This week’s Tech Thursday roundup brings you tech news we haven’t covered elsewhere on Smallbiztechnology.com. Today:
- Constant Contact Partners with SCORE to Support National White House Initiative
- Small Business Owners Focused on Growth; Plan to Hire/reinvest – Amex OPEN Survey
- Recycle Your Mobile Phone Month
- Optimism Among Small Businesses at a Two-Year High – SMB Survey Findings from NetSol & U of Maryland
- New SMB Server, Storage and Networking Offerings from Dell
New Program Expands Access to Advice and Tools for Veterans and Their Families Looking to Start or Grow a Small Business
Constant Contact has partnered with SCORE to help provide tools and training to entrepreneurs through its network of 13,500 volunteer mentors and trainers.
Together with SCORE, the Walmart Foundation, and other technology partners, Constant Contact announced the “Veterans Fast Launch” initiative. The new program will be a combined package of services, scholarships, and free software, provided by major corporate partners, combined with SCORE’s mentoring program. The aim is to help accelerate veterans’ ability, and their spouses’ and families’ ability, to succeed as a small business owner.
As a partner to this effort, Constant Contact will offer those participating in the program up to 25% off the company’s Email Marketing, Event Marketing, Social Media Marketing, and Online Survey tools to help veterans engage with current and potential customers, easily and cost-effectively. With the tools, veterans will also have access to free personalized coaching, support, and a vast set of educational resources to give them the know how they need to get started with their marketing efforts.
Small Business Owners Focused on Growth; Plan to Hire/reinvest – Amex OPEN Survey
Small business owners are shifting their focus from survival to growth for the first time since 2006, according to the just-released 2011 American Express OPEN Spring Small Business Monitor. As entrepreneurs look to capitalize on growth opportunities, they are expecting to hire and make necessary capital investments in their firms, signaling to signs of an economic recovery.
- More than one-third of small business owners have plans to hire (35%),up nine percentage points from last fall and the highest level since the fall 2008 survey;
- Four-in-ten plan to make capital investments (44%,on par with 48% last spring and up from 38% last fall);
- Many expect to grow (37%) and are willing to take a financial risk to do so (56%);
- Nearly half use social media tools to promote their business to new customers (44%, up from 39% six months ago);
- The one cause for concern is in the area of cash flow: concerns are at an all-time survey high (66%, up from 60% last spring and 53% last fall).
Recycle Your Mobile Phone Month
Earth Day is April 22. To celebrate, e-Cycle has declared April “National Recycle Your Cell Phone Month” to help raise awareness for the growing e-waste problem with mobile devices, and as a reminder for organizations to implement responsible mobile phone recycling programs. As an incentive, e-Cycle is offering businesses and organizations a chance to win one of four Apple iPad2 tablets when they recycle and/or sell their used wireless devices with the company through May 31.
In addition to the iPad giveaway contest, e-Cycle will be hosting a booth for the U.S. Census Bureau’s Green IT Day in Washington D.C. on April 20, and in four cities for Verizon Wireless Earth Day promotions on April 22. More information about e-Cycle and the iPad2 giveaway contest can be found by visiting http://www.e-Cycle.com/Verizon.
Optimism Among Small Businesses at a Two-Year High – SMB Survey Findings from NetSol & U of Maryland
The future is looking brighter for U.S. small business. The fifth wave of the Small Business Success Index, a survey sponsored by Network Solutions® and the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business revealed that optimism among small businesses is at a two-year high. More small business owners believe the economic climate is “improving” rather than “worsening” and with this financial and psychological improvement, small businesses have returned to investing in technology. Adoption of social media has increased among small businesses, yet many have reevaluated their initial expectations, finding the true value in engagement and brand awareness.
New SMB Server, Storage and Networking Offerings from Dell
First Server —Dell’s PowerEdge T110 II and R210 II
Dell today introduced a guide to servers made easy – a roadmap for entrepreneurs as they contemplate purchasing either their first server or expanding their IT infrastructure with new servers. In addition to online resources, Dell is introducing refreshed value servers to meet the needs of small to midsized businesses and branch offices – the entry-level PowerEdge T110 II and mid-level PowerEdge R210 II.
Storage Within Reach – The PowerVault NX3500 / MD3600i
The PowerVault NX3500, featuring the Dell Scalable File System, provides affordable scale-up Network Attached Storage (NAS) functionality for smaller scale, high availability deployments. The system works with PowerVault MD32x0i and MD36x0i storage arrays to help provide affordable unified storage with iSCSI, CIFS and NFS access to block and file data. With no architectural limits to file-system size, it is designed to give customers more flexibility than traditional unified storage.
The PowerVault MD3600i is an Ethernet-based (10GbE) storage device that is designed to deliver exceptional storage capacity to small and midsize businesses without sacrificing performance or flexibility. With an intuitive multi-generational management interface the MD3600i can be installed in under 30 minutes. Growing businesses with limited technical and financial resources can keep up with data growth, Web and media demands while reducing server sprawl by virtualizing infrastructure applications. The system also provides medium-sized businesses with remote offices a cost-effective way to support virtualized infrastructures leveraging 10GbE Ethernet to improve limited or slow data migration between home and remote office locations.
To help supplement Dell’s new server and storage offerings, the company recently launched new 5500 and 7000 PowerConnect switch families to enable technology infrastructures where scalability, flexibility and value are key requirements. Both families implement innovative technology features to streamline deployment, simplify management and help reduce operating costs with power-saving Energy Efficient Ethernet (IEEE 802.3az) design and Power-over-Ethernet operation.
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