A microbusiness initiative developed by the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) and GoDaddy will expand into 26 states and the District of Columbia, the organizations announced in a joint press release.
Based in Washington, D.C., AEO is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to the development of a robust marketplace for underserved microbusinesses. GoDaddy is a leading internet domain registrar and web hosting company headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz. Their initiative, Empower by GoDaddy, is designed to give microbusiness owners in underserved communities the tools, skills and mentorship needed to build a successful digital presence.
“AEO’s report, Reimagining Technical Assistance: Shifting the Support Landscape for Main Street, highlighted the importance of personalized solutions for the barriers that impede the growth of underserved businesses,” AEO President and CEO Connie Evans said in the press release. “Main Street is stretched thin. People are doing more with less. So to help level the online playing field, we have partnered with the best in digital marketing and community organizations on the ground to give low-wealth entrepreneurs what they need to accelerate growth and increase success.”
Through participating Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), small and microbusiness owners and entrepreneurs looking to start their own venture will have access to custom online workshops created by GoDaddy and support from GoDaddy coaches in group and webinar settings. Additional resources include mentorship and networking opportunities. Topics of the workshops include branding your domain name, evaluating your business, creating the right content, getting online and building a website, getting found using SEO, social media, e-commerce, among others.
Business owners taking part in the program will also receive customized marketing education assets; access to webinars, blogs, and videos pertaining to course curriculum; and free GoDaddy products to establish an online presence. Member organizations that have partnered with GoDaddy and AEO for the program currently reach underserved demographics in rural and urban areas, including veterans, women, people of color, immigrants, refugees, returning citizens, seniors, and members of the LGBTQ community. Program length and other components will vary by organization.
“GoDaddy knows that inclusive entrepreneurship fuels local economies, ultimately improving lives,” said Stacy Cline, GoDaddy’s director of corporate citizenship. “We believe that anyone, anywhere should have an equal opportunity to make their entrepreneurial dreams a reality. But we also know that some people don’t have access to the right tools and support to get them going. For the last two years, we’ve worked hard to bring this program to more entrepreneurs, and we are excited to expand our impact with AEO. Empower by GoDaddy seeks to find solutions that are tailored for each community, and we are thrilled to use our knowledge and resources to help underserved entrepreneurs in a way that makes a lasting impact.”
States included in the national rollout are Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Washington, D.C.
To learn more about the program, visit www.aeoworks.org/our-work/cohorts/empower/