Remember to register to vote, plus Google launches undercover SMB PDX project

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Happy National Voter Registration Day! Are you registered — and more importantly, are you legally bound to give your employees time off to go vote? Today is the day to find out! Plus, Google attempts to go undercover in support of small businesses and the rapid growth of minority women-owned businesses.

Google launches undercover project in PDX to help SMBs

Tech giant Google is attempting to get into the small business game … on the down low. The company’s Portland, Oregon office is the site of a new experiment called Stride, aimed at supporting SMBs. The Stride project, which currently has no outward indication that it’s a Google product, aims to create an online forum for entrepreneurs and business owners to ask questions and find advice.

The Number: 150. More than 150 businesses have already registered on the site. 

The Quote: “… the company chose to launch its project in Portland because of its high rate of local entrepreneurship, distinctive commercial neighborhoods and civic support for small businesses.”

Minority women-owned business growth outpaces the rest

A new report from American Express found that minority women are starting businesses at a rate of nearly 5 times that of all company owners. The study looks at both national and local trends and draws from government Census Bureau reports. Half of women-owned businesses are concentrated in 3 industries and the number of businesses that provide services, such as nail and hair salons or pet care, rose by almost 30% between 2014 and 2019.

The Number: 13 million. As of 2019, women owned 42% of US companies — or approximately 13 million businesses. 

The Quote:  “… woman-owned companies that offer professional, scientific or technical services, such as lawyers, bookkeepers, public relations firms and consultants also grew by 14%.”

It’s National Voter Registration Day — do you know the laws in your state?

With the 2020 election quickly approaching, companies big and small are urging people to exercise their civic duty and register to vote. For small biz owners, National Register to Vote Day is a good opportunity to learn (or re-learn) what laws govern your workers’ rights to take time off to go vote. 

The Number: 30. As of 2018, 30 states guaranteed workers the right to take time off to vote.

The Quote: “Currently, there is no federal law that mandates employers provide their employees time off to cast their ballots. But the majority of U.S. states have time-off-to-vote laws, also referred to as voter-leave laws, and have different requirements and exceptions for employers and employees.”

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