Empire State Digital offers help to small businesses

Empire State Digital is a new state program to help small businesses increase their online presence through e-commerce enablers, including Shopify, Square, Clearbanc, and Etsy.

The partners selected by Empire State Development to participate will offer solutions such as education, free resources, marketing support, and discounted pricing. Options can be reviewed on Empire State Digital's website.

Globalization, the digital economy, and now COVID-19 have been enormously disruptive to everyday commerce. New York-based small businesses make up 98 percent of all businesses across the state, according to a release from the governor’s office.

Empire State Digital is an invitation for those businesses to explore the benefits of expanding beyond their physical brick-and-mortar location to an online marketplace. Building a digital presence allows entrepreneurs and small business owners to reach their existing customer base, new markets and provides continuity of business at a time when social distancing is an essential public-health priority. 

These partners plan to offer the following services:

— Shopify

The first 90 days free for new brick-and-mortar merchants registering before Nov. 30 are free. Free access is offered to Shopify Point-of Sale Pro features until Oct. 31. Free contactless payment, while supplies last, is offered to Shopify Tap & Chip Reader for new POS retailers and $500 in Shopify app store credits is offered for new Shopify POS brick-and-mortar retailers;

— Square

Educational workshops are offered for small businesses, including restaurants and retailers, interested in going online and dedicated office hours in English and Spanish. Websites can be built for free with Square Online, and free processing is offered for up to $1,000 in credit card transactions for the first 180 days after joining Square;

— Clearbanc 

Educational content on improving the financial health of a business is offered with discounted rates on funding and free company valuation and track growth week-over-week; and

— Etsy

Educational content on how to start a successful online business is offered and free listing credits for new sellers.

Empire State Development's partners will provide counseling and hand- on support through the Entrepreneurship Assistance Centers, Small Business Development Centers, Manufacturing Extension Partnership Centers, Incubators, and Hot Spots.

The aim of the program is to give small business access to toolkits and resources to digitize, find new markets, and adapt to the new economy due to the changes from COVID-19.

More Community news

  • A new course taught by Rabbi David Katz at B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation in Albany will look at the effect of gossip and how individuals and society respond to it.

    “On Gossip” will be offered four Tuesdays beginning Nov. 3, from 10 to 11 a.m. via Zoom.

  • ALBANY COUNTY — Cornell Cooperative Extension of Albany County and the Voorheesville Public Library will present a virtual four-part education series called The Middle Years for parents and caregivers of children from ages 5 to 10.

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