Bridging the Small Business Digital Divide

Thanks to LEDC’s collaboration with the DC Office of the Chief Technology Officer’s Small Business Success Project, hundreds of entrepreneurs like business owner Paty Cruz are learning how basic technology can support their small business goals. 

In late 2012, Paty enrolled in technology courses at LEDC to strengthen her use of computers and programs like Microsoft Word. Paty is the owner of small business El Sabor Del Taco, which sells Mexican food and moles made from organic and locally-grown produce in the District.

Since coming to LEDC, Paty has made electronic flyers to market her business, posted a CraigsList ad to attract new orders, and purchased a mobile-friendly Square cash register to easily process and track payments. 

“I want to do everything I can to get ahead and improve my business,” Paty says.

Led by LEDC in coordination with the District’s Connect.DC initiative, the Small Business Success Project teaches entrepreneurs the necessary skills to utilize technology tools and platforms to find greater efficiencies to better manage their businesses.

Since the project’s launch, LEDC has trained more than 130 entrepreneurs on basic digital literacy. The trainings – a mix of classroom instruction and online webinars in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese – have explored topics including basic computing, website development, and client relationship management (CRM) software integration.

“Technology is one of the most powerful game changers for small businesses today,” said LEDC Small Business Development Director Marla Bilonick. “By integrating technology into their business operations our Small Business Success Project clients are able to work smarter and faster and are reaching new markets in the District and beyond.”

Next month, as part of the initiative, approximately 25 DC-based businesses will receive hardware (such as laptops, tablets, square registers) and software (such as Quickbooks, Microsoft Office, CRM software, or Point of Sales Systems) to complement their new skills and education.