Rosario B. Casas shares how the pandemic has accelerated technology and tech trends to keep an eye on

Since the pandemic, businesses have been forced to adapt to the “new normal,” causing a huge rise in tech advancement, tech trends, and reliance on digital tools to thrive. 

Women-in-tech leader Rosario B. Casas is building a community for the digital transformation and business growth of Hispanic entrepreneurs. (Photo courtesy Rosario B. Casas)

During Latina in Business’ March virtual panel, “Latina Small Business Post-Covid: Recovery Resources and Trends,” panelists discussed how the pandemic has shifted our relationship with technology. Now more than ever, businesses are relying on digital tools to connect with customers, grow, and thrive. 

Rosario B. Casas, award-winning women-in-tech advocate and co-founder of Business Creative Partners, BCPartnersTech, shared some insights on recent tech trends that have emerged since the pandemic. 

The pandemic fueled huge leaps in tech advancement

Speaking with panel moderator, Pilar Avila, Latinas in Business executive board member and founder of Renovad Experiential Retreats, Rosario shared some insights into the world of tech. In our increasingly fast paced world, tech is always changing and growing. However the pandemic caused an even greater push to the pace of change. 

Rosario B Casas, Colombian born serial entrepreneur, Co-Founder of Business Creative Partners (BCPartnersTech), and award-winning women-in-tech advocate.

Rosario B. Casas 12:30 

Since the pandemic has started, we finally realized that the world is not going back to where we were before. It means that the pace of change will be increasing, like double every year. I mean, many technologies, and in the use of technology, the world advanced like 10 years, during the pandemic. It means companies finally understood that they can’t fuel their companies or can’t plan their companies without the use of technology to be more efficient. But with all this, and in every industry, if you see, we realize that sustainable energy is important. Finally, we get that point. And of course, many industries will need to update their sensors, their installations, everything. And with that, what comes is basically that training and education and learning is not anymore, an alternative, it’s a must. It is not possible to think that I will keep being myself with what I know today for the next years to come. 

Rosario emphasizes that going forward, as tech advancement continues, adaptation and lifelong learning will be a must, not just for individuals, but companies and organizations as well. For businesses to thrive, post-pandemic, and keep up with evolving tech trends they will need to start adapting and learning side-by-side with the changing technologies. 

Rosario B. Casas 14:30

It means acquiring new skills every day to be updated….And also upscaling, it means if I already know how to do this, how I’m jumping into the next level of training. And with that, I am sure that events like this are not only becoming part of that lifelong learning educational system in formal educational system, but of course, that people with kids and people with adults at their homes will fill that gap that they need to bridge with training and education in new ways that we were not imagining before.

Pilar Avila  15:19  

Amazing. So the growth trend, and the possibilities that technology and digital applications bring is not only about one sector of the economy or one function, it really goes across every function of business. But this topic of training and lifelong learning, has been absolutely transformed during the pandemic, thanks to the accessibility of technology. 

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Three key tech trends business owners and entrepreneurs should tap into

Pilar Avila 24:20

I want to hear a little bit more about how you know on the ground, you’re helping companies really coming to the digital age, and what are the trends, maybe certain applications beyond the workforce engagement that you might be observing that we need to be aware of and tapping? 

Rosario B. Casas  24:40  

Well, yes, sure. Thank you. When the pandemic started, and we started with my husband, seeing small businesses closing, we decided to create a program, a 10 weeks program for small business owners in order to help them acquire not only digital skills but also a digital mindset. And well Susana [Baumann] is one of our coaches, and we have 65 phenomenal mentors. But the idea is to create a community of Hispanic business owners both in the US and Latin America because also if small businesses are closing any of both geographies we are having huge issues….We need these businesses to keep thriving, growing. And of course, their leadership is growing in the new digital era. 

Where I see the three key [tech] trends: Ecommerce, for sure and E-services is a must. The second is, all the touchless economy, how we can grow the services and the systems without or avoiding the risk of touching and cleaning and acquiring or assuming all that cost that it implies. And Google has amazing tools for where technology companies can build things there. And the last thing that I think is Productivity and Personal Life, for sure, is a trend. We need business owners to learn how to be productive, how to use technology to make their life easier, how to automate processes, right. And basically, these three trends are where we are trying and helping business owners to acquire skills.

Through the 10-week incubator program, Brookly2Bogota, which is currently running in both New York and Colombia, business owners and entrepreneurs gain access to tools, mentors, networking, and training to accelerate the growth of their company in the new digital world post-COVID and carry out the digital transformation they require while acquiring knowledge and skills related to design thinking and agile methodologies.

The program is currently on its second cohort. For more information visit: brooklyn2bogota.mn.co/ 

Grow with Google: Lucy Pinto discusses digital tools, trends, and resources for small businesses 

A report conducted by Grow with Google in partnership with the Connected Commerce Council found that since the pandemic began, 72% of Latino businesses are now using digital tools to reach customers online and keep their businesses open. 

Post-Covid Recovery: Trends in technology and digital tools 

Since the pandemic hit in March of last year, the impact on small businesses has been tremendous. Across the country, small businesses have struggled to stay afloat as restrictions continue to disrupt their business flow. Some of the small businesses that have been hit the hardest are minority-owned small businesses. 

During Latina in Business’ March virtual panel, “Latina Small Business Post-Covid: Recovery Resources and Trends,” panelists discussed how the pandemic has shifted our relationship with technology. Now more than ever, businesses are relying on digital tools to connect with customers, grow, and thrive. Lucy Pinto, who is the Manager of Diversity and Community Training programs for Google joined the conversation, sharing insights and resources on digital tools for small businesses. 

As the Grow with Google Program Manager, Lucy works to level the playing field for communities who face digital divides and barriers to digital resources. She manages the Grow with Google Digital Coaches Program which delivers free digital skills training for U.S. Black & Latino small businesses. 

Lucy Pinto shares digital trends and resources 

Lucy Pinto, Grow with Google Program Manager.

Pilar Avila, Latinas in Business Board Member and Chair of Finances and Governance, moderated the virtual panel. Below are some highlights from her conversation with Lucy Pinto on how small businesses can utilize digital tools, such as the Grow with Google program to help their businesses thrive. 

Pilar Avila  4:09  

So Lucy, access to technology. Digital Access has been, before, during and post pandemic critical for the growth of businesses. However, in many communities, many families, we have seen that the digital divide, and the lack of access to resources…has been accentuated with a pandemic. However, we know that you at Google are addressing exactly those challenges through your program Grow with Google Digital Coaches. Can you tell us about the program and the impact that it’s having as well as any growth trends that you’re identifying through the program, or any other services and programs at Google?

Lucy Pinto  5:45  

Yes, absolutely. Thank you so much for that. And thank you for the opportunity to be here….So Grow with Google is really Google’s initiative to provide digital skills training to Americans across all states. And so, as part of that initiative, one of our main focuses is to really focus on small business communities because we know that small businesses are the backbone of the country. And when you get a little bit more granular, what we do know, as data will show is that the rate at which Black and Latino businesses in the country are growing far extends those of other peers. And so we know that Black and Latino businesses, Latina businesses, as well, are fueling new business growth in the country.

And so in 2017, as part of an effort to help those businesses, those new Latino businesses that are launching and growing, we developed a program called the Grow with Google Digital Coaches Program to specifically cater and reach small businesses that are Black-owned, or Latino-owned. And through the Digital Coaches Program, we provide free digital skills training and coaching to help these small businesses grow and thrive online. And since 2017, we have actually helped train over 60,000 small business owners, where we have digital coaches.

Our coaches deliver workshops in English and Spanish as well, because we know that sometimes they’re you know, in these communities, especially, you have a lot of immigrant communities that come in, you know, they’re starting their businesses, they’re launching, and sometimes they prefer to get information in Spanish. And so we want to make sure that we’re not leaving anybody behind. And we have, we have those workshops in Spanish as well. 

When COVID hit, we really had to pivot our own program plan, because all of these trainings and programs were done in person. And so when COVID hit we pivoted to virtual and that April, I remember last April, we saw such a tremendous interest in learning about these digital tools. So much so that as a Grow with Google team, we ended up partnering with the Connected Commerce Council to lead a report on what are the trends that we’re seeing during COVID? What are our small businesses doing? How are they feeling? How are they thinking? And as part of that report, we actually found some very interesting facts, very specific to Latino small businesses.

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Key findings from the report 

  • Since the pandemic began, a large percentage of Latino small businesses are relying on digital tools as a safety net. 
  • 32% of Latino small businesses have been forced to close because of COVID. That’s 1 in every 3. 
  • 72% of Latino businesses (compared to 60% percent of the general public) adopted Google tools and digital tools to reach customers online, to update their customers, and to expand their reach and stay open.

How to grow your business with Google

Grow with Google Digital Coaches Program delivers free digital skills training for U.S. Black & Latino small businesses. The program has trained over 60,000 businesses on digital tools and works on initiatives that invest in communities that are underrepresented online to untap their potential, help them succeed, and drive bottom line impact. As our world becomes increasingly more digital, these skills and tools will be vital to business growth and success so be sure to take advantage of these free resources. 

Additionally, the Grow with Google Small Business Fund through the Opportunity Finance Network provides financial support to minority-owned and women-owned small businesses. The Fund will allow community development financial institutions (CDFIs) to support both the short-term recovery and long-term financing needs of America’s small businesses by providing low-cost, fixed-rate loans of up to 10-years with an option for interest deferral. 

Since the fund launched it has distributed $90 million in funding to businesses across the US through the local CDFIs and there is still $80 million left to deploy. 

For more information on the fund visit the Opportunity Finance Network.

Popular English ESL YouTuber launches innovative new language learning app 

From the popular ESL YouTuber, Maximiliano Lobos comes an innovative new language learning app that harnesses pronunciation recognition technology to help students get results and reach their language learning goals. 

The life-changing gift of language learning 

ESL teacher, Maximiliano Lobos

Maximiliano Lobos, YouTuber, ESL instructor, and creator of 123 Inglés. (Photo via curso123ingles)

Popular among the Hispanic community on YouTube, Maximiliano Lobos is an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher who has been teaching English for free on his channel for 13 years. 

He began his channel “undostresingles”  in 2008 at the age of 22 as a simple, amateur experiment. However, over the years this side project gradually grew and gained a space among Hispanics in the United States, who seek a free and quick way to improve their English. Now, his channel has over 550,000 subscribers and has broadcasted more than 80 million lessons. 

For many, Maximiliano’s free lessons have been a life-changing gift. Under his videos, one can find hundreds of testimonials in the comments from grateful viewers who have been able to learn English as a second language thanks to Maximiliano’s lessons. One such testimonial is that of Wilder Andrade, a former Colombian military man who managed to reach the United States with a contract in hand to work for a security company, all thanks to his good level of English-speaking. 

Wilder writes: “Maximiliano’s classes on YouTube literally changed my life, and I can say that I owe it mainly to him.” 

Making dreams come true through collaboration 

After years of teaching on his channel, Maximiliano is now expanding his “classroom” with his first mobile application. He says this new app will be a “total innovation” as it incorporates various advanced functions such as pronunciation recognition technology to better help students reach their goals. 

language learning app,

123 Inglés, the innovative new language learning app by ESL YouTuber, Maximiliano Lobos.

“It is a dream come true to launch this application after all these years,” he says. “During this time of pandemic I took advantage of it to make the app.” 

The app came about through an unexpected collaboration. Maximiliano tells that one day, while at his house, a former YouTube student who turned out to be a programmer called him and offered to develop the app. “He said, ‘Teacher, let’s make an app; you put your classes, and I program the app.’ So we became partners,” relates this YouTuber. And the rest is history. 

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Now, the app is ready to launch with 90 video classes where grammar is taught, as well as vocabulary, practice and pronunciation. There are also a variety of fun activities and exercises such as crossword puzzles, complete the sentence exercises, order the sentence, discover pairs, true and false, and exercises with voice recognition technology that tell students if their pronunciation is correct.

The app delivers the first 10 classes at no cost. It’s called “123 Inglés” and it’s available for download on the App Store and Play Store by clicking here.

How Chavez Web Design is helping to grow small businesses

Chavez Web Design, LLC is a one-stop-shop for all your digital marketing needs. They help small businesses create their logo, videos, business cards, website, Google Ads, Search Engine Optimization, and social media marketing. They understand that every business is different and are committed to helping small businesses grow and accomplish their goals.

Noemi Chavez, owner and founder of Chavez Web Design. (Photo courtesy Noemi Chavez)

As “Growth With Google” partners and SBDC (Small Business Development Center) consultants, they also work to educate the small business community on how to promote their business with Google, and run their business more efficiently. 

Their goal and mission is to help organizations reach their growth goals through effective digital marketing strategies.

Chavez Web Design’s small business roots 

Chavez Web Design was founded by Noemi Chavez in 2008 when she became pregnant with her first child. What began as a small side business to earn some extra money has now become a successful full-time family business that she runs with her husband, Luis. 

“I was excited about the idea of spending more time with my son and making some extra money to support our little family at the same time,” says Noemi. “I quickly discovered that owning a business was pushing me to grow and to create new opportunities to help other small businesses. My passion for helping others allowed us to help over 600 businesses with their website and digital marketing.” 

Noemi is driven by her clients’ success and she truly understands the struggles of starting a small business because she’s been there herself. 

“Opening a new business is hard,” she says, reflecting back on her own struggles.

When she first began, finding clients was not easy, especially being a Latina woman entering a male dominated field.  

“At first, every prospect I visited asked me for work samples, and at that time, I didn’t have any,” says Noemi. “In 2008, I was knocking on doors every day of every week, but still no clients. Keeping myself motivated was not easy after getting that much rejection.”

However, these setbacks did not stop her and finally, after many months, she got her first client and doors began to open. 

“He introduced me to his friends and I started getting some momentum. But the biggest breakthrough was when I got introduced to the local chamber. It was perfect for me because all of the small business owners were there! They had the opportunity to learn about what I do, and I was going to help them with their business.”

Luis and Noemi Chavez, accepting award. (Photo courtesy Noemi Chavez)

Since then, Chavez Web Design has grown and helped hundreds of businesses reach their goals and succeed. The success stories are what motivate and inspire Noemi. 

“Nothing is more satisfying than hearing our client’s success stories after helping them with their marketing strategies,” she says. “We love what we do and we bring the result to our clients. What makes our company unique is that I have a sincere interest in having your business excel.” 

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Grow your business: Plan your work and work your plan 

For Noemi, success is helping others succeed. She strives to make her business a warm and welcoming place for clients and takes the time to really get to know them and understand their needs so that she can help them create strong businesses that can survive any situation. She is also committed to promoting education in the small business community by providing them with access to one-on-one training and tools to grow their businesses.

Chavez Web Design, digital marketing

Chavez Web Design, specializing in digital marketing and design for small businesses. (Photo courtesy Noemi Chavez)

One story Noemi shared with us was of one of her students named Olga, who Noemi helped launch her dream business.

“I met Olga Duran in one of my Google classes,” says Noemi. “She was super excited to be there! She was working at an orange packing house for the last 25+ years but her dream was to open a flower shop. She started to follow my classes at every place I had a teaching event, even though she had never been 25 miles away from her city!”

“She finally found the courage to register her business and open the doors. In her first month, she doubled her salary by running a business that she loves! Stories like hers make us want to keep improving. We want to provide the best service to see dreams come true every day.”

Success stories like Olga’s remind us that our dreams are possible, we just need to take the leap and not be afraid to seek help.

Noemi says to any aspiring entrepreneurs, “Forget about the fear of starting a business and start getting educated. Find people and organizations that can guide you to make better decisions. Do not listen to people that have never run a business.” 

Too often we stop ourselves from making a move out of fear or lack of knowledge, but there are people out there like Noemi ready to help you navigate the world of business. Success is possible. Your dreams are possible.

“Start by creating a business plan. Remember to plan your work and work your plan,” Noemi says. “Set up the right expectation of what you are getting into and most important: Be flexible and adapt your strategies according to the results that you are getting. Don’t wait for the perfect moment because it will never arrive. Just work with what you have. And good luck! “

Microsoft’s female founders competition awards $2M to Latina Tech-preneur

Latina tech-preneur Cecilia Flores, CMO and co-founder of IoT tech startup Webee, was recognized as the winner of the Female Founders Competition, winning $2M for her business. 

female founders competition

Cecilia Flores, CMO and Co-Founder at Webee (Photo courtesy Cecilia Flores)

Originally from Salta, Argentina but based in San Jose, California, Cecilia is a tech-preneur passionate about the social impact of disruptive technologies and innovation. An advocate for inclusion and equal opportunities for Women in Tech, she is an active mentor of Stanford Latino Entrepreneur, an active member of the Vital Voices Network since 2010, and a board member of We-Evolution, a non-profit that leads the women third revolution.

In 2013, Cecilia and her husband, Lucas Funes, co-founded Webee, a technology innovation company that develops IIoT (Industrial-Internet of Things) and AI (Artificial Intelligence) solutions for industrial and commercial markets. 

Webee was selected as a winner in the US Enterprise software category of the Female Founders Competition for its ability to achieve sustainable industrialization through easy-to-deploy solutions to reduce the impact of manufacturing processes on the environment. 

Backing Female Founders 

Did you know that last year, companies founded solely by women received less than 2% of the total capital invested in venture-backed startups? 

Unfortunately, despite it being well documented that women-led companies deliver higher returns over time than those founded by men, female entrepreneurs continue to receive significantly less access to capital. This is what the Female Founders Competition hopes to change.

The competition, organized by M12, Microsoft’s venture fund, and partnership with Melinda Gates’ Pivotal Ventures and Mayfield invested USD $6 million in four winners. Two winners–one global and one US-based startup–were selected in each of the two categories: Deeptech and Software as a Service (SaaS). Webee was one of two winners in the SaaS category, receiving $2M for her business, while Deeptech winners each received $1M. 

female founders competition

Weebee video can be seen at https://www.webee.io

“We look for founders that are willing to go the extra mile and commit to tackle important challenges in the world,” says Tamara Steffens, GM t M12 Venture Capital. “We saw in Webee a combination of a technological vision with  strong purpose and the willingness to make it happen. The expertise of its founders and the proven track record make it possible to achieve the goal of sustainable industrialization.” 

How Webee’s IoT tech is revolutionizing agriculture

One of the key components recognized by the Female Founders Competition judges was Webee’s mission of sustainability. Webee has specifically been working within the Food, Beverage, and Agriculture industry to help reduce ineffecient processes that lead to food waste.

Webee Corporations has developed a unique, no coding visual approach to building complex IoT applications for the industrial and commercial markets. Their products enable customers to benefit from IoT technology without impacting operations and obtaining an immediate return on investment. 

For those who may not be as familiar with the world of tech, IoT refers to the Internet of Things. IoT technology is defined broadly as “objects that ‘talk’ to each other.” It is everything connected to the internet. It’s about networks, devices, and data working together in communication. From your phone to smart-refrigerators, home security systems, and automated light fixtures, these all operate as part of IoT. 

So what does this have to do with agriculture? And how is Webee working to help the Food, Beverage, and Agriculture industry? 

Well, IoT has become a crucial component in the current agricultural industry, helping to eliminate food waste. 

“One-third of all food produced in the world every year goes to waste, and 40% of that comes from inefficiencies during manufacturing processes,” says Cecilia. “IoT is a key enabler of the ‘Third Green Revolution’ to achieve efficient production and sustainability.” 

The original Green Revolution has Latino roots, originating in Mexico during the 1940s. This first revolution began as a means to develop new, disease resistant crops. Through the use of technology, scientist Norman Borlaug began conducting research in Mexico to produce a disease resistant variety of wheat that would also produce a high-yield of crop. This technology then spread across the globe in the 50s and 60s, revolutionizing food production by allowing a single plant to produce far more crops than ever before.

Now, IoT is spearheading a new Green Revolution by helping to combat food waste in the manufacturing process through what is being called “smart farming.” 

Like our smartphone and smart-houses, smart farming is utilizing technology to make farming more efficient. By using a system of sensors, farmers are provided with a mobile application that receives input and data from the sensors. These sensors can be used for a variety of functions such as crop monitoring, watering, cattle monitoring, and greenhouse automation. With IoT, smart sensors collect information on the soil, which help assess the quality of the soil and crops. Smart sprinklers are also set to water plants when soil reaches a certain level of dryness. This helps reduce wasting water and is cost friendly as well. 

These are just a few of the many ways IoT technology is helping to revolutionize the agriculture industry. 

“We work tirelessly to continue our deployment to reduce the impact of the inefficient manufacturing processes on the environment,” says Cecilia. “Our mission is to democratize the adoption of disruptive technologies to achieve sustainable industrialization.” 

With the USD $2M investment from the Female Founders Competition, Webee will be continuing the expansion in the Food, Beverage, and Agriculture industry and help reduce the impact of Food Loss on the environment. 

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Webee and COVID-19 

In addition to their work in the Food and Agriculture industries, Webee has also been involved in helping industries across the globe transition their manufacturing processes during Covid-19. 

Since the Covid-19 outbreak began, we have seen industries across the globe impacted by the virus. Supply chains were quickly shut down worldwide causing many companies to re-examine their supply chains and how they will ensure continuity in the event of the next crisis. 

Technology, such as Webee’s IoT and AI tools, will be a key ally in this transitional process. Automation and AI can help take over the redundant tasks in the supply chain of production, reducing human error and allowing employees to stay safe at home with their families without disrupting the supply chain. 

Cecilia Flores and Lucas Funes with their daughter, Lisa. (Photo courtesy Cecilia Flores)

We are only seeing the beginning of where IoT tech will go. But in order to ensure future innovation and development, it is important that more companies follow in the footsteps of the Female Founders Competition to create opportunities for women in tech and female founded companies to receive the necessary support and financial backing to continue producing innovative technologies. 

video trends

3 Latest video trends successful businesses use to engage their audiences

It is important to keep up with the latest video trends if your business wants to stay ahead of the curve and be able to come up with more interesting and engaging content. These are already some video trends your business should be aware of and keep tabs on.

By Guest Contributor Kyle Smith (promotional product review)

 

video trends

With Movavi, you can use theme and music templates to create your movie automatically.

There are three video trends in particular that your business should explore:

  • Live video content

One of the most defining video trends over the last year or so has been live video content. Now that it is more widely supported by social media, it has proven to be able to attract larger audiences and increase engagement levels. Due to its potential, your business should look into ways it can produce live video content of its own – whether it is webinars, event livestreams, discussions, Q&A sessions, or something else entirely.video trends

  • Serialized videos

The most prominent video trend of recent years has been to produce bite-sized, standalone videos – and serialized videos seem to fly in the face of that. While still a relatively new trend, serialized videos have been starting to attract more viewers and retain them for longer than normal standalone videos. For businesses this represents an interesting chance to try creating content in the form of video series that are longer and more detailed.

  • Virtual reality (VR) and 360-degree video
video trends

Video is one of the latest trends to market your business

While VR may not have grown at the pace was initially expected, it has steadily increased its presence – and 2018 will see it become even more accessible. As things stand the most feasible way to produce videos for the VR experience is 360-degree video, and that has become easier and more convenient as well. Not only is creating VR and 360-degree video content a novelty that is bound to attract more interest for businesses, but it is also a very different form of videos – where the video creator is a subject in their own video.

While your business will want to track and explore these trends, it is important to still produce content that looks impressive and stands out. On Mac’s you may very well rely on iMovie for that, but if you want an alternative to iMovie for PC you should try Movavi Video Editor.

Simply put Movavi Video Editor is a video creation tool that has the same intuitive approach as iMovie and is easy to use. It includes numerous powerful features that you can use to apply special effects and filters, cut and trim video footage, improve the video quality, add and edit audio tracks, and more.

Due to how straightforward and easy it is to use, you won’t need any prior experience to start producing polished and professional-looking videos for your business with Movavi Video Editor. In fact all that is required is a bit of creativity and you will be able to come up with engaging videos – especially if you leverage the video trends that were discussed above.

You might be interested: 3 Keys to creating your video strategy for YouTube newbies

Author Bio:

Kyle Smith creates video content for his business and constantly has an eye on any new trends or developments that could help him create more exciting, relevant and engaging videos. He is particularly interested in new types of videos that have surfaced over the last year and the technology that enables them.

Typically he uses Movavi Video Editor to compile his videos due to its user-friendly approach and powerful features. In his experience it has everything he needs to produce high quality videos that look professional, and is the perfect tool for creating business videos that are able to stand out.

 

 

pneumonia children with asthma

Latina entrepreneur combats infants’ pneumonia deaths with biotech

Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs and is the number one infectious cause of death among children under five years of age. Through Nopneu, Temiloluwa Adeniyi is developing a revolutionary tool that works like a pregnancy test to diagnose pneumonia in a simple and quick way. 

pneumonia children with asthma

One million kids die each year from pneumonia according to UNICEF

Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs and is the number one infectious cause of death among children under five years of age. More children die from pneumonia each year than measles, malaria, and AIDs combined. That’s close to 1 million children annually.

According to UNICEF, death caused by childhood pneumonia is usually linked to poverty-related factors such as: “undernutrition, lack of safe water and sanitation, indoor air pollution and inadequate access to health care.” The American Thoracic Society says, “Pneumonia does not have effective advocacy…. It does not get the attention it needs from biomedical scientists or from research funders. More effort is needed now.”

Attempting to tackle this issue is biomedical engineer, Temiloluwa Adeniyi, with her biotech startup, Nopneu. Through Nopneu, Adeniyi is developing a revolutionary tool that works like a pregnancy test to diagnose pneumonia in a simple and quick way using color coded results obtained from saliva swabs.

This process cuts back on the time lost through the current standard diagnosis method which is a chest x-ray– time which is often critical in whether a child lives or dies. In many countries and communities where childhood pneumonia deaths are so prevalent, access to equipment such as chest x-rays and specialized staff members who can operate these machines are often scarce.

A passion to help since childhood

pneumonia

Nopneu LLC founder Temiloluwa Adeniyi (courtesy Nopneu)

This Dominican/Nigerian engineering scholar formally began her startup in 2016, but she’s had a passion for science and humanitarian causes since childhood. She reflects on the formative experiences that helped her developed these passions.

She remembers watching shows such as The Magic School Bus and Bill Nye the Science Guy, which nurtured her interest in science. Commercials for organizations such as Save the Children and The Red Cross also impacted her as a child. “I would watch the commercials time after time and wonder how I could help the people those organizations served,” Adeniyi explains.

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Her mother was also a crucial influence, always volunteering and helping out within her community. She also encouraged Temiloluwa’s passion for S.T.E.M. by enrolling her in science enrichment programs and driving her to science museums for weekend excursions.

“All these childhood experiences have made me really passionate about driving social change with engineering.”

When pneumonia became a real challenge

pneumonia

Nopneu LLC founder Temiloluwa Adeniyi recently received a (courtesy Nopneu)

Temiloluwa took these passions and went on to study Biomedical Engineering at the University of Cincinnati where she began working on what would eventually become Nopneu.  

Her early project was an algorithm for a class that could determine when an infant was susceptible to pneumonia and the onset of the disease. After the project was completed Temiloluwa could not forget the 1 million children who continued to die yearly from the disease. “This fact was unacceptable to me,” she said.    

She cites her spirituality as an important factor in starting her business. “I felt God urge me to keep working on this project, and finally I accepted the challenge.” She formally began Nopneu in October of 2016. From there she began her journey as an entrepreneur, navigating the various challenges of entrepreneurship.  

The challenges of entrepreneurship and pneumonia

“One of the biggest challenges for me has been doing things for which there are no models….There aren’t many people of color in S.T.E.M and there are even fewer who are leading change in biotech…especially Afro-Latinas.”

You might be interested: Mafe Jackson, a Colombian Afro-Latina working tirelessly for DC Ward 7

Finding supportive groups such as the National Society of Black Engineers and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council Student Entrepreneurship Program have helped her access great opportunities and meet other like-minded individuals.

Another challenge has been raising money for her startup. “Many entrepreneurial resources…suggest first raising money from friends and family.” This may be an easy strategy for upper class entrepreneurs, but for those who come from working-class backgrounds like Temiloluwa, it is not so feasible. Instead, she has applied for grants and pitch competitions along with also setting up a GoFundMe page.

pneumonia

 

Her Latina background has been her strength in navigating these challenges. “When you come from a working-class background, like me, you learn how to make amazing things from a small amount of money.” She has implemented innovative strategies to work with her limited funds and make big changes. “It’s no different than what I …and what so many other Latinas see their Moms do. With a few simple ingredients and a small budget you could have a fabulous meal. I’m doing the same now, only with biotech.” Without her Latinas background, Temiloluwa believes she wouldn’t have the same strengths and approaches to problem solving and innovation.

Because of this, she urges other Latinas to utilize their strengths in their own endeavours.

“What the world perceives as our disadvantages can be our superpowers if we decide to see them that way, and leverage them to our full ability.”

 

Please help this Latina entrepreneur fulfill her dream visiting her GoFundMe page.

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5 Top business technology trends successful small businesses need in 2018

Business technology is generally associated with large companies but in reality, a small investment in specific artificial intelligence and business software can help any small business cover areas that otherwise would need hiring expensive specialized labor.

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As an entrepreneur, you need to think ahead to be successful in your industry. Whether you are a tech entrepreneur or a small business owner, here are the top business technology trends to look out for in the New Year that will help your business succeed.

1. Artificial intelligence in business technology

Artificial intelligence in the backend of your company website will share facts about people who visit your site. Online customer service will capture the location, email, and information about site visitors to quickly send to your sales team. This technology will save your small team time in finding new prospects on LinkedIn or other social media platforms to attract new business.

2. Automation in accounting software

How much do you pay your book keeping or accounting services? In most states, the hourly rate of an onsite accountant is between $22 – $180. Your employee salary expense or your independent contractor’s fees would reach a considerable amount at the end of the year if you require their service. The popularity of automated accounting software from developers like FreshBooks will cut costs in hiring new staff, and it will complete invoicing and other tasks most employees dread.

3. Video and virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and 360-degree videos

Most of you have seen the 360-degree video when house shopping on a realtor’s website. It is literally an online tour of a house to help you decide if it fits your needs before you travel to see it. With the help of VR and AR, companies will use virtual reality to share important products’ features for potential customers to test them at their store location or to buy them directly online. Think of it as an added benefit online that will help you connect with your local or even international audience and as a result, it can help you increase revenue.

4. Machine learning

We all know Facebook uses machine learning by figuring out retail items, cars, and music we like with algorithms that track our posts, comments and likes. The same technology will be used by companies to learn about their customers’ personal behavior. Online capabilities will basically capture the number of times, for instance, a company’s running shoes offering was shared, retweeted and/or blogged about. It can help you figure out what is hot, and what’s not when it comes to keeping or getting rid of products.

Let’s not forget Millennials –the majority of social media users– are on track for owning purchasing power according to Forbes. The site recently stated, “This year it is estimated that millennials in the U.S. alone will be spending $200 billion. By 2018, they will have the most spending power of any generation.”

5. Human resources tech recruiting

Your human resources team needs recruitment management systems (also known as e-recruitment) if you do business in the hospitality, customer service, healthcare or retail industries. The software will search for top talent in your area of choice –locally, regionally or internationally- so your marketing team can send out targeted emails about new job opportunities. Your HR team can connect with potential candidates with the click of a button on their smartphone to see a list of prospective applicants who are searching for a new job.

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Video assessments will be sent to candidates without you having to schedule an in-person interview. It will record the conversation, and your HR team can decide who to invite for an interview.

As a smart business owner, you can motivate your team towards success by helping them develop their particular strengths. Technology can help you strengthen your relationships with your team by replacing repetitive or unproductive tasks while putting their valuable skills to work on the jobs they enjoy doing the most.

It might cost you to invest in business technology, but if used wisely you can see a return on investment and a happier, more productive team.

lower your stress Technology addiction and the smartphone

The insanity of technology addiction and why more is less

Are you trapped in the technology addiction? Here are some facts about our so called “productivity” and why we need to disconnect sometimes to do a better job.


Technology addiction and the smartphone

Having my own business has been the perfect game for my “workaholic-ism”: long hours, little vacation time or restful weekends, or other life activities. Little by little, now that I look back, everything that left me some free time –my children leaving for college, or finding time to do the things I love like dancing and or/traveling– was replaced with good ol’ work, always there to fill a blank in my life.

Launching a digital initiative, however, has been by far the most addictive activity of all and I’m not alone. According to an article from Knowledge@Wharton, our lives have become so intertwined with technology that it is hard to distinguish when we are working and when we are living –not for nothing, the Blackberry is also known as the “crackberry.” Computers are being called “the new cigarette,” an addiction that is killing us physically and mentally.

In this article, Carolyn Marvin, a researcher professor on the social impact of communication technologies at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, says: “Technology is just a very efficient way of implementing a view we already have of ourselves. That’s the notion that who we are is our ability to produce in the marketplace and constantly show that we are producing.”

Moreover, the view we have of ourselves is not only related to productivity but deeply intertwined with the ideology of a society that has made the so-called American work ethics the center of its national ethos, the “American Dream.” No wonder why millions of immigrants find it fascinating to land in the “purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain!”

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Source: graphs.net

In the ideals that freedom is the opportunity for prosperity, success and upward mobility achieved through hard work, we believe that we can do and become anything and everything we want as long as we apply ourselves to it. However, less and less Americans find these principles to be truth these days. In fact, our American Dream has become the daily nightmare of technology addiction, forcing us to be constantly “connected” to our jobs, businesses, social media channels, and networks in the fear that something catastrophic might happen if we fall short of digital presence.

Something catastrophic is happening with technology addiction

And something catastrophic is happening: not only is our workforce losing productivity but also we are losing the opportunity to live in the real world, with real people, doing real things and regaining control of our lives.

A couple of years ago, my daughter –who lives in Argentina– came to visit. Even with Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook, and all the digital ways in which we connect, it is hard for me to not have a present relationship experience with her. I tried to raise my children in a close family environment, and the family for many years were just the three of us, so when she decided to go back to her country of birth, it was a big punch.

One day, we had planned a special sushi lunch just the two of us to catch up. I was waiting for the confirmation of an article I had pitched to a publication at that time, and had my phone on. In truth, I was a little anxious about getting it for that was a well-paid gig. Of course the confirmation came in the middle of our long-awaited time together, and it distracted me from the conversation.

My daughter was truly upset, and she was right –although I did not acknowledge it at the time. “Can you turn off your cell phone for one hour?” she asked. I felt she was not fair and maybe she didn’t have to. All she was asking was my undivided attention after one year of not seeing each other. Do you think it was much to ask?

So there I was, not having a real boss –I have been my own boss for many years now– being enslaved by the need to be constantly present in a world that only exists in the imagination of all we agree to participate in, a world where real emotions and real people are not always present.

Don’t let technology tell you who you are

I have been on Facebook and other social media channels long enough now to experience the damage that the wrong use of these tools can cause in our lives. I’m not a technology basher, on the opposite, I love using and learning it, and when used to our advantage, it can provide a very fulfilling experience.

What I’m not buying anymore –neither should you– is the invariable bombardment of success stories, the “be all you can be” barrage, and the “work your passion and everything else will follow” stories that berate us on a regular basis. Yes, I’ve used the right verb because… what happens then if you don’t achieve? What if you don’t find your passion? What if “everything else” does not follow? Then you feel like the big LOSER, the one that “doesn’t make it happen” because you don’t apply yourself, you don’t work hard enough or simply “doesn’t have it.”

And here we go again, in this merry go round of lies and pressures, letting the good moments in life pass us by, seeing our children leave home before we were really there for them, and allowing this obsessive need to feel important and powerful in a world that only exists in our willingness to take part in it, and will still exist even when we disconnect from it for a two-week vacation.