BORDERS.ORG ISSUES STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF ENTREPRENEURIAL REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS

New York, NY March 22, 2017–Business Plans Across Borders (Borders.org), the non-profit that assists aspiring entrepreneurs from low income families, refugees and legal immigrants with writing and developing business plans that will lead to capital raising initiatives, announced today that it stands with immigrants and refugees, and opposes actions taken by any government agency or sovereign country policy that discriminates based on religion, race or country of origin.

In a statement by Tamar Azous, Borders.Org co-founder and Executive Director, “The values on which America is based are frequently tested and we must always rise above discriminatory political rhetoric and stand together to welcome and uplift those in need who seek to advance themselves within free-thinking, democratic societies.” Added Ms. Azous, “Refugees and immigrants have helped strengthen America since its inception, making our nation richer culturally, intellectually, and economically. Borders.org was created to see through discriminatory borders, physical or virtual, and enable entrepreneurs without resources, including US citizens as well as refugees and legal immigrants, to contribute to American society and achieve their full potential, creating a cycle of innovation.”

About Borders.org

Established in 2016, BORDERS.ORG is a fully-certified 501(c) (3) with headquarters in Seattle, WA and offices in New York, London and Tel Aviv. The organization assists low income families, refugees and immigrants with writing and developing their business plans. Members of Borders.org work one-on-one with aspiring entrepreneurs-in-need by helping them write, structure and develop business models. The organization also provides networking opportunities in the business and financial arena. Navigating the process of starting up a business can be daunting, even with a wealth of resources at one’s disposal. For members of immigrant and refugee communities, and for low-income families in America who aspire to become entrepreneurs and financially independent, the resources needed to achieve these goals can often be completely inaccessible. Borders.org was founded to tap the innovation spirit from all levels of American society, and make the entrepreneurial dream of creating and/or owning a business attainable to everyone who has the required passion, will and capabilities. There are thousands of would-be entrepreneurs who need help creating a small, self-sustaining business, or a businesses which can create jobs within their communities, contribute to the economy, and bring about a cycle of innovation for generations to come. The organizations website is https://www.borders.org

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Media Inquiries

Ms. Tamar Azous

Tel:212.537.6522

tamar@borders.org

Josef Zhovtis
3 HUGE TRENDS THAT WILL AFFECT THE FUTURE OF SMALL BUSINESS

Entrepreneurship is growing in the US, but minority-owned startups are not reaping the same benefits as other businesses. Borders.org aims to help close both the startup and the scaleup gap.

3 Huge Trends That Will Affect the Future of Small Business

By Leigh Buchanan

Today’s small-business forecast is for bright skies, but ominous clouds are massing, according to the Kauffman Foundation’s annual State of Entrepreneurship report, released Thursday morning.

Business starts, Main Street activity, and growth-company dynamism are rebounding strongly from the Great Recession, reports Kauffman, a grant-making and research organization that fosters entrepreneurship. Job creation and optimism among small businesses are up as well. But changing demographics and business models–specifically the ability to grow larger and larger companies with fewer and fewer people–suggest that the rising tide may lift fewer (or different) boats.

First, the unalloyed good news: The rate at which Americans start companies is up 15 percent since 2015. Main Street companies are doing well, particularly in terms of five-year survival rates, which approach 50 percent, according to an earlier Kauffman report. The foundation’s 2017 growth entrepreneurship index–which among other things measures how fast new firms hire and the number of fast-growing new firms–saw its highest year-over-year increase in a decade.

Despite these signs of health in the entrepreneurial economy, Kauffman identified three “mega-trends” that may have worrisome consequences:

1. Demographics: In terms of racial diversity, startup America looks more like America overall than it did 20 years ago. Among companies in their first month of operation, almost 40 percent were founded by minorities, compared with 23 percent in 1996. But minority-owned companies start and stay relatively small, comprising less than 20 percent of all businesses with employees and 17.4 percent of businesses with at least $1 million in revenue. The average revenue of mature non-minority-owned companies is $2.3 million, compared with $1.6 million for mature minority-owned companies. While the startup gap between minorities and non-minorities is narrowing, says Kauffman, “the scale-up gap is huge.”

And while both startups and the population overall are more racially diverse, minorities are still underrepresented among entrepreneurs. “If minorities started companies at the same rate as non-minorities do,” says the report, “the U.S. would have more than one million more employer businesses and as much as an extra 9.5 million jobs.”

Kauffman also noted that women continue to lag behind men in company starts, particularly as founders of employer businesses. Meanwhile an aging population threatens the pipelines of both founders and employees.

2. Geography: Entrepreneurship is expanding from expensive big-city hot spots on the coasts to more-affordable midsize cities throughout the country, with access to venture capital and alternative means of financing making those regions more hospitable. The Kauffman report highlighted crowdfunding, which is particularly strong in parts of North and South Carolina, Nevada, Tennessee, Minnesota, and Oklahoma.

But smaller cities and rural areas–often those most in need of revitalization–are falling further behind. In the late 1980s 20 percent of startups were in rural areas; today that number is just over 12 percent. This may not bode well for national unity. “No matter where you are on the political spectrum, one of the things that became abundantly clear is the enormous divide between rural and urban America,” says the report. “We see at least a version of this divide in entrepreneurial activity also.”

3. Scale: New businesses are responsible for the lion’s share of job creation. But the number of new businesses that actually employ people stubbornly remains 20 percent below pre-recession levels. And even those entrepreneurs creating jobs need fewer of them, with technology and software-based business models increasingly substituting for labor. Kauffman cites the example of Kodak, which employed 75,000 people when it reached $1 billion in sales more than 50 years ago. Facebook achieved that milestone (in today’s dollars) with just 6,300 employees. “It is not clear how much [new and young] companies will be able to contribute to net job creation in the future,” the report states.

On the bright side, Kauffman points out that platforms like Airbnb, Uber, and Etsy are creating new opportunities for micro-entrepreneurship.

Kauffman also announced the launch of a nationwide program called Zero Barriers to Startup, which will enlist entrepreneurs, policymakers, and others to address these mega-trends and other challenges. “If you have an idea, we believe that you have a fundamental right to start a business to make it a reality,” states Kauffman. “You should be able to do it fast, without confusion, and for free, without any artificial barriers imposed by others.”

Josef Zhovtis
9 SIMPLE WAYS TO RAISE CAPITAL FOR YOUR ECOMMERCE STARTUP

CIO journalist  Jennifer Lonoff Schiff  has some simple ideas for startups to raise capital. The first step before you can raise any capital from anyone besides yourself is to have a stellar business plan. This will let investors know you have done your homework, and have a clear vision for where your business is headed.

9 simple ways to raise capital for your ecommerce startup

It is easier than ever, or so it seems, to open a new business, especially an ecommerce or tech business. But getting money to fund your startup, especially with so many new businesses competing for the same pool of seed money, can be tough. So which methods, or sources, are the most likely to get or give you the money you need to grow your business? Following are nine of the best, according to entrepreneurs and investors.

1. Start saving/Bootstrap.

“My top tip for raising money is: use your own money first,” says Brandon Ackroyd, director, TigerMobiles, who has invested in a number of companies as an angel investor. “Far too many startups expect others to invest when they’ve injected zero of their own money into a business.”

That doesn’t necessarily mean selling your home or hocking your car, but if you are serious about your business and plan on approaching investors at some point, you need to invest your own money first. So it’s important to start saving early.

“I want to see founders who have the confidence to put their money where their mouth is,” he says. “Sweat equity is all well and good, but if you don’t know how to bootstrap and keep costs to a minimum, you’re going to turn off a lot of serious investors.”

2. Join an accelerator, incubator or mentoring program.

“First time tech or ecommerce founders can realize enormous benefits by joining an accelerator, incubator or business mentoring program,” says Ron Flavin, a funding specialist. Tech-focused startup accelerators (e.g., Cleantech Open) can be found in nearly every state, and a growing number of cities are also home to startup incubators. There are even online accelerators.”

An additional advantage of joining an accelerator, incubator or mentoring program is that “these programs provide tech and ecommerce founders with access to valuable tools, resources, connections and expertise that can help them place their startups in a strong position to get funded,” he continues. And “there are also several excellent no-cost mentoring programs (e.g., BusinessAdvising.org) that provide expert guidance that help founders build a strong, fundable business model.”

3. Use crowdfunding.

“The best way for a new tech company to raise funds for their startup is crowdfunding,” says Tamar Huggins, a serial entrepreneur. “Crowdfunding allows the startup to have more financial freedom (when compared to VC and other investor funds). It immediately validates or invalidates the need the company is trying to solve. And crowdfunding can be an impactful marketing tool when used correctly.”

Top crowdfunding sites include Kickstarter, Indiegogo and GoFundMe. There is also StartEngine.

“StartEngine is an equity crowdfunding platform that allows companies to raise capital from the crowd by exchanging equity in return,” explains Howard Marks, founder, StartEngline. “With the recent passing of the JOBS Act, the opportunity to invest, which was originally reserved for accredited investors, is now open to [everyone]. Moreover, companies can raise up to $50 million within a 12-month period.”

4. Take pre-orders.

“Pre-orders can bring cash in before you make or distribute a product, and help you plan production,” says Andrew Haller, founder & co-CEO, AirDev. “Tesla built a wait list of nearly 200,000 customers just a day after announcing the Model 3, [with] each [paying] a deposit of $1,000 toward their purchase.”

5. Enter a pitch contest.

“Entering a [pitch] competition [is] a great way to connect to the right people and secure funding for [your] startup,” says Sagi Gidali, co-founder & CPO, SaferVPN. “While we were in university, my cofounder and I entered the Microsoft Imagine Cup competition. At the time we were seeking seed funding. We won second place and afterwards received many inquiries from potential VCs and investors. In the end, we built a long-term relationship with one of them, and this relationship led us to establish the company we have today, which is very successful, profitable and sustainable.”

“In the first six months of building my startup, Humblee, we participated and won the Make It in Brooklyn pitch competition,” says Zuley Clarke, co-founder, Humblee. “In addition to the prize money, we received valuable feedback from influential judges, made connections with investors and generated a buzz surrounding our business. Winning the pitch competition was incredible, but the benefits of simply entering [a pitch competition] are great too.”

6. Ask your employer for help.

If you currently have a job, and have a good relationship with the company and/or senior management, “approach your current boss for an in-kind contribution to your new business venture in exchange for equity or future re-payment,” suggests Roy Tal, co-founder, Homenova.

“Office space, internet, utilities, chairs, computers, phones, IT support can all add up to tens of thousands of dollars a year, which can be a fair amount for a business that is just getting on its feet,” he notes. “Your current employer is already paying for the above. And if [the company] is already aware that you are pursuing a new business venture and likes the idea, [it] may be open to allowing you to use [your] current office facilities or even better, contribute some funds.”

7. Take out a small business loan.

“Most people assume they’re going to get angel or venture capital investment when starting an Internet-based business,” says David Nilssen, co-founder & CEO, Guidant Financial. “But the reality is very few ever get funded [that way].” So he advises would-be entrepreneurs to take out a loan.

“Unsecured loans can provide up to $150,000 in small business financing without personal collateral required from the business owner,” he explains. “What’s more, the funding process is fast — most deals close within three weeks or less.”

You can also apply for an SBA loan. “SBA loans offer a bevy of benefits for entrepreneurs, including low interest rates, long repayment terms and no ballooning costs, so you can focus on what’s really important: building your business.”

8. Ask friends and family (for a loan or investment).

“Obtain loans from friends and family,” suggests Darren Hill, co-founder & CEO, WebLinc. An advantage “of borrowing from friends or family is the repayment plan can be tailor-made, unlike bank loans. [Just] never forget this is a business [arrangement], which can alter the relationship you have with your financier [i.e., friend or family member].” So be sure to have a small business attorney draw up a formal agreement, stating the loan and other terms, for all parties to sign.

9. Use some of your retirement savings.

If you can’t raise cash by another means, consider dipping into your retirement savings. “A retirement rollover, also known as ROBS (rollover as business startup), allows individuals to roll money from their IRA or 401(k) into a new business venture, penalty free,” says Nilssen.
Jennifer Lonoff Schiff is a business and technology writer and a contributor to CIO.com. She also runs Schiff & Schiff Communications, a marketing firm focused on helping organizations better interact with their customers, employees and partners.

Josef Zhovtis