Empower by GoDaddy Celebrates 5 Years and Sets Ambitious Goal of Supporting 10,000 Entrepreneurs
At the helm of GoDaddy’s Corporate Sustainability initiatives is GoDaddy senior director, Stacy Cline. In 2017, Stacy launched Empower by GoDaddy, a global community and philanthropic program equipping entrepreneurs in underserved communities with training, tools and peer networks to accelerate their journeys.
“I wanted to tie GoDaddy’s philanthropic and social impact efforts more closely to the mission of the company,” Stacy shares. “In doing research on the small business community, it became clear that there was a significant need for technical assistance and digital presence expertise, and factors like where you live or what you look like had an impact on whether you were able to get the resources needed to make your business successful.”
It was clear from this moment that GoDaddy could play a role in addressing the lack of support for small businesses and so Stacy and her team sought out to accomplish four goals:
- Bring needed tools and resources to the communities who need them most.
- Increase the resources that exist in communities for small business owners.
- Help business owners start and grow their own ventures.
- Bring other companies, leaders and individuals together to create a larger impact.
Key to the Empower by GoDaddy program are the company’s nonprofit and community partners. GoDaddy partners with 19 organizations across the globe like the Better Business Bureau Serving the Pacific Southwest and Build Institute to deliver the Empower program locally.
“These are the people and organizations working day in and day out on the ground. They know their community and they know the local entrepreneurs,” Stacy explains. “We work with our partners to understand the small business landscape and the gaps that exist. We then co-build a program together and provide funding and resources needed for the organization to execute the program locally.”
The Empower by GoDaddy curriculum offers 10 courses on key digital presence topics – from branding and evaluating your business, to developing, publishing and promoting your website to more advanced topics like search engine optimization and security. Courses are taught by GoDaddy employees, nonprofit partners and/or can be self-guided via GoDaddy’s online learning tool. All content is easily learned and digestible and is coupled with mentorship and coaching to ensure entrepreneurs can apply their knowledge directly to their business and have customized support.
Celebrating Empower by GoDaddy’s five-year anniversary, Stacy reflects on the program's milestone moments:
“I will never forget the first cohort graduation in Iowa. I met 15 entrepreneurs and heard how Empower helped each of them and their businesses. It suddenly clicked how much of a difference we could make through Empower. From our first 100 entrepreneurs served to 1,000 and now 5,000 entrepreneurs served. Every milestone as we’ve grown the program has been reason to celebrate.”
Since its launch in 2017, Empower by GoDaddy has expanded outside of the U.S. into Europe (London and Munich), and this year, the program will launch for the first time in Canada. To reach even more entrepreneurs, the program has been adapted into different languages and styles, including English, Spanish, German, and now French Canadian.
Stacy envisions even more growth to come as Empower heads into its next five years. This year alone, the company aims to reach a total of 10,000 entrepreneurs served – double what the program has achieved in its first five years. GoDaddy will continue to expand the program into other languages and adapt the curriculum based on current needs.
“The key to Empower is our focus on the quality of connections we make vs. the number of entrepreneurs we can serve. We want to have ongoing relationships with the entrepreneurs versus one-time interactions. With this type of model, we serve fewer entrepreneurs, but the experience is much better. That said, we’re figuring out how to scale the program while providing the same level of support.”
Supporting small business is as simple as buying from them, Stacy shares. In collaboration with one of Empower’s partners, Silver Lining, GoDaddy has released a local leader's action plan. In Summary, there are five actions local leaders and policy makers can take to support small business:
- Listen to business owners and understand their needs to build programs and services that will help them.
- There is money invested in supporting microbusiness, but we need to be sure it is being invested effectively. Look at current programs and resources and fill in the gaps.
- Quality over quantity – Focus on bringing folks together to create more robust programs rather than creating competing initiatives.
- Focus on outputs not outcomes – look at how deeply we’ve impacted small business owners to create lasting success.
- Communication matters – business owners are overwhelmed. We have a responsibility to work together and communicate to make things as easy and digestible for the business owners as possible.
"Corporate Sustainability is truly woven into the fabric of our business,” Stacy concludes. “This is key to ensuring we’re making the most impact in the community and engaging our employees in the most meaningful way. We apply what we do best and infuse that expertise into all our programs at GoDaddy.”
Stacy Cline, Senior Director of Corporate Sustainability
Empower by GoDaddy Spotlight Series: It’s increasingly important to support all entrepreneurs, no matter their circumstances, by meeting entrepreneurs where they are in their journey and understanding the unique barriers some entrepreneurs face. By partnering with diverse local nonprofits around the world, Empower by GoDaddy aims to reach those who haven’t otherwise had access by offering skills training, resources, and mentoring to help accelerate their business journeys. This article is part of the Empower by GoDaddy spotlight series that shines a light on the individuals who make this unique initiative possible.