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Pivoting during a pandemic, what helped businesses survive?

Hailing from the technology capital of the world, a black-owned and women-led organization, spearheads a new trend in Silicon Valley that has proven to be socially accepted and has become a norm during the pandemic.

“2020, is the year many businesses did not plan for. But when your business was built on what the future would resemble, then you are in the position to equip your business in navigating without losing your foothold in the service or product industry. In 2020, we were determined to keep our business open, while our doors closed for indoor services and events, and we remained resilient and it has worked for us, and we are still alive post-pandemic, riots, toxic political and social climate, and ongoing negative effects of climate change” — Denise Williams, CEO SV-NED Inc.

Since the pandemic shelter-in-place order, general CDC guidelines issued strict warnings and ordinances on businesses everywhere, and business owners have been scrambling to come up with solutions that would effectively keep the business open, financially sustainable, and a strategy to retain and acquire new customers.

The truth is people are still working on the best practices in business during the pandemic, and not all strategies available can be transferred over. However, business owners and the general public still yearn for connecting directly with one another, and SV-NED has leveraged technology and social media, to grow its business and acquire new customers, while the majority of the world spent an ample amount of time on-line. Where they have the option to binge-watch televisions series, learn a new trade-skill, or simply to take their minds away from what’s going on around them, climate change fires across California, for instance.

SV-NED has learned that there is a growing community of people out there, who are not returning to work, but will instead become business owners, and will create jobs for the future economy post-pandemic. SV-NED invites this community of professionals and founders in tech, to connect on ideas and connect on methods of building out their individual dreams.

SV-NED creates events, which produce virtual experiences ran on Run the World App to help make connections and to give founders a platform to reach Venture Capitalist, Angel Investors, and attract users for their products and services.

An example is the entrepreneur series which took place on September 26th, highlighting leaders in Hollywood and Blockchain technology with speakers:

Denise Ajayi Williams is an Official Member of the Forbes Business Council. William is the CEO/Co-Founder of Silicon Valley- Nigerian Economic Development Inc. (SV-NED). SV-NED Inc. pairs talent with employer and accelerates startups by referring them to funding and technical resources to help them scale and launch their businesses worldwide.

Since 2017, SV-NED Inc, has launched over 25 businesses from diverse background in Silicon Valley, and trained over 250 recent college graduates into a career in technology. Williams serves on the board of four companies, including SV-NED Inc., Global Connection for Women Foundation (GC4W) 501(c), Sky Clinic Connect and Numly.

She is also the Country General Manager for CreditCare Nigeria, a multinational, technology-powered consumer finance company. Williams earned her bachelor’s degree in Economics from University of California, Riverside, and received her Master’s in Business Administration degree from Golden Gate University, San Francisco.

BREANNA HOGAN
STORYTELLER | PRODUCER | PUBLICIST

Chicago-raised and Los Angeles-paid, Breanna is a multi-hyphenate content creator and entertainment publicist. A graduate of Howard University, Breanna’s publicity experience spans various entertainment companies including BET Networks, Paramount Pictures, the Television Academy, Endemol Shine, and currently MPRM Communications, where she works on Film, TV, and Digital projects for studios and networks such Netflix, Viacom, NBC, The CW, and Ava DuVernay’s film collective ARRAY, as well as live events such as LAFCA Awards, Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ Film Festival, and the American Black Film Festival (ABFF).

Breanna recently made her debut as a screenwriter with upcoming drama series, Á LA CARTE, which wrapped production on the pilot episode. Breanna also serves as show-runner and executive producer of the series, which was directed by Screen Actors Guild Award-winning director Dijon Talton and stars reality TV personality and social media influencer Kendall Kyndall.

MARK HEYNEN
VP, STELLAR

Mark Heynen is VP of Business Development & Partnerships at Stellar. Currently, he is focused on extending financial services worldwide through digital currencies. Mark Heynen is a serial entrepreneur, most recently co-founding and launching PayJoy in 2015.

He also founded Photo Lab (sold to Dropbox as DropTalk in 2013), and led go to market for Skycatch from its early days. In his 20s he founded Electrobug, a travel and retail analytics startup in London, and ran it as MD & CEO for 5+ years, growing it to over 250 staff in 3 countries with clients in 18 countries before selling it.

He took a break from starting companies from 2006-2012 to launch Android and Google Maps in emerging markets and launch Facebook mobile in the developing world back when the FB mobile team was 10 people. His main drive is in building interesting products and making them ubiquitous, with a specific focus on access for the underserved. Views expressed here are my own.

DANIELLE HAWKINS
FOUNDER, TUNNEL PRODUCTION

Danielle Hawkins is a contributing fashion editor and celebrity stylist based in New York and Los Angeles, CA. From her humble beginnings assisting some of the most influential fashion editors in the industry. Danielle now works with a number of notable publications.

Her services include celebrity styling, editorials, commercials, ads/campaign, re-branding/ imaging and creative/ art direction. Her vision and flare for all that is stylish has led her to editorials in Vogue France to GQ magazine, her handwork has led her to become one of the most sought after young talents in New York.

She started out interning at the top talent agency in NY Art Partner in production and assisting their roster of artists. She then moved on to assist and work with a number of the top editors, stylist and designers in the industry. Esteemed stylists such as Sarah Gore reeves, Karen Langley, Melaney Oldenhof, Marie Chai, Tina chai, Heather Marie Jackson, and more.

TSEHAYU BANTIDAGNE
ENTREPRENEUR & COMMUNITY HEALER

Tsehayu Bantidagne is a first-generation Ethiopian-American born and raised in Berkeley California. He currently serves as the Career Specialist with Youth Uprising, mainly providing paid internships opportunities and mentoring marginalized youth in Oakland.

He obtained his B.A. in Organizational Communications from Cal State EastBay and recently earned a Career Development Certificate through Pathway Consultants. Though he has absolute conviction in work that he does to get to this point has not been a journey without hard lessons.

Deep down in his heart Tsehayu always knew he wanted to help his community thrive but struggled internally with self-doubt and confidence that hindered him from following his passion. But through self-reflection and the support of great people he was able to heal and step into his genius.

TAMRA SIMMONS
EMMY NOMINATED, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER TSB AGENCY

Tamra Simmons is the executive producer on the ground-breaking Lifetime documentary series, Surviving R. Kelly which has reached over 24.5 million viewers since its debut on Jan 3. She was previously a producer on Growing Up Hip Hop, Mary Mary and a casting producer for major brands.

 

SV-NED events allow startups and leaders tech, to have a platform unbiased, where they feel comfortable to share their dreams and ideas with the world, while add new (users) supporters along the way. For the very first time, people of colour and women founders have a place, they can go to, to connect and access a 200 million community strong in the Diaspora nurtured and grown from inception by founders of the SV-NED movement. SV-NED makes a consorted effort to validate the dreams of startups and founder by telling their individual stories and interviewing unsung heroes from the blended community that connects Silicon Valley ecosystem to the rest of the world. For one year now, there has been a string of signature events, that celebrates leaders, people of colour, and women in business, and we believe SV-NED is a pioneer with this growing trend in Silicon Valley.

SV-NED placing emphasis on women stems from the huge technology and economic inequality interwoven in the hiring practices and more observed through the Silicon Valley community. A recent article published on leanin.org writes, “On average, women in the U.S. make 18% less than men.1 Over a year, the average working woman loses $10,122 as a result of the gender pay gap 2.” SV-NED has been consistent with raising this subject-matter when interfacing with Silicon Valley technology leaders as well as with Venture Capitalist and Angel Investors. Admittedly, talking about diversity and equity in business can raise social and economic debates, that can be very dangerous. However, statistics shows, if you break it down by race and ethnicity, the pay gap is even wider for Black women, Native American women, and Latinas.”

Even in the same job, women and men receive different pay.

Women are just as likely to pursue many high-paying careers.8 But even in the same job, women are generally paid less than men.9 For example, women managers earn 23% less than men managers, on average.”

SV-NED will continue its social impact efforts by building a pathway for more diverse founders, professionals and women in tech. SV-NED is dedicated to serving its community as the voice that will enable the closing of gender pay and opportunity inequality gap that exist throughout Silicon Valley, and needed to be a subject matter with effective solutions to create a more inclusive environment, that celebrates the growth of the human race versus a single race. If you would like to join the conversation, and become a part of the movement, of leaders in technology led by millennial CEO and Cofounder, of SV-NED Inc., Denise Williams, who was recently accepted into Forbes Business Council, follow the movement online via social media with a simple hashtag #SVNED.

Come 2021, SV-NED will continue to track and monitor trends with businesses open to the idea of focusing on the evolution of the human race, by extending a hand to human life in emerging economies. Recently, Facebook announced its plans to engage with Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, and the most advance economy on the continent. Quartz Africa reported, “Facebook is moving closer to local talent and key markets with a second African office in Nigeria.” The article goes on to explain, “It is essentially a major play for talent and proximity to an important, fast-growing market — and it is not happening in isolation: Google and Microsoft have grown their local presence in Nigeria over the past decade. In fact, Microsoft’s moves have included a $100 million commitment to build software development centres on the continent and employ 500 African developers by 2023.”

Not only are technology companies supporting the human race to increase diversity, equity and inclusion, but SV-NED has also observed venture funding opening up to African Startups and Founders as well. Ventureburn, reports, “Seven African tech startups receive funding” they continue to write, “This year’s selection of startups overcame the challenges surrounding Covid-19 working remotely and interacting virtually with the team of MEST mentors and taking part in the training program.”

Below are the 7 selected for the MEST program, who will all be mentored remotely, ignoring the barriers of distance, and creating accessibility through technology and venture funding.

Heny —A platform that partners with restaurants and delivery services to provide on-demand and catering food service where diners can choose from a variety of menus

Shopa —A platform that enables informal retailers to order products with a high rate of sales at the lowest cost and best prices from suppliers, and has them delivered to their shops within 24hrs

Joovlin —A backbone infrastructure that inter-connects all wallet solutions and enables them to transact seamlessly with each other

KPI Lens— A cloud-based monitoring and evaluation platform that enables project managers to track KPIs across various monitoring frameworks and generate reports in near-real-time

Eleka —An app to collect real-time customer onboarding information in an organized manner as well as giving the customers a smooth data submission experience

BoxconnA platform that provides businesses and individuals access to reliable delivery partners to send goods

Tendo —A platform that connects independent resellers to businesses

SV-NED Inc. has a growing community of 200 million strong in the Diaspora.

SV-NED will explore this growing trend as they continue to engage diverse leaders, and women in business, through a signature virtual entrepreneurship series, designed to connect startups with venture partners virtually, while pivoting from in-person events to ‘virtual’ events series. SV-NED has successfully created a social community that has grown resilient and will not be held back by the effects of the pandemic.

The pandemic has emptied our halls, but our heart and minds remain full with ideas for the future. SV-NED and our ecosystem will remain resilient, will you?

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