In today’s fast-paced economy, digital readiness is about more than internet access. It’s about equipping entrepreneurs with the tools and resources they need to foster growth in an increasingly online marketplace.
But with the rise of digital tools from AI to new ways of social networking, how can small business owners identify the most useful strategies to achieve their goals? In fact, a recent survey found that 61% of small business owners say the opportunity to speak with e-commerce experts who can help establish a digital presence, digital branding or social media engagement would be helpful because they want to navigate next year.
That’s exactly where Global Citizen partner Verizon steps in through the Small Business Digital Ready program—a dedicated online platform built with and for small businesses, the heart of our communities. This portal supports Verizon’s broader goal of helping equip every small business, regardless of size or resources, with the means to harness the full potential of the digital economy.
V’Esther Goode, chef and owner of Boomer’s Kitchen & Catering, credits the Verizon Small Business Digital Ready portal with a newfound sense of confidence. Before taking portal courses, Good often felt stressed about running her business. Now, with 10 courses and coaching sessions under her belt, Good feels empowered to take her business to the next level. Her five-year plan includes owning a commercial kitchen, increasing corporate catering and hiring more employees.
“In the beginning, [this business] it was just getting my son through college,” Goode reflected. “But now I know it’s something I can leave a legacy with. When I’m gone, my kids will have something to go on. My family will have something to be proud of.”
Verizon Small Business Digital Ready: A Closer Look
Verizon Small Business Digital Ready is part of Verizon’s goal to support 1 million small businesses by 2030 with the resources to thrive in the digital economy as part of the responsible business plan, Citizen Verizon. Since its inception in 2021, Verizon Small Business Digital Ready has supported the growth of more than 200,000 small businesses nationwide.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our communities,” said Verizon Chief Corporate Social Responsibility Officer Rose Stuckey Kirk about the significant role small businesses play in local economies. “We developed the Verizon Small Business Digital Ready Portal to provide small businesses with tools and resources that can help them succeed and ultimately help benefit their local economies.”
But what makes this portal truly unique and special?
For starters, it’s more than just another online resource; it’s an interactive experience aimed at helping digital transformation for a variety of small business owners. By providing free online courses, tools, 1:1 training, and partner networking and grant access, Verizon doesn’t want to leave any small business behind.
To build on that, earlier this month Verizon Small Business Digital Ready announced new grant opportunities for small businesses totaling $500,000. Eligible applicants who complete the application through Verizon’s Digital Ready platform are eligible for receiving a $10,000 grant.
Whether a business owner wants to delve into social media marketing, effectively manage finances, or secure seed funding, Verizon has the resources to help small businesses overcome the challenges they face today and position themselves for success in the digital future.
But the platform is not just about acquiring knowledge. It’s about putting it into practice and building lasting relationships. From providing over 40 on-demand courses to providing 1:1 expert training, peer mentoring and networking opportunities, Verizon gives small businesses the tools they need to thrive in today’s digital economy.
“[What I’ve learned in the program] it made things smoother, less stressful,” Goode said. “It built my confidence 100 percent.”
Spanish language course offerings and events are also available, expanding the reach to non-English speaking business owners.
Cultivating the digital dream: from vision to reality
By 2030, Verizon aims to support a staggering one million small businesses. This goal reflects Verizon’s commitment to fostering a digital future.
Verizon’s efforts underscore a key message: In the journey of small businesses lie the big dreams of our local communities.
“To continue to serve the same community that built my business for me is just amazing,” said Good.
And in the success of businesses like Goode’s Boomer’s Kitchen & Catering, we find the future—a future that’s more connected, inclusive and digital-ready.
Learn more here about Verizon Small Business Digital Ready
Learn more about Global Citizen’s partnership with Verizon here