Running a small business isn't easy for anyone, but the challenges facing low-and-moderate income business owners often present an overwhelming barrier to success. In an effort to develop and support entrepreneurs that run micro-enterprises, DHL in partnership with the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) recently announced two new programs designed to promote business growth and success.
Defined as a business with one to five employees and needing less than $35,000 in startup capital, micro-enterprises represent one of the more underserved business populations in the U.S.
The DHL/AEO joint venture aims to help business owners start, stabilize and expand their companies by providing cash, in-kind product donations and hands-on business expertise. Bill Edwards, AEO executive director, explained the partnership and its potential benefit to the business community in a company statement.
"DHL recognizes that small businesses are driving new job development and economic growth in the U.S.," he said. "This partnership is a rare opportunity for our members and for moderate income entrepreneurs. With the commitment of DHL and its employees to provide hands-on business advice and expertise, the programs will have a strong and lasting impact on both the selected micro-enterprise development organizations and local businesses in need of support."
The DHL/AEO partnership consists of two programs: The DHL Advancing Micro-Entrepreneurs program will award 30 micro-entrepreneurs cash equity awards in the amount of $1,000 each along with an equal amount in DHL Ship Ready pre-paid products.
Through the DHL Cares Day Project, DHL employees will donate their skills and talents to selected micro-entrepreneurs through its volunteer-based company program. Local AEO partner organizations will coordinate this effort. DHL volunteers will offer guidance on a range of small-business issues such as supply chain management and customer service.
In a statement, Kelly Keogh, DHL's director of corporate citizenship, said, "This program allows DHL to go beyond cash contributions and in-kind donations, letting DHL volunteers directly mentor and provide business counsel to these budding businesses with functions ranging from accounting to logistics."
Three AEO member companies serving as local partners will coordinate the awards and the regional volunteer activities. Those companies include the following: Micro-BusinessUSA in Miami, ACCION Texas in Houston and Self-Employment Loan Fund Inc. in Phoenix. Finally, DHL is offering AEO members pricing discounts on express shipping through a DHL association and affinity discount program.
Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of SmallBusinessComputing.com
|Do you have a comment or question about this article or other small business topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com Forums. Join the discussion today!|