REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 13, 1996 — Building on its commitment to support America’s growing small-business community, Microsoft Corp. today announced that it has joined 14 of the nation’s top small-business leaders to form the Microsoft® Small Business Technology Partnership Board. Microsoft also today announced a $5 million initiative to help connect hundreds of small-business organizations across the country to the Internet through a new Microsoft Small Business Online initiative, which the Technology Partnership Board will help shape and guide.
The Microsoft Small Business Technology Partnership Board will act as a leading technological information and education resource for American small businesses. Working for years with local chambers of commerce, Small Business Development Centers, the U.S. Small Business Administration and community colleges around the country, Microsoft listened to hundreds of small-business leaders and entrepreneurs who said they needed an organization focused on solving technology issues and needs for small business.
“Our ability to provide the best technology for our small-business customers is a direct result of listening to their particular needs and understanding what they need to remain competitive,”
said Steve Ballmer, executive vice president of Microsoft.
“The Small Business Technology Partnership increases our ability to develop empowering technologies that will launch small businesses into the 21st century.”
“With this partnership, Microsoft is looking ahead to determine future needs of small businesses,”
said Bennie Thayer, president and CEO of the National Association for the Self- Employed.
“Microsoft is once again a pioneer – this time in the area of building a bridge to small businesses.”
Small-Business Visionaries Shape Future of Technology
The Microsoft Small Business Technology Partnership Board includes Hewlett-Packard Co. and small-business leaders representing a diverse cross section of U.S. small businesses. Members include the following executives:
Thelma Stevenson Ablan – Founder and President, Stevenson and Associates, Chicago; Founding Member, Women’s Business Resource Council; Secretary, National Small Business United; Delegate, White House Conference on Small Business, 1986 and 1995
Dinah Adkins – Executive Director, National Business Incubation Association, Athens, Ohio
Marianne Hamm – Co-Founder and COO, AccSys Technology Inc., Pleasanton, Calif.; Founding Member and Secretary, Small Business Technology Coalition; Board of Directors, American Electronics Association; Delegate, White House Conference on Small Business, 1995
Laura Henderson – Founder, President and CEO, Prospect Associates, Rockville, Md.; Chair Emeritus, National Foundation for Women Business Owners; Board of Trustees, National Small Business United
Fred Holladay – Vice President of Administration and Chief Financial Officer, National Federation of Independent Business, Nashville, Tenn.
Gary B. Kushner – Founder and President, Kushner and Company Inc., Kalamazoo, Mich.; Past Chair, National Small Business United; Delegate, White House Conference on Small Business, 1986 and 1995
Sam Males – State Director, Nevada Small Business Development Center, Reno, Nev.; President, Association of Small Business Development Centers
Barry Melancon – President and CEO, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, New York
o – President and CEO, U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Washington, D.C.
John C. Rennie – Founder and CEO, Pacer Infotec Inc., Billerica, Mass.; Past President, Small Business Foundation of America; Delegate, White House Conference on Small Business, 1980, 1986 and 1995
John F. Robinson – President and CEO, National Minority Business Council, New York
Bennie L. Thayer – President and CEO, National Association for the Self-Employed; Chair, Maryland Delegation, White House Conference on Small Business, 1995
Betty Jo Toccoli – President, Total One Development Centers, Los Angeles; President, California Small Business Association; Chair, Southern California Delegation, White House Conference on Small Business, 1995
David Voight – Director, Small Business Center, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Washington, D.C.
Jacques Clay – General Manager, Extended Desktop Business Unit, Hewlett-Packard Co., Santa Clara, Calif.
Robert Bach – Vice President, Desktop Applications Division, Microsoft Corp., Redmond, Wash.
Steve Ballmer – Executive Vice President, Sales and Support, Microsoft Corp., Redmond, Wash.
Sam Jadallah – Vice President, Organization Customer Unit, Microsoft Corp., Redmond, Wash.
“The National Minority Business Council represents approximately 1,200 minority- and woman-owned businesses,”
said John F. Robinson, president and CEO, National Minority Business Council.
“I joined the Technology Partnership to represent and further empower these small-business communities and enable them to compete more effectively through the use of technology and the Internet.”
The board’s inaugural meeting was held Oct. 29, 1996, and subsequent meetings will occur quarterly. The board discussed general technology issues for small businesses and associations with emphasis on the Internet as an immediate area of focus. Microsoft will publish and disseminate board results to relevant small-business associations and their audiences, as well as incorporate feedback into product development and programs for the small-business market.
At its first meeting, the technology board identified several key issues and challenges facing associations and small businesses today. Technology challenges include lack of computer knowledge, lack of time, cost, compatibility and technology management. The board also agreed on the most important functions of associations – areas in which Microsoft believes the Internet can add great value. These functions include educating, informing and training small-business members; promoting networking; furthering advocacy of small-business issues; surveying association members; recruiting new members; increasing funding; and conducting and publishing research.
Associations and Small Businesses Move Online
The first mission of the technology partnership is to further develop the Microsoft Small Business Online effort, enabling associations and their members to take full advantage of the Internet. In addition to its many other small-business initiatives, Microsoft has committed $5 million in cash and software this year to make the Small Business Online effort possible. With the board’s guidance, Microsoft will provide community and professional associations with elements of the following Internet technology and assistance:
Web presence. Customizable Web site templates, Web site addresses, virtually hosted Web servers, mailboxes for members, and access to Internet service provider will enable associations to easily and affordably create and maintain an active Web site.
Web site content. Associations will receive ongoing syndicated content feeds specific to their industry. Content will include information from Faulkner & Gray for accounting associations, etc.
Communication forum. Association members will receive instant access to information; a customized Microsoft Internet Explorer browser defaults to their association Web site for daily updates and information sharing.
Membership surveys. Members will have an opportunity to voice their opinions on a variety of topics through online partnership surveys.
E-mail accreditation. Association members can receive e-mail and Internet access at a competitive rate through the association’s Internet domain. Members receive an
e-mail address related to either their professional affiliation or association representation (e.g., email@example.com).
“Microsoft is empowering small businesses by helping them gain access to competitive information on the Internet, enabling them to be competitive and grow their businesses, which ultimately creates jobs and impacts the economy positively,”
said Betty Jo Toccoli, president, California Small Business Association.
Associations will further benefit from the alliance by using the World Wide Web as a medium for delivery of member benefits in a more efficient manner. For example, an association’s products, such as continuing professional education programs, will be easier for members to access via the Web.
Microsoft Small Business Online was piloted in August 1996 for state CPA societies, with state bar, real estate and 15 other professional associations to follow.
“Microsoft Small Business Online was designed to help societies deliver critical resources to their members in real time by tapping into the immense potential of information technology,”
said Barry C. Melancon, president and CEO of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
“Technology is the enabler that is driving the CPA profession to reposition itself to compete vigorously in a global market, so that CPAs can continue to offer more value-added services to their clients and employers as information professionals.”
Technology Partnership Helps Guide Other Microsoft Small-Business Programs
Starting Nov. 16, the Microsoft Small Business Web site ( http://www.microsoft.com/smallbiz/ ) will include the Small Business Technology Partnership Forum, featuring news from the Technology Partnership including what’s happening with associations, feedback and findings from the board, association events, and more.
Also featured on the Small Business Web site is information on America at Work, a video series developed to address the technology needs of small businesses. Future meetings of the Technology Partnership will help identify key small-business issues that will be addressed in new America at Work episodes.
For information on Microsoft’s small-business programs, visit the Microsoft Small Business Web site or call the Microsoft Small Business Hotline at (800) 60 SOURCE (607-6872).
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