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3 Tips for Success From Minority Entrepreneurs

Minority-owned enterprises made up more than 50% of the 2 million new businesses started in the United States in the past 10 years, according to the US Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.  There are now more than 4 million minority-owned companies in the US, boasting annual sales of around $700 billion, altogether.

As the US Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship noted, there is still a disparity in access to capital and entrepreneurial development opportunities for minority-owned firms. “Though minorities make up 32% of our population, minority business ownership represents only 18% of the population.”

Minority entrepreneurs face a unique set of challenges in navigating the path to business success. Three minority entrepreneurs in Calgary, Alberta, shared their advice in a recent article in the Calgary Journal.  Eddie Richardson, president of Genesis Basketball; Joyce Okunsi, CEO of Joyce’s Closet; and Beni Johnson, founder of 10at10 media platform have all launched successful businesses in the face of discrimination and financial barriers.

  1. Don’t let stereotypes define you

“Whenever I was given a job or a task I would always try to be the most educated on it.” said Johnson. “People were racist in their ways. If something does not look like you, people get afraid of it, so it was a combination of many things.”

  1. Don’t let barriers stop you

“In fashion, I faced many barriers. I had to work twice as hard to prove my credibility as a stylist. Because I am a black woman, I was excluded from many things that I should have been a part of.” said Okunsi.

  1. Don’t forget that your experiences are valuable

“I’ve worked through a lot to get to where I am and I still have a lot ahead of me,” said Richardson. “I hope that my story inspires others to never settle and to push through adversity because anything is possible.”

4 Reasons Why Competitive Strategy Is Critical to Success

Time spent on competitive strategy is a key indicator of success for mid-sized companies, according a recent survey by SunTrust Bank.

“Virtually all businesses (98%) participating in a recent survey are guided by a competitive strategy,” according to SunTrust. The amount of time spent on competitive strategy increases with business size, but overall, the survey found that less than half of respondents reports spending a significant amount of time on competitive strategy.

Other findings from the survey:

–“Several industries stood out as doing a significant amount of competitive strategy work, including technology hardware and software, retailing and automotive.”

–“Quality is a core priority for approximately two-thirds of businesses; innovation and focus/targeting a niche are other common components of businesses’s competitive strategies.”

–“Companies earning $25 million or more each year in revenue are most often focused on superior products and services (55%).”

–“Businesses have fulfilled their competitive strategy by developing deep customer relationships and creating superior products and services.”

According to the survey, “midsize businesses doing a significant amount of competitive strategy work feel stronger in the market and are better connected to their financial partners,” and a whopping 98% believe they have a strategic advantage over the competition as a result.

Investment Banks Spent More on Fintech in 2017

While top-tier investment banks cut their fintech budgets in 2017, that reduction was more than made up by increased spending from Tier 2 and 3 players, according to a report out from Boston Consulting Group.

Strategies for fintech spend are also diverging, says BCG.

Bank investment strategies also diverged. Tier 2 & 3 players invested mainly in industry- wide fintech initiatives, whereas Tier 1 banks, which have been active buyers of fintech equity for longer, took a more balanced approach, often seeking competitive advantage through standalone investments.

Overall fintech spend in the capital markets space was down, however, as venture capital firms cut  their investment, according to the report. ”

Investment was less than half that of the previous two years, and the lowest since 2012, with venture capital firms in particular reducing their funding.

Center for Audit Quality Launches Tool for Board Cybersecurity Oversight

The Center for Audit Quality has published a tool to assist Board members of public companies to oversee cybersecurity risk management. The publication incorporates key questions that members of public company Boards can use in  discussing cybersecurity risks and disclosures with management and CPA firms.

According to a report in Accounting Today, the questions are grouped into four main areas:

  • Understanding how the financial statement auditor considers cybersecurity risk;
  • Understanding the role of management and responsibilities of the financial statement auditor related to cybersecurity disclosures;
  • Understanding management’s approach to cybersecurity risk management;
  • Understanding how CPA firms can assist boards of directors in their oversight of cybersecurity risk management.

 

WEBINAR: Building a secure future for women in Cyber Security

Join Content Innovo Executive Director Denise Bedell on Monday, March 6 as she hosts leading women in the cyber security field to discuss the challenges and opportunities for women in cyber security – and how we can change the discourse to create a diverse and inclusive environment.

Aside from breaches, ransomware attacks, and insider threats, another large issue faced by the cyber security industry is diversity, or lack thereof.

Making the industry more appealing to women and then eventually retaining female talent are both challenges that are still affecting the cyber workforce.

Join this panel where we’ll hear from experts who have made successful careers out of their time in the cyber security sector.

Click Here to Access the Webinar

Content Innovo at SIBOS 2017

Content Innovo’s Denise Bedell moderates a panel at SIBOS 2017

Content Innovo’s Executive Director Denise Bedell moderated two panels at SIBOS, an annual conference, exhibition, and networking event for financial services professionals. SIBOS 2017 took place in Toronto in October and, with over 8,000 delegates in attendance, was the largest conference of its kind to take place in North America to date. Check out Content Innovo’s presence at SIBOS 2017 below!

[Video Panel] Operation transformation in technology for multi-banked corporates

At “Operation transformation in technology for multi-banked corporates”, executives from Crédit Agricole CIB, General Electric, IBM Global Business Services, and TD Securities discussed the transformation of collaborative models between banks and corporates. In an increasingly data-rich and data-driven climate, are financial institutes essentially becoming IT service providers for their corporate clients? To what extent should banks prioritize innovation over tradition, especially in the face of ever-shifting regulations and technological developments? Check out this link for the full podcast of the panel for answers to these questions and more, or see below for the video broadcast.

[Video Panel] Cyber security and the fight against fraud

“Cyber security and the fight against fraud” featured compliance and information security experts from Temenos, Bioconnect, BAE Systems Applied Intelligence, and the National Bank of Egypt. The more technological innovation is embraced by corporations, governments, citizens, and the financial institutions that serve them, the more we all come to rely on effective cyber security measures to remain protected from fraud. This new reality has opened up space for new partnerships and dependencies between banks and security companies— listen to how voices from both sides view their goals and responsibilities here.

Content Innovo Executive Director Denise Bedell hosts “Cyber Security and the Fight Against Fraud.”

Content Strategy: Harnessing the Benefits for Financial Services

In today’s uncertain world, the value of providing clients with insightful commentary and market intelligence cannot be overestimated. As such, more financial services firms than ever are seeking to harness the benefits of content marketing – using content to help with everything from building brand awareness and increasing web traffic to improving lead generation and customer retention.

There’s much to be gained by positioning your firm as a thought leader – but doing so is not always straightforward. Financial services firms must overcome the challenges experienced by all companies undertaking content marketing, while also facing certain sector-specific hurdles.

In particular, they have to tackle the following issues:

  1. Creating compelling content. As in other sectors, engaging experienced content experts, achieving a consistent tone of voice and overcoming budget constraints are crucial when it comes to developing content.
  2. Navigating different channels and formats. In addition to traditional formats such as articles, thought leadership, white papers and research reports, firms are also using videos, blogs, infographics, social media content and webinars to distribute their content. Making strategic decisions about which formats to focus on – and repurposing the same content for different channels – is essential when it comes to making content stand out in an increasingly crowded space.
  3. Overcoming compliance hurdles. Financial services firms also have their own sector-specific challenges to overcome – not least of all the difficulties associated with regulatory compliance. It can be tempting to be overly cautious in such a regulated climate, but a clear understanding of the relevant constraints can enable firms to produce insightful material with confidence.
  4. Measuring value. Firms may struggle to measure the value and effectiveness of the content they produce. Many metrics are available, including conversion rates, website traffic, customer feedback and sales – but firms often lack confidence when it comes to tracking ROI.

Financial services firms may face challenges where content is concerned – but by adopting a clear content strategy, firms can overcome the challenges and create compelling and effective content. We will explore these topics in more detail in future articles.