Small Business Tip: New Free Online Store for Maryland Seafood

Buying and selling Maryland seafood is easier for the state’s entrepreneurs, small business owners and consumers.  There is a new online home for Maryland seafood direct from watermen and aqua-farmers as easy as picking up the phone and placing an order. 

The University of Maryland Environmental Finance Center and the Maryland Department of Agriculture are working together to make a berth for local seafood on the Internet – at the University’s virtual farmer’s market, www.Foodtrader.org

 

 A free service to buyers and sellers, Foodtrader.org provides instantaneous listings of fresh foods available only from Maryland farms. The idea is to offer consumers the freshest food at competitive prices by connecting them directly with local farmers and now the fishing industry.  Maryland Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance, says he is thrilled with this new opportunity for producers to reach consumers; “It’s a perfect example of how technology can help our agricultural and seafood industries sell their products directly to consumers,” Hance says.

 

“I feel like I am doing my part to keep the seafood industry here sustainable,” says Joanne Throwe, director of the University of Maryland Environmental Finance Center and creator of the website. “Buying local should be more than just about fruits and vegetables.”

 

Signing up for Foodtrader.org is free and acts like a Craig’s List for local foods.  Currently, the site is designed for Maryland producers and consumers; as such, anyone outside the state is unable to create an account.  Interested, but don’t live in Maryland?  Anyone can visit the site, click on listings, and view listing details and producer contact information — that is, buy from anyone listing items for sale.

Small Business Tip: Free Small Business Security Guide

How secure is your business computer system?
 
October is Cyber Security Awareness Month, and there is a special offer for SBTV.com viewers and small business owners from  the National Institute of Standards and Technology. 

It is a free guide to help small businesses and organizations understand how to provide basic security for their information, systems and networks. 

The guide, Small Business Information Security: The Fundamentals, was authored by Richard Kissel, who spends much of his time on the road teaching computer security to groups of small business owners ranging from tow truck operators to managers of hospitals, small manufacturers and nonprofit organizations. The 20-page guide uses simple and clear language to walk small business owners through the important steps necessary to secure their computer systems and data.
blogpainPlease follow me on Twitter to learn more about small business trends and events to give you a competitive edge in business at http://twitter.com/danitablackwood

Small Business Tip: High-Tech Help Gets Farmer International Attention!

One mid-west farm has several high-tech communications features at work today getting world-wide attention!  You see, Verizon Wireless is sponsoring Benton Farms’ quest to offer the world’s largest corn maze in Guinness Book of World Record’s.

 You can see a familiar face and slogan in the 54.428 acre maze open until November 1, 2009 at Benson Farms in Denton, Nebraska. The sponsorship is not the only high-tech communications link at the farm; the Benson family uses Twitter, text messages and other social media to let visitors to the farm know about special events and activities. You can visit the farm website at http://www.bensonfarms.com to sign up for updates.

 

Located a short drive west of Lincoln, Nebraska, the record-setting corn maze is a great place to get some fresh air, have some fun and enjoy a piece of the “good life.”  The huge maze holds 14.88 miles of trails in four phases ranging from easy to moderately difficult.  The easiest phase will require 10 to 20 minutes to navigate.  The most difficult phase will require 45 to 120 minutes to navigate.  One phase of the maze gets haunted after dark on Friday and Saturday nights beginning October 9th.

 Sponsorship of the maze is just one way Verizon is reaching out to small firms.  There are Verizon free Wi-Fi hot spot access at more than 14,000 locations nationwide, available to every Verizon business broadband customer.  Free Verizon Wi-Fi hot spot locations include hotels, airports, restaurants, coffee shops, retailers, convention centers and public locations across the U.S. For a complete list, visit http://www.verizon.net/hotspots.

Please follow me on Twitter to learn more about small business trends and events to give you a competitive edge in business at http://twitter.com/danitablackwood   To learn more about vital technology issues impacting your enterprise; head to http://www.sbtv.com/Technology

Small Business Tip: McAfee to Launch New Online Support Community

Small business owners and entrepreneurs will soon have the opportunity to link online with the world’s largest dedicated security technology company. 
blogpainMcAfee is working to launch an online support community so users can interact with each other to share ideas, discuss emerging trends and help resolve problems.  McAfee technicians, developers and product managers will be able to engage customers in new ways to enhance products and improve processes according to a media release.

Barry McPherson, executive vice president of worldwide support and services at McAfee, said the online community “will enable us to evolve beyond traditional phone and e-mail based services and focus more on collaboration with our customers through discussions, blogs, wikis, user groups and community polling.”

McAfee already monitors Twitter and Facebook. The online community, which will launch in the fourth quarter, will run on Jive’s social business software platform. Please follow me on Twitter to learn more about small business trends and events to give you a competitive edge in business at http://twitter.com/danitablackwood   To learn more about vital technology issues impacting your enterprise; head to http://www.sbtv.com/Technology

Small Business Tip: New Mobile Payment Processing from Amazon

Small retailers and businesses there are new mobile payment options! Amazon is rolling out a new offering bringing mobile payment processing for partners.  This new suite of payment processing tools for mobile devices makes online shopping easier and faster for consumers and allows cell phone users to quickly pay with their devices at partner retailers.

A number of mobile payment providers are currently servicing retailers; but Amazon is a major player in e-retail and the new service could be an excellent option for businesses exploring options to easily accept mobile payments. Amazon’s new service will automatically detect the request origin, meaning a Web or mobile browser, or a mobile application so that developers don’t need to re-work their applications. Consumers will be able to make purchases on third-party mobile sites using the payment information in their Amazon accounts.

 (Amazon MPS process:(Credit:Amazon Payments)

Please follow me on Twitter to learn more about small business trends and events to give you a competitive edge in business at http://twitter.com/danitablackwood   To learn more about vital technology issues impacting your enterprise; head to http://www.sbtv.com/Technology

Small Business Tip: Entrepreneurs Lead the Way in Green IT

The second annual Green IT trend survey by CDW Corporation is out and entrepreneurs are not letting the current economic downturn stall green IT initiatives.  In fact, researchers found small businesses are the most likely to invest in Green IT in the coming months, even in light of the recession. Small businesses came out on top for green IT plans over other sectors including government and large corporate initiatives. 

 

Nearly a third (31 percent) of small business IT decision makers say their companies plan to implement Green IT initiatives in the next two years!—more than any other corporate or government sector. More than half (54 percent) still report cost as the greatest barrier to implementing Green IT solutions.
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Small business is also driving green technology on the nation’s highways!  Small business owners and self-employed professionals are taking part in a two year test of hydrogen fuel-cell powered vehiclesClick here to hear from one of the test-drivers and see what the hydrogen fuel test cars look like.

Small business owners are also starting from the ground up in going green in business. Government incentives and energy savings are two reasons small business owners are choosing to build green. Click here to learn more about green building initiatives and incentives on the small business level.

Please follow me on Twitter to learn more about small business trends and events to give you a competitive edge in business at http://twitter.com/danitablackwood

Small Business Tip: Fighting the Flu with Free Shots & Wellness Help

Small business and mid-sized companies are increasingly developing initiatives to help employees develop a healthier lifestyle. With a rising number of sick days taken by employees and increasing health care costs, employers have a vested interest in the health and wellness of their workers. More business owners are working to create low cost wellness programs and the authors of the book, “Discover Wellness: How Staying Well Can Make You Rich”, offer some suggestions in this short video interview.

Putting an emphasis on healthy behaviors in your enterprise can help workers be more productive.  A number of simple ideas can help steer staff toward healthier choices. Click here to see just a few in a free video of “Your Healthy Biz.”

Effective wellness programs do not have to be expensive. Changing vending machine selections or offering health training such as smoking cessation programs or weight loss clinics can help workers make better choices.  Steering staff toward a healthier lifestyle can begin with free, seminars from community health agencies or a wellness fair.

One drugstore operator is pledging to provide 100,000 free flu shots starting Monday, October 5, 2009. CVS pharmacies in sixteen states will give away vouchers to unemployed people for three million dollars in flu shots. The vouchers will be given out at some One-Stop Career Centers starting Oct. 5. The vouchers can be redeemed at CVS pharmacies that are running flu shot clinic events, or during regular business hours at walk-in MinuteClinics inside CVS stores.
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More information on contacting the individual employment centers participating in the free flu voucher program can be found at www.cvs.com/flu.

The CVS free flu shot vouchers will be available in Washington, DC, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas, and Virginia.

Please follow me on Twitter to learn more about small business trends and events to give you a competitive edge in business at http://twitter.com/danitablackwood