businesses, service-disabled veteran-owned businesses, small disadvantaged businesses, and small businesses located in Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZones).SBA works with every agency on a yearly basis to meet the annual goals they agreed upon. The specific goals are different for every federal agency, and the SBA tries to make the sum total of all the goals exceed the 23% target. It also tries to meet the socio-economic goals established by law.  SBA offers additional assistance to federal agencies, helping them identify potential contract data anomalies in their otherwise independent assessments. The SBA helps the federal agency procurement staff review data, implement improvements to procurement systems, and improve accuracy.To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.

By Andrea July 08,2019

The Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED) has awarded a total of $500,000 in tax credits to seven Missouri-based small business incubators as a part of its Small Business Incubator program. Each year, the program offers resources and support to early-stage small business incubators. The idea is to help incubators leverage funds to generate working capital and cover non-operating expenditures. The incubators are then able to help entrepreneurs grow and support job creation in the region.A strong network of professionals offering professional assistance to startups and SMBs is of vital importance for economic development. By nurturing small business incubators, the SBI program helps drive entrepreneurship and improve the work environment in local communities.Once an approved incubator receives sponsor contributions within the calendar year, it qualifies for tax credits. Until the program reaches its annual funding, decisions are made on a first-come basis. Ever since the program was first launched, twenty-three Missouri incubators have obtained certification.The following incubators have been approved for 2019:The eFactory (Springfield) $100,000.This training center, support network, and business incubator opened in March 2013. Its services cover everything from office space to custom training for businesses and growing companies throughout southwest Missouri. Center for Emerging Technologies (St. Louis) $95,000.Founded in 1998, CET is the biggest and oldest Innovation Center in Missouri. It has spent decades providing early-stage, high growth companies dealing with IT, bioscience, and manufacturing with the resources and infrastructure needed for their development. MU Life Science Business Incubator (Columbia) $85,162.In close collaboration with the University of Missouri, this facility supports and evaluates companies interested in their 33,000 square feet of office space located on the Missouri campus. This outlet for internship opportunities, research, and full-time job opportunities is available to the faculty staff, as well as the students right after graduation.Joseph Newman Business and Technology Innovation Center (St. Joseph) $65,074.This SMB incubator’s one mission is to support and promote entrepreneurs, especially those contributing to job creation and technology innovation. Its many SMB development programs enhance regional economic opportunities.Ozarks Small Business Incubator (West Plains) $55,264.OzSBI offers resources designed to maximize startup and SMB potential. It helps entrepreneurs develop business plans, market products, and raise money. It also provides training from experienced mentors to help owners improve local entrepreneurial success rates. St. Louis Fashion Fund (St. Louis) $50,000.Founded by Susan Sherman in 2014, this group of passionate Saint Louisans supports emerging designers. They provide valuable insights and fashion education to the Saint Louis City community in an effort to revitalize the district and help grow its impact on the fashion industry. IT Entrepreneur Network (St. Louis) $49,500.This SMB incubator supports scalable tech ventures with its state-of-the-art rapid development programs. Experienced, trained entrepreneurs work hard to pass their knowledge on to business owners, and help them build up successful companies. The chosen seven Missouri incubators may use the funds for working capital and other non-operating expenditures, all with the aim of creating new business opportunities.

By Andrea July 08,2019

A recent report from the National Federation of Independent Business showed a decline in several labor-market indicators for small U.S. businesses. The monthly survey published on Thursday suggests signs of cooling before the government’s employment report, expected to be released on Friday.  In a three-month low, the share of small businesses with the intention of hiring new people fell by two percentage points, down to 19%. The proportion of businesses claiming they weren't able to fill openings dropped to 36%, the lowest result since January, according to the report. Additionally, 28% of the companies reported raising compensation, a whopping six percentage point decline. That’s the weakest result since 2017. The share of companies expecting to boost wages also dwindled. On Friday, the Labor Department will release employment data for June. The collected info should affect the Federal Reserve’s interest rate cuts debate scheduled for later this month.If payroll gains are shown to be low for the second month in a row, the results will strengthen the borrowing costs reduction forecasts. Monthly surveys dating back to 1986, along with the quarterly surveys from as far back as 1974, all add up to the Small Business Economic Trends data collection, put together by the NFIB Research Foundation. Survey respondents are all members of NFIB. The 2019 survey reflects a random sample of 10,000 small business owners/members.If the Friday report strays too far from the consensus predictions, government analysts and investors will be forced to adjust their views.  Currently, the market is pricing somewhat over a quarter-point of easing for this month’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting. This could mean that a 50-basis point reduction is possible, but so is a 25-basis-point cut. “The current labor shortage is the biggest issue facing the small business economy,” said Bill Dunkelberg, NFIB Chief Economist. That’s no surprise since as many as 36% of business owners claimed they could not fill job openings at the current time, and 10% reported using temporary workers. The survey collected data from business owners belonging to several industries. In the construction sector, 49% of business owners reported openings, 90% of which were meant for skilled workers. Additionally, 69% of transportation services reported job openings, with 87% of job offers looking for skilled professionals.  The surveyed business owners reported difficulties with finding skilled workers. Over half (58%) of businesses either hired or tried to hire more people (down 4 points from the previous month). And yet, 86% claimed not a single qualified person applied.They specified that by “qualified”, they mean people with position-appropriate skills, coupled with the right attitude, appearance, social skills, work history, and of course, payment requirements. 

By Andrea July 05,2019

As a part of San Francisco’s recent initiative to encourage the use of reusables, the city’s shoppers might start getting charged 25 cents per plastic checkout bag.  The business advisory panel stood in support of Supervisor Vallie Brown’s proposal to raise the charge on checkout bags. On Monday, the Board of Supervisors Land Use and Transportation Committee will vote on the proposal. If approved, it would take effect in July 2020.According to the new legislation, pre-checkout plastic bags should be banned entirely. Mainly used for produce and bulk items, these bags ought to be replaced with recyclable or compostable variants. The commission unanimously recommended legislation approval.The ultimate goal is to get rid of paper bags as well, by prioritizing the use of reusable bags as the one solution that’s the least damaging to the environment. In ten other cities in California, the current checkout bag fee is 10 cents. The price hike is intended to boost the use of reusables and cut down on waste. On the other hand, Small Business Commission Vice President Mark Dwight said that assessing the true effectiveness and financial impact of the new fee might be harder than we thought. He suggested the legislation might not address the problem adequately, despite its good intentions, in part because of a lack of data. The Department of Environment has agreed to do a study on the current use of plastic and reusable bags, the San Francisco Examiner confirmed Wednesday. Before the new legislation takes effect, it would be a good idea to estimate the number of people who use reusable bags. The success of the new legislation will then be easier to measure. A 2012 informal survey following the introduction of the 10 cent bag fee revealed that around 60% of shoppers bring their own, reusable bags. Department officials who conducted the survey also keep track of the statistics throughout the state. They noted that 90% of shoppers bring their own bags in other jurisdictions with 25 cent fees.  Small Business Commission chair Stephen Adams took issue with the charge but ultimately voted for the proposal. “I don’t like this,” Adams said. “I worry about the poor and low-income people, who do bring a bag but for whatever reason what if they forget?”Brown added that people on food stamps would not be required to pay for the bags. Alexa Kelty, a zero waste specialist at the San Francisco Department of the Environment, warned about the dangers of thicker plastic bags as the more affordable replacements for paper bags. The 2016 voter-approved state law allows the use of thicker plastic bags, and the new legislation should limit or otherwise put an end to this trend. Still, plastic bags aren’t Brown’s only concern. She also wants to address the materials used in home deliveries, such as Amazon products and meal kits. The city officials should look into limiting the use of materials such as bubble wrap and plastic meal kits.  Department store plastic bags are only a part of the recycling issues San Francisco has to address, and Brown believes that “ there will be another piece of legislation addressing that.”

By Andrea July 05,2019

On July 3, the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) launched a pilot training program for military veterans who are also small business owners. Members of veterans’ immediate families are also eligible to participate.In a partnership with the Veteran Entrepreneurial Training and Resource Network (VETRN), the small business resource will provide training, mentors, and professional network free of charge. Reportedly, $100,000 in grant funds will be awarded to VETRN to implement the program. The 26-week  program will take place in Portsmouth, NH, and the primary mission is to help veterans grow their businesses. An army of experts will assist veterans in achieving the business success they aspire toward as small business owners. Starting in September 2019, the program will consist of thirteen weeks of class sessions with 12-20 participants and another thirteen weeks (100 hours) of peer-to-peer mentoring.Veterans will learn about financial management, cash flow forecasting, sales methods, access to capital, legal issues, small business marketing, and integrate this knowledge by building strategic growth plans which are likely to bring long-term success. The training will also include classes related to the details of government contracting. Chris Pilkerton, the SBA Acting Administrator, said that, while there is a number of programs out there that aim to help people start a small business, very few will address growing a pre-existing business. "Adding VETRN to the SBA resource network will enable us to fill this gap and empower veterans with the training, mentorship, tools, and network they need to achieve their long-term goals," Pilkerton said. To be considered eligible for the program, veterans must be current business owners, employing at least one person other than themselves. Their businesses should be in operation for at least a year before the start of training and have annual revenue of $75,000 or more. Each participant will be assigned at least one mentor.About the U.S. Small Business AdministrationThe U.S. Small Business Administration’s mission is to try and make the American dream a reality for as many people as possible. The SBA is the only small business resource backed by the federal government and is a go-to choice for business owners. It works hard on empowering small business owners and entrepreneurs, offering appropriate training likely to help people start and grow their business, as well as recover from setbacks. To learn more about other SBA veterans programs and resources, visit www.sba.gov/vets.

By Andrea July 04,2019

The AI-based small business loan platform Kabbage is adding more fuel to its lending machine with an additional $200 million influx.20 Gates Management and Atalaya Capital Management are administering and managing an unnamed subsidiary of a large, unnamed life insurance company that provided the startup’s revolving credit facility. Kabbage is backed and venture funded by SoftBank, Reverence Capital Partners, Thomvest Ventures, and others. The Atlanta-based company’s money arrived soon after a $700 million securitization only three months prior. The three-year credit facility terms are particularly telling since they reflect the continuous high level of confidence in the company’s success. With loans amounting to $250,000 per deal, Kabbage has built quite an SMB platform for itself. What truly sets the company apart is the unique loan approval process, or rather its length: from start to finish the whole operation takes mere minutes. Their speedy process is disruptive to the traditional method of applying for bank loans, which often take longer to close, and also come with higher rates if they do get approved. Leveraging the big data from all over the web, Kabbage is able to make choices which are both fast and safe. It uses indicators from eligible companies’ own public activities, but that’s not all. With “2 million live data connections” of additional resources, Kabbage incorporates comparative information from across a wider group of similar companies to its algorithm, delivering dependable results.Kabbage was last valued at $1.2 billion in an equity round from the Vision Fund in 2017, and about $500 million were raised in equity from its many investors. Along with an impressive equity story, Kabbage’s origin story also adds tremendous value to its image and trustworthiness. To date, it has loaned out $7 billion in capital collected via securitization and other facilities, to as many as 185,000 businesses.On top of that, the company has measured increased business activity over the last two years. In Q2 of 2018, Kabbage loaned nearly $700 million, beating its Q1 record of $600 million. This score puts the company on track to loan out between $2.4 billion and $3 billion in 2019.Direct consumer relationships are behind most of Kabbage’s user pool, but the company has also been expanding via third-party connections. Many white-label partnerships with banks serve to fuel their own loan opportunities for SMBs. Earlier this year, Kabbage was also picked up by Alibaba, an eCommerce giant that wants to help the finance purchases of its small business customers with up to  $150,000. This collaboration is a part of Alibaba’s attempt at building its business in the U.S. by way of its quiet acquisition of OpenSky.

By Andrea July 03,2019

In support of 53 local small businesses, The Detroit Economic Growth Corp. will provide funding or other assistance in cash grants through Motor City Match. Reportedly, 11 of the winning businesses are receiving nearly $500,000 in a matching grant competition that supports entrepreneurship in Detroit. The other companies received business plans, space, or design awards.One gaming and entertainment business will receive a $60,000 cash award to help renovate a building and purchase furniture and equipment. Other winners include a coffee shop, a certified nurses’ aide training center, a clothier, and a microbrewery. The program aims to build up retail density by providing help with building plans, space, and design. Over 1,300 entrepreneurs have benefited from the program during its five-year lifetime. To qualify for the MCM grants, businesses must be based in Detroit for at least two years, enough to demonstrate a benefit to the local community.According to Detroit Economic Growth Corp. Chief Executive Kevin Johnson, “small-business success is crucial to the overall prosperity of Detroit, including adding neighborhood jobs.”DEGC is a vital citywide tool in supporting businesses and bringing in new companies and investments to stimulate the local economy. It has also been deploying both place-based and job creation strategies, from identifying potential development opportunities and negotiating agreements, to managing construction projects.An advocate for local businesses of all sizes, DEGC’s economic development experts have been eliminating growth obstacles and creating new opportunities to both emerging and expanding businesses.Since its inception, the Motor City Match has awarded $7.5M in cash grants to as many as 170 entrepreneurs on their way from “idea to open.” Business owners belonging to minority groups account for 81% of grant winners, 70% are women, and 63% are Detroit residents.“Small-business success is crucial to the overall prosperity of Detroit, including adding neighborhood jobs, building our city’s middle class, and creating a culture of entrepreneurialism in the city,” said Kevin Johnson. “The MCM program launched as the first of its kind in the country nearly five years ago. Fast forward to 2019, and we’re seeing increased small-business density in our commercial corridors and new opportunity for residents to share Detroit’s prosperity.”

By Andrea July 02,2019

The mental health of business owners reflects on the local economy and affects millions of lives. Understanding the mental health risks and the pressures business owners face is, therefore, of utmost importance for the population as a whole. In 2019, the Mental Health Association (CMHA) and the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) both recognized this concern and decided to join forces and conduct in-depth research on the mental health of Canadian business owners. Titled, “Going it Alone: the Mental Health and Well-Being of Entrepreneurs in Canada,” the study aims to identify key issues and find ways to improve entrepreneurs' mental health by implementing appropriate health protection measures. The report is based on a survey of nearly 500 entrepreneurs. As many as 46% of entrepreneurs experienced low mood or mental fatigue, while 62% were hit hard by depression at least once a week. 46% of business owners also reported that mental health issues and exhaustion affected their ability to work. Still, in spite of the results some may find worrisome, only 20% of entrepreneurs claimed that they felt the need to seek health support or services. On the other hand, 79% of respondents reported feeling satisfied with their mental health at least once a week. There’s a number of obstacles on the business owners’ path to seeking help, number one (36%) being the mental health stigma. Entrepreneurs often fail to report mental health issues for fear of negative repercussions and resort to just running with it instead. Ironically, 46% of those surveyed reported their organization is working towards ending mental health stigma, according to the report. Mental health costs (34%) and the lack of access to adequate support (22%) are some additional setbacks. Some issues seem to plague female entrepreneurs at a higher frequency than their male counterparts, according to the report. This includes a depressed mood, feelings of inadequacy, and being overwhelmed. Also, entrepreneurs whose businesses are still in the early stages of development report more mental issues. A growing business with an uncertain future, sources of funding, or growth rate is a minefield of potential stressors, so this comes as no surprise. Creating a safe environment where business owners can address their mental health issues, anxieties, and worries is of major importance. People must be able to report their condition without any repercussions.Even though the study was conducted in Canada, the situation in the U.S. is unlikely to be much better.In an emailed release, Brian Fielkow, the CEO of Jetco Delivery, said: “I’m not shocked by this at all. Based on what I see with my clients, I expect that this rate is even higher in the United States. Business owners are so busy taking care of their employees that they forget to take care of themselves. They also hide their depressed feelings to keep up company morale.”In conclusion, the report states, “We need a more nuanced narrative that allows entrepreneurs to show their vulnerability and ask for help when they need it.”

By Andrea July 01,2019