Federal Communications Commission

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Broadband and Small Business (Or, how my two-year-old’s love of cupcakes matters in the broadband world)

March 10th, 2010 by Lyle Ishida

This is a photo of my two-year-old daughter, Sydney, enjoying a cupcake from CakeLove in Tysons Corner, VA.  It was a snowy January day and, having a bad case of cabin fever, my wife and I took our daughter to the mall to run around and have a treat.  Because cupcakes are Sydney’s greatest culinary joy, we made sure that there was a cupcake place in Tysons Corner to help her enjoy her day.

That’s all well and good, but what exactly does a toddler’s love of cupcakes have to do with broadband? 

The answer was found last week at the Broadband and Small Business Forum held in Washington, DC.  The forum featured remarks by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski; SBA Administrator Karen Mills; Todd Sharp, President of Engage, Inc, and Warren Brown, owner of CakeLove.

Brown talked extensively about his experience with broadband and how technology assists him in business.  Brown and CakeLove leverage broadband for:

  • Streamline ordering and administrative functions, freeing up store employees to better serve customers.
  • Marketing CakeLove, accepting orders on-line, building support for the baking community.
  • Promote on-line couponing and building sales, interacting with the social media universe, and “go where people are” (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, etc). 

CakeLove is just one example of how small businesses are using broadband and the new economy to grow and prosper.  As Chairman Genachowski said, “When small businesses use broadband, it’s a double win.  Affordable high speed broadband enables small business to increase revenue by reaching a larger market and reduce costs by cloud-based efficiency tools.  More profit, more jobs created.”

In a time when America is looking for drivers of economic development, broadband’s promise looms large as a tool to help entrepreneurs and small business owners to maximize efficiency and reduce costs, build awareness and revenue and take their enterprises to the next level.   Warren Brown noted, “We’re not just baking cakes, we’re making digital ideas.”
Ultimately, the success of the National Broadband Plan will not only mean that every small business and entrepreneur across America can have access to this vital business tool, it will also mean that every father,  in every corner of this country, will be faced with the same dilemma that I faced in January –  when your darling child looks up to you with big, pleading eyes and asks:  Daddy, can I have a cupcake??  Pleeeaasseee????

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