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How Technical Assistance Won The Super Bowl

By 3p Contributor

The 2017 NFL season is about to get started. And what you may not know is that small and diverse businesses are already winning. The Houston Super Bowl Committee is building upon the success of Super Bowl 50’s Business Connect program in the Bay Area, by providing mentoring and other resources so diverse local businesses can compete for Super Bowl-related contracts.

A Super Bowl can have an impact of $200 million to $500 million on the local economy in which the game is played. Bu, keeping that money in the community has always been a challenge. Last year’s Super Bowl Host Committee CEO Keith Bruce said, "… It's a chance for the Bay Area's diverse small business community to tap into opportunities for new contracts and business growth".

For Super Bowl 50, the Business Connect program partnered with Pacific Community Ventures (PCV) — a nonprofit community development financial institution (CDFI) that engages small businesses, investors and policymakers to build an economy that works for everyone — to provide its technical assistance program to 400 diverse businesses in the Bay Area, with an emphasis on businesses owned by people of color, veterans, women, and members of the LGBT community.

All this effort was done with the goal of helping diverse small businesses have an increased chance to win contracts and to leave a lasting legacy for Bay Area diverse small businesses. Through the Business Connect program, enrolled small businesses won over $6,000,000 in Super Bowl related contracts!

Building a small-business Super Bowl

What intrigued the Super Bowl Host Committee about PCV’s technical assistance was that it combined the traditional hands-on approach with a modern platform to connect small business owners with expert business advisors from anywhere in America who provide tailored assistance.

PCV has built up a pool of hundreds of professional mentors from all industries and areas of expertise. So, BusinessAdvising.org matched their entrepreneurs in the program with mentors from Fortune 500 Companies to help these businesses grow for the Super Bowl and beyond. Growing these small businesses will bring economic development in communities across the Bay area, creating hundreds of quality jobs that are outlasting the game itself.

Online business advising is a game-changing innovation

It’s common for entrepreneurs to seek advice from a variety of community development organizations — from our local SBDCs to SCORE to the numerous CDFIs around the country — that offer technical assistance. Yet, what these organizations have the resources and budgets to offer is often one or two generalists or a retired businessperson who mentors a younger entrepreneur through the business planning process. And few small business owners can afford to hire a costly consultant.

Across the board, finding a mentor yourself is a time-consuming proposition. Enter online technical assistance and mentoring.

BusinessAdvising.org leverages technology (an online platform with an internal, proprietary matching algorithm) and volunteerism to provide small business owners with high-quality mentoring at no cost that removes geography as a barrier. If your company is in downtown Omaha, and the best advisor for your business lives in Tampa, BusinessAdvising.org can make that match happen. Think of BusinessAdvising.org as Doctors Without Borders, combined with eHarmony, adapted for small business.

"Pacific Community Ventures' BusinessAdvising.org program has helped accelerate the growth of participating small businesses and add jobs at 167% the national average since 2011," said PCV President and CEO Mary Jo Cook. “And, the small businesses who receive free technical assistance grow their revenue by over 20% on average.”

Making technical assistance available to CDFIs coast-to-coast

Taking technical assistance online in a national, scalable platform means that CDFIs now have a way to significantly increase the breadth and depth of technical assistance they offer. Wherever a business is in America, supplementing your CDFI’s TA with the BusinessAdvising.org platform lets your team offer the best advisor to help that company grow. And since the advisors volunteering their time are all active professionals, they can open their networks to our clients and dramatically increase the opportunities available to them.

"Pacific Community Ventures is just one of the latest examples of how CDFIs are equipping small businesses with the tools they need to drive economic development in their communities," said Miti Sathe, Senior Vice President of Small Business Initiatives at the Opportunity Finance Network. "Providing proven technical assistance to small businesses owners who have been historically separated from critical resources supports small businesses' path to sustainability, growth, and strong portfolio performance."

Small business owners who want to participate in the program -- and professionals interested in becoming business mentors or -- should visit BusinessAdvising.org for more information.

Image credit: Flickr/jimmagz

Patrick Duggan is a Director with Pacific Community Ventures -- a nonprofit social enterprise that engages small businesses, investors, and policymakers to build an economy that works for everyone. We achieve our mission by providing small businesses with access to the capital and mentorship they need to grow and create quality jobs for working people, and by working with impact investors to help define, measure, and communicate the social outcomes of their investments to drive even more investment in underserved communities.

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