SCORE Teams with Cisco, Google, Microsoft on Small Business Broadband

Small business advisory organization SCORE announced a broadband consortium backed by $1.1 million in funds from Cisco, HP, Microsoft and others to help cost-conscious businesses bring high-speed Internet to their companies.

SCORE, an organization that bills itself the "Counselor to America's Small Business," announced that The SCORE Foundation rallied corporate partners for a combined donation of $1.1 million to jump-start a nationwide public/private consortium to help small businesses compete in the Internet age by using broadband technologies. The consortium will offer training, tools and resources, all for free, to small businesses in an effort to level the playing field so that they can compete in the global marketplace. The foundation said nearly 75 percent of small businesses have not yet adopted broadband technologies, often because they lack the expertise.
This alliance between Fortune 500 companies, leading technology firms and government agencies will focus on increasing digital literacy, Web skills and e-commerce capabilities for small businesses so that they can meet the demands of today's consumers. SCORE said it will also expand its services, through its 364 local chapters, to use these new resources and help small businesses leverage technology and boost their productivity and growth. The announcement follows the release of plans by the Federal Communications Commission to take steps to improve broadband connectivity across the country. SCORE said it supports the FCC's Broadband Plan.
Consortium partners include AT&T, Best Buy, Cisco, Constant Contact, Google, HP, Intuit, Microsoft, Skype and Time Warner Cable Business Class. More than 12,400 volunteer business counselors in 364 chapters serve their communities through entrepreneur education dedicated to the formation, growth and success of small businesses. The initiative will focus on increasing digital literacy, Web skills, e-commerce capabilities and online communications tools usage for small businesses. Consortium founders are donating to The SCORE Foundation free or discounted services and applications, training content, train-the-trainer assistance and funding.
"Broadband connectivity is critical for business success in today's marketplace. We want to make it easier for small businesses to access this technology to create efficiencies, leverage e-commerce, expand marketing and increase social networking online," said SCORE CEO Ken Yancey. "This consortium will make it easier than ever for small businesses to learn about using technology to grow their businesses, using broadband to enable e-commerce and leveraging technology to meet the demands of today's consumers."