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Small Business Owners Turn To GoFundMe To Stay Afloat



Most people would assume that running a business at the start is one of the largest hurdles for a business owner. But, just like losing weight, the hardest part of it all is maintaining your ideal figure. In the business industry, what separates the cream from the crop from the scraps are the ones who manage to keep their company alive in the long run. 

Based on research conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly half of small businesses fail within five years of launching. 

And for those small businesses whose sales and profits are plummeting, the future might be unstable and unsure. Sadly, there is no instruction manual on how to save a sinking ship. Every small business is unique, and each one carries its own specific risks and rewards. Still, there are some strategies business owners do to stop taking water in and start sailing once more. 


GoFundMe, along with other websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, is a tool that business owners have been using since to keep them afloat. These platforms are most notable in assisting/ funding medical, debt, funeral costs, or natural disaster relief. 

Today, crowdfunding is increasingly rampant and used by struggling small businesses, especially when banks and other lenders turn them down. Most establishments tend to ask for support from their loyal customers. 

According to Chief Executive Rob Solomon; Thousands of small businesses, ranging from comic-book shops to drive-inn movie theaters across 19 countries, have now petitioned campaigns for assistance. 

“These independent businesses become pillars in a community, and when they can’t stay open, the communities rally,” Mr. Solomon added.

An Owner’s Perspective

Nick Perry, an owner of a British grocery, a restaurant called Tea & Sympathy, and the fish-and-chip shop A Salt & Battery located in Greenwich Village, out of desperation, started her GoFundMe page just last year when she was not able to pay rent. Her campaign reached $52,000 nearly towards its $100,000 goal. 

 “We just couldn’t pay the rent,” Ms. Perry said. “The rent is so astronomical.”

While having positive results on her fundraiser, with loyal customers stopping by more often and neighbors offering free labor, she says she would still consider turning to GoFundMe in the future.

On the latter, Ms. Perry made changes on her business model and eventually changed payroll companies, reduced headcount, and redid her menu to cut costs.

Making Ends Meet

Another business owner- Peter Glassman of Books of Wonders in Manhattan, launched a GoFundMe campaign, which started on October 22 and has raised more than $23,000 towards its $250,000 goal. The company has 30 employees between its two stores and annual sales, just over $2 million.

Mr. Glassman said he can pay his current bills but needs money to move the bookstore’s flagship from 18th Street to a more affordable and high-trafficked space in the Flatiron District. He added that he struggled to pay the annual $600,000 lease at his current location, particularly after his most recent subtenant, City Bakery, entered financial problems and withdrew.

The bookstore’s uptown store will remain in its current location.

A professor, Bruce Bachenheimer at the Lubin School of Business at Pace University, said that the validation business owners get from their campaigns might not be enough to keep a business open but reassure them.

After a successful GoFundMe campaign, owners might say to themselves, “‘I should hang on, I should keep going,'” Mr. Bachenheimer said.

The Real Struggle

On the other side of the coin, Chris Doeblin, owner of the Book Culture shops in Manhattan, says not every struggling business wants to ask their customers for donations. That is why he started a community lending program just this summer after he encountered existential challenges like rising rents, online shopping (Amazon), the increase of minimum wage, and the inability to borrow money forced him to the brink of closing.

Mr. Doeblin has raised $600,000, which he plans to repay within five years at 4% interest, a far lower rate than he could get elsewhere.

“People are recognizing that there’s a big downside to Amazon and buying things online,” he said. “I hope it’s not too late,” he added.

Fact Check 

Small businesses like retail shops, in particular, are facing a phase-out due to the increasing popularity and demand of online shopping on e-commerce websites.

According to the UBS analysts, roughly around 75,000 retailers will have to shut down their business in 2026.


Tone Balzano Johansen, the owner of Sunny’s Bar in Brooklyn, NY, shares the same difficulty and aspirations but has overcome trials and still going.  

To business owners in her predicament, she offers this advice: Don’t give up easily.

“If this means something to you, fight. Fight tooth and nail,” Johansen said. 

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How Climate Action Can Be Forced by 137 Million Americans That Own Stocks



Climate change is coming sooner than later, which is why climate action is necessary to avoid problems to rise after. Here’s how owning stocks help us.

The US presidential elections are a few days away, and there is a possibility of a political solution that will resolve the climate crisis. Should the Biden administration get elected, they may provide us with climate legislation. However, no one has any guarantee of when that will happen and what the outcome will turn out to be. 

While we are under the current administration, the Department of Energy has settled with referring to natural gas as US freedom molecules. This not the introduction to carbon tax the Republicans are hoping for. 

So who can we turn to when it comes to immediate climate action? The corporations need to step up. We can see that some companies are jumping into action, like Beyond Petroleum, who is working on implementing their slogan. The company announced that they plan on cutting oil production to 40% in the following decade and expect to reach zero emissions by the year 2050.

It has joined hundreds of companies that are looking at science-based processes when it comes to cutting emissions. Nearly 300 companies that range from apparel to automotive to cutting their emissions to 35%, which is a great objective considering that these companies are responsible for having more emissions than Spain and France combined. 

For tech companies, they seem to be in an arms race for sustainability. In 2019, Amazon promised to purchase 100,000 electric delivery vans to go carbon neutral by the year 2040 and to reduce enough carbon to offset all its past emissions.  

Meanwhile, Microsoft is participating in Transform to Net Zero, which is a group of private companies that aim to achieve net-zero global emissions by no later than 2050.

The latest update for climate action has received both hopeful and cynical reactions—hope that the changes made by corporations can make a significant difference, but cynical about whether or not these commitments will be achieved. 

However, Americans who own stock have the capacity to force corporations to take their own step towards climate action. If the 137 million Americans that own stock can convince the corporations they own stock from to take these steps, you can ensure that the climate will improve overtime.

It’s normal to feel some skepticism towards the actions of the corporations as some companies share the lack of concern towards the climate, but with the help of shareholders and voters, they can force these corporations to provide tangible proof of their climate action. 

Their reward for this is that they can keep their shareholders because, at the end of the day, you can’t have shareholders if the world isn’t sustainable for living and that companies need shareholders to support their companies and products. 

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1 in 4 Women Are Considering Downgrading their Careers Due to Coronavirus



The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the economy hard in more ways than one. Most people have lost their jobs, and more are thinking of downgrading as well.

The coronavirus epidemic continues to affect everyone’s life in more ways than one, especially when it comes to livelihood. According to data from Lean In and McKinsey & Company, women are affected in a disproportionate matter. 

Based on a statement from the Women in the Workplace, one in four women are thinking about leaving the workforce or downgrading their careers because of the damage brought about by COVID-19.

Sheryl Sandberg, the founder of Lean In, says that this is the most alarming report they’ve seen. She believes that the coronavirus has a highly adverse effect on women and poses the risk of undoing all the progress that has been made for working women.

From the start of 2015 up to the start of 2020, the population of women who occupied senior vice president positions rose from 23% to 28%, with the total amount of women in the C-suite going from 17% to 21% during that time frame. While this growth shows great promise, Sandberg is emphasizing that the impact brought about by the pandemic poses a threat to this progress. 

For the first time in the years that this report has been released, Lean In and McKinsey and Company research staff are seeing proof that women are leaving their careers at higher rates than men. 

In the previous six years of this report, data showed that women and men leaving the workforce were at similar rates. 

The ongoing increase in the number of women leaving or considering leaving their jobs is due to the caregiving crisis that women are faced with, and this has only worsened because of the pandemic with most daycare centers and schools staying closed.

According to a study from Lean In and Mckinsey & Company, mothers are three times more responsible for most of the childcare and housework than fathers during COVID-19. 

Aside from that, mothers are said to be more worried about their performance in work being judged negatively because of their responsibilities when it comes to caregiving during the coronavirus pandemic.

For Sandberg, a lot of women are still held back by the broken rung on the corporate ladder, which is the first step to getting promoted to managerial positions. For every 100 men getting promoted to manager, only 85 women are able to reach this position. 

The only way women can reach positions that are male-dominated is by understanding the unique problems that women face. The goal of the Lean In founder is to make work work for both women and men, and she notes that you can make work work for parents by being flexible and giving people the support they need, so they progress forward. 

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Less Plastic, More Life: How This Youth Leader Is Ending Bali Plastic Bags



Plastics, at one point in time, may have been a useful and normal part of everyday life. However, because plastics take forever to disintegrate, it has become a global ecological problem.

More often than not, these plastics end up polluting the environment and also end up killing animals who mistake them for food. Because of these environmental concerns, Melati Wijsen from Bali, Indonesia, decided to put a stop on single plastic use forever. And she’s just 18 years old.

The Genesis: Bye Bye Plastics!

Indonesia is the second world’s largest plastic producer next to China. Wijsen saw the ill-effects of single-plastic use in her hometown as plastics were everywhere! The side of the road, the rivers, and the canals – plastics were an eyesore to the popular tourist destination.

Still, the quality of environmental life in Indonesia was rapidly declining as plastic usage increased. Melati Wijsen, together with her sister, just came from a school video showing inspirational leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King when they were inspired to start doing something.

They then formed the non-profit organization called Bye Bye Plastics in 2014, where its primary objective is to ban the use of single-use plastics throughout the community. Their plan of action included encouraging their schoolmates to join their cause and often held meetings during lunchtime!

Within months, the Bye Bye Plastics team was able to mobilize communities to clean the polluted beaches with a whopping 50,000 people clearing more than 150 tons of plastics! Also, the team encouraged businesses to reduce their use of plastics.

By 2018, the team partnered with the Balinese government to ban the use of single-use plastics, which took effect in July 2019. At present, Bye Bye Plastic expanded globally, with 50 teams spread out in over 29 countries.

What’s Next?

Because of the success of Bye Bye Plastic in Indonesia, Wijsen became a prominent youth leader with a global audience. She has spoken to different youth leaders in various prominent platforms such as the United Nations conferences, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Economic Forum.

But she will not stop there. In an interview with Wijsen, she feels proud of her team’s accomplishment. Still, she feels frustrated that the world’s awakening about such a prominent environmental issue took six years in the making. She also vowed to assist with other youth-led initiatives.

Wijsen and her sister founded another non-profit organization, Youthtopia, where its primary objective is to have a support group among other budding youth leaders. It also aims to develop the skills of youth leaders through development activities, peer-learning activities, and online workshops.

To date, Youthtopia has catered to a multitude of youth leaders whose cause ranges from anti-human trafficking to Black Lives Matter foundation. In another interview, Wijsen mentioned that she has all the hope for the youth and their generation because of their passion for making an impact on the community.

When asked for advice to be given to youth leaders across the globe, Wijsen wisely mentioned three actionable steps to take to make an impact:

  • Empower Yourself
  • Collaborate with others
  • Reach out to leaders

Indeed, youth leaders such as Wijsen are inspiring figures not just for the youth but also for anyone—regardless of age, gender, and nationality, to do the right thing and make an impact on the community.

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