Avaya Holdings Corp. (NYSE: AVYA) launched its pioneering Avaya for Communities program to provide Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Businesses (EDWOSB) in the U.S. with Avaya Intelligent Xperiences (IX) communications and collaboration solutions to support their growth and success.
The Avaya for Communities program offers Avaya IX solutions for unified communications and contact center at significantly reduced pricing, sometimes even at zero cost, to qualifying EDWOSBs for a twelve-month period. The U.S. Small Business Administration has established criteria that define EDWOSBs, including that the business is at least 51% owned and controlled by women managing day-to-day operations and making long-term decisions for the business. There are also income, net worth and asset criteria.
“Our commitment to corporate responsibility can create a positive change in the world through transforming the modern workplace. Improving access for disadvantaged businesses to leading communications and collaboration technology can help make a difference,” said Jim Chirico, Avaya President & CEO. “Recognizing that March 8 is International Women’s Day, we chose this month to launch an innovative and important program to support up-and-coming entrepreneurs. This is the latest in a series of diversity and inclusion initiatives that Avaya has introduced, and one that I am particularly enthusiastic about.”
Twelve years ago, there were roughly 5 million women-owned businesses in the U.S.,1 and today there are nearly 12 million. While significant progress has been made, 88% of women-owned businesses are considered small, with revenues less than $100,000, and women still find it difficult to secure funding particularly in the start-up stage. In fact, only 4 percent of the total dollar value of all small business loans goes to women entrepreneurs2. Recognizing the obstacles that EDWOSB can face, Avaya is helping to level the playing field.
One such example of a company pushing these obstacles aside is Yoconut Dairy Free, a coconut yogurt company based in San Francisco, California, and a small plant-based food innovation startup founded by a female entrepreneur. “We created Yoconut based on our passion for good food, and as a female-founded and operated business, I am pleased to see a major technology company like Avaya propelling women forward by taking an interest in helping businesses like ours grow and prosper,” said Bonnie Lau, CEO of Yoconut Dairy Free.
In addition to the Avaya for Communities program, Avaya supports education, humanitarian, and environmental projects around the world through their Month of Giving program and other corporate responsibility programs.