19-Year-Old Co-founders Redefine Online Dating with Skippit, a Voice/Video Dating Platform

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Winnie McCabe & Marc Baghadjian, Co-founders of Skippit

Brown University student, Winnie McCabe and Babson College student, Marc Baghadjian, both 19, is one of this year’s competitors in the i.Invest National Youth Business Competition. Their startup, Skippit, is a dating platform that uses video and voice, and a slew of other features, to build intimate connections.

McCabe spoke with us about the business venture:

Tell us about your business.

Skippit is an iOS voice/video calling speed-dating platform for users ages 19-28 looking for an interactive experience that addresses the many shortfalls plaguing the incumbents in the online dating sector. Once two users match on Skippit, they have the option to spontaneously call or schedule a five-minute voice or video call with each other. If the call is successful, Skippit will suggest fun activities for their date based on their shared interests, then offer them insider deals on these activities for the date.

What inspired the creation of Skippit?

Marc and I both have had unsuccessful experiences using dating apps and are looking to solve a problem we have had firsthand. We were tired of the apps in the market and found that applications were built around prolonging the match process. We decided to reinvent the business model and build a dating application that condensed the match process. At first glance, one might not understand why the incumbents prolong the matching process but after evaluating their business models – which are contingent on users buying more swipes and using their dating applications for a long period of time – Marc and I decided to monetize in-person date interactions differently. We knew we had something special when we received positive feedback from polling users and individuals on our hypotheses.

How will Skippit impact the world?

Skippit facilitates introductions with individuals who would have never previously met. It assists in the match and meeting process, funneling people to do community gathering experiences through our integrated service providers. Skippit will enrich the communities on and between college campuses by offering individuals a way to streamline the first date process.

What are the next steps for Skippit?

Currently, we are looking to raise $150,000. We will use the funds to cover marketing costs, host the API’s to build the platform, contract developers and cover legal fees. Skippit’s target market is concentrated urban areas with large universities and business. We plan to start on the East Coast in the Boston area and reach an audience around the following schools: Harvard, MIT, Babson College, Wellesley College, Northeastern, Boston University, and Boston College.

To learn more about Skippit visit, www.skippitapp.com or follow them on social media: Twitter: www.twitter.com/skippit_app; Instagram: www.instagram.com/skippitapp/or Facebook: www.facebook.com/skippitapp. To mentor or provide support, email info@i-investcompetition.com.

Ohio-based Youth Entrepreneurs Fight Hunger in their Hometown – One Pumpkin At A Time

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Gabriella & Alexandrea Howard, Founders of Pumpkins Helping People

Fifteen-year-old Gabriella Howard, her sister Alexandrea, 13, and younger brother, Sam of Canal Winchester, OH is one of this year’s competitors in the i.Invest National Youth Business Competition. Their charitable organization, Pumpkins Helping People (PHP), is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization working to fight hunger through the sale and distribution of pumpkins.

Here’s what we learned about PHP’s business model:

Tell us about your non-profit.

Pumpkins Helping People offers a retail-based fundraising initiative – selling pumpkins. PHP partners with community food pantries to organize and promote an annual fall pumpkin drive in the pantry’s local community. By buying a pumpkin through PHP’s website, customers are supporting the local food pantry and farmers, from which the pumpkins are sourced from. PHP works hand-in-hand with the pantry to promote the pumpkin drive throughout the community. This promotion directs customers to our website through the use of social media and email marketing. We hope to use the local school system, sports associations, youth organizations, and churches to spread the word.

What inspired the creation of Pumpkins Helping People?

Our inspiration for creating PHP is to help fight hunger. We believe our non-profit is an innovative funding mechanism for food pantries and it has the potential to become highly successful due to our commitment to the customer, the food pantry, and the community.

How will Pumpkins Helping People impact the world?

Over 48 million Americans suffer from hunger, with over 32,000 American food pantries relying heavily on donations to help fight this hunger. The way our program is structured, all profits generated will go directly to help fund local food pantries’ operations and to help fight hunger. In 2017, our proof of concept enabled us to donate $669 to the Canal Winchester Food Pantry to help feed the local community.

What are the next steps for Pumpkins Helping People?

PHP is a scalable concept. Within three to five years, we anticipate extending PHP to other communities similar in size to Canal Winchesters’ (12,993 households) in Central Ohio and then throughout the state. We want PHP to become a national platform for consumers to purchase pumpkins to help fight hunger at the local level.

We recently designed and released a logo and are developing our online store. Once completed, we will begin promoting our website to the Canal Winchester community. In Fall 2018, we plan to strengthen our already established relationship with the Canal Winchester Food Pantry. Within the next two years, we will expand to three nearby similar-sized communities.

To stay abreast of Pumpkins Helping People’s progress in the i.Invest Competition, sign up for our newsletter at www.i-investcompetition.com. To mentor or provide support, email info@i-investcompetition.com.

3 Reasons Why A PEO Should Handle Your Employee Benefits @Deltapeo

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The goal of a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) is to take care of your HR needs so that you can focus on growing your business. By offering a range of employment-related services, PEOs help businesses reduce labor costs and increase their profitability. ​You can partner with a PEO to handle all your human resources, risk management, payroll and tax administration needs as well as your employee benefits administration. Whether you are starting or growing your business, partnering with a PEO to administer your employee benefits program has three advantages:

1. A PEO CAN OFFER MORE INSURANCE OPTIONS. By pooling your company’s employees with other small businesses, the PEO is able to provide competitive rates for employee benefits and better insurance options. A PEO will negotiate a comprehensive benefits package and offer your employees the options they want with the top carriers they know and trust. Benefit programs can include major medical, wellness and mini-med programs, in addition to dental and vision plans, life insurance, short and long-term disability insurance and other ancillary type insurances.
2. PEOS OFFER TAX QUALIFIED PLANS. In addition to health insurance and voluntary and supplemental plans, PEOs also offer 401(k) plans which are attractive for business owners in terms of administrative time and costs.
3. A PEO WILL HANDLE THE HEADACHES OF BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION. Once your employees are enrolled in a benefits program, your PEO is there to answer their questions regarding benefits and ensure that everything is taken care of when there is a life-changing event such as marriage, divorce, or having a child. In addition, PEOs ensure that you are up-to-date with tax and regulatory reporting and help you improve your employment practices.

As a PEO, Delta Administrative offers a wide-range of services. We understand that every company is different. We can create specific, successful programs based on your needs. Businesses across America have discovered the incredible value of PEOs because they offer access to a comprehensive employee benefits package which allows them to be competitive in the labor market and get relief from the burden of employment administration. Isn’t it time to focus on the growth of your business and leave the rest to us?  Call Delta Administrative Services today at 1-800-828-6130 or visit http://www.deltapeo.com for a free consultation.

 

What to Expect When You Sign Up With A Temp Agency

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Is this your first time working with a temp agency? If so, you made an excellent decision. Temp agencies have high standards and are committed to finding the right job for you. By providing quality standards and proven processes, temp agencies have shown consistent and satisfactory results on both sides of the employment equation.

What You Can Expect From A Temp Agency

Once you complete the application process, temp agencies will:

  • Verify your job history. By calling your previous employers, a temp agency can gain insight into your work style. This will help them match your skills to their clients’ needs;
  • Interview you in a face-to-face meeting. In an effort to find you the best open position available, they will ask you questions specific to the job you are being considered for;
  • Provide you with skill assessment testing to better understand your strengths and weaknesses;
  • Verify any certifications that you have;
  • Ask you to participate in a drug screening and background check;
  • Provide you with an overview of the company you will be working with and schedule you for an orientation and workplace safety training.

What The Temp Agency Expects From You

At your initial interview, a temp agency expects you to be yourself. Although your experiences with software and typing are easy to test and may help you get your foot in the door, your soft skills are equally important. When a temp agency asks you questions it is to reveal your soft skills or “people skills” as well as your experience and comfort level working in different environments. Remember to be honest and to avoid embellishing your skills.

Temp agencies will also expect you to bring your resume to the interview if you have one. If you do not have one, bring a list of your previous employers, including your dates of employment. Finally, the temp agency will expect you to dress for the interview as you would for the job.

At Delta Personnel, we want to help you succeed.  We have a proven track record placing employees in various industries including, professional services, healthcare, food and hospitality, technical and light industrial. Once we have placed you on a temporary assignment, our work does not end there.  We will provide on-going support throughout your assignment and work with you to achieve your overall career goals. Call us today at 504-833-5200 or visit, www.deltapersonnel.com, and let us help you make your professional dreams come true. 

Grow Your Business with a PEO Partnership

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Running a small business is tough. According to government statistics, during the first five years, 50% of small businesses fail. So, how can you increase your chances of success?

Small businesses that utilize a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) are 50 percent less likely to go out of business. They also grow seven to nine percent faster than those who do not use a PEO, according to the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO). When you partner with a PEO, you can substantially reduce the overhead associated with human resources, payroll administration, and benefits. What this means to your business is a higher rate of growth and a better chance at success.

The best way to grow your business is to allow more time focusing on strategy, cultivating customer leads and nurturing your business relationships. When you use a PEO, instead of contributing in-house resources on HR administrative tasks, you can invest that time in essential tasks inherent to your HR strategy.

The employee turnover rate for PEO clients is 10 to 14 percentage points lower per year than that of comparable companies. Partnering with a PEO allows you to take better care of your employees, giving them more reasons to stay loyal to your company.

What can an effective PEO do for your business?

Here are four key services they will offer:

  • HR and Personnel Administration: Instead of your business having to fund an entire in-house HR department, PEOs can take over payroll administration, manage your workers’ compensation, and help keep your business up-to-date and compliant with the latest state and federal laws.
  • Payroll & Tax Administration: Imagine not having to devote hours each day to payroll administration and dealing with employee benefits. A good PEO can handle the calculation, preparation and distribution of payroll checks; reporting, withholding and remitting payment of payroll taxes; employee deductions, including garnishments; and preparation of payroll reports.
  • Employee Benefits Administration: Adequate employee benefits are one of the keys to retaining the best employees. PEOs can handle the administration, reconciliation and payment of employee health, dental and vision plans, as well as many other employee benefits such as 401(k), IRA, or other retirement plans.
  • Risk Management and Workplace Safety: Employee safety is a key priority for a growing company. A good PEO will provide professional, certified safety managers that will come on-site to inspect your safety environment and make recommendations on how to improve it.

When it comes to growing your business, the best thing you can do is hire a PEO. At Delta Administrative Services (DAS), we understand the time and monetary burdens of everyday business administration. By partnering with our team of experts, you can focus your time and resources on the growth of your business, while we do the rest.

To learn more, call DAS today at 504-274-3400 or visit our website, www.deltapeo.com.

Meet i.Invest Mentor, Steve Rice, Entrepreneurship Instructor, Arkansas School of Mathematics, Sciences & the Arts

Steve Rice, Entrepreneurship Instructor, Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences & the Arts

Tell us about your current job, why you do what you do and how it prepares you to mentor youth and youth entrepreneurs?

I serve as the Entrepreneurship Instructor at the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts (ASMSA). ASMSA is one of sixteen public, residential high schools in the country specializing in the education of talented and motivated students who have an interest and aptitude for mathematics and science as well as a passion for creativity, humanities and the arts. Over the past five years, The Washington Post, Newsweek, and The Daily Beast have ranked ASMSA among the “Top 25” public high schools in America.

Before graduating, all ASMSA students complete an advanced research project (similar to a capstone). My Advanced Research and Entrepreneurship course is one of the options students can choose from to fulfill this requirement. In this course, I am hands-on every day with the students as they develop a problem/solution hypothesis and then work to develop and validate a unique value proposition and business model to prove that their idea is viable.

I love the creativity, variety, and flexibility that this type of project-based teaching brings to the classroom. It is a true collaboration between the students and instructor.

I find that often young entrepreneurs just need permission. Permission to try crazy ideas. Permission to create something that doesn’t work. Permission to pivot and learn. My goal in the classroom, and out, is to give students permission to learn, grow, and succeed in a way that prepares them with marketable and transferable skills, whether or not they ever start a business.

What was the very first business you started and why? 

My first job out of college was a startup. We worked hard. We got lucky. We were successful quickly. But it wasn’t my company. I was building someone else’s dream, but I had been bitten by the startup bug.

My first business was a sole proprietorship massage therapy clinic. It was a mess! I didn’t have any idea what I was doing, business-wise. An early mentor gave me great advice though: “Start something small and make it pay for itself. Keep it simple. Fail and learn all the lessons you can. Then do it again.”

What three things should all young entrepreneurs be prepared for before they create a business?

#1 Young entrepreneurs should be prepared for failure. They need to understand what it is. To me, failure isn’t the opposite of success. It is the mechanism that entrepreneurs use to pivot, and it is a natural part of the innovation process.

#2 The second thing that can help young entrepreneurs is to be prepared for the unexpected. It will happen. You get to decide what any given situation means and the impact it will have on you personally.  For example, I was once fired from a “dream job.” At first, I was insecure and scared. But I decided that, in the long run, getting fired would be the best thing that happened to me professionally. On the backside of that experience, this has proven to be true.

#3 The final thing that young entrepreneurs need to be prepared with is patience. As an entrepreneur, you work harder than you ever have in your life. You will spend more money than you ever expected, and it will take more time than you ever thought it would. If giving up isn’t an option, then you can pivot–and even close a business–with confidence because you have decided you are in it for the long haul.

Tell us about your biggest business failure and success.

I didn’t have any idea what I was doing in my first business. My business plan was based on a fundamentally flawed assumption that added to the failure of the venture. I made all the major errors I think a person can. I stacked the cards against me from the start. But I did learn exactly how not to start and run a business! The wisdom gained from those insights are invaluable. In that regard, it was also my biggest success.

Why is nurturing entrepreneurship important to you?

Entrepreneurship at its core is a point of view, a set of skills, and dedication to learning. I’m committed to nurturing entrepreneurship because I believe that if a young person develops these skills and the ability to recognize how to transfer them and apply them in a variety of settings, they will never be unemployed. If a young person learns how value is created and captured, she can recognize the value she brings to the market and can learn to articulate that in a way that leads to unending opportunity. Recognizing and leveraging opportunity is a core skill for every entrepreneur. Every child should have the opportunity to develop and deploy these skills.

Name up to three educational classes, business programs or real-world experiences that played a key role in your success and why.

Years ago, I was heavily involved in Toastmasters International – a worldwide communication and leadership program. I was fortunate to be a part of one of the top clubs in my area and I learned the art of public speaking from some of the best in my town. Toastmasters also provided the earliest “lab” for me to experiment with leadership and learn how to be an effective leader.

At the same time, I launched my career with a medical startup. Going through the startup process on someone else’s dollar was a huge benefit in my professional development. I got to learn how a business grew (or didn’t) from the inside out.

To learn more about Steve, follow him on Twitter @StevenERice or on LinkedIn. To learn more about i.Invest visit, www.i-investcompetition.com.

Delta Personnel Celebrates 50th Anniversary with Expansion of Services

doctors2New Orleans-based staffing agency, Delta Personnel, celebrates its 50th anniversary by adding healthcare recruitment to its service offerings. The agency, which opened its doors in 1968, specializes in temporary, temp-to-hire and executive recruiting in the food and hospitality, professional services, IT support and light industrial industries. With the addition of healthcare, Delta can now provide recruitment opportunities for highly skilled hospital administrators, doctors, nurses and personal care professionals.

“Delta’s expansion marks an important transformation for the company,” said the owner, Teresa Lawrence. “Our growth is not only in response to the nation’s need to fill positions in the healthcare industry but Delta’s on-going commitment to put skilled workers in good paying jobs.”

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Arthur Simmons, Delta’s new SR. Talent Acquisitions Manager – Healthcare

The agency has already made one major step towards positioning itself to attract healthcare clients and job seekers. Last month, Delta hired Arthur Simmons as the new senior talent acquisitions manager with a focus on healthcare. Simmons brings more than 10 years of talent acquisitions experience to the company. After four years with MSI International in a similar role, Simmons is well-positioned to hit the ground running as a full-cycle recruiter.

“Delta has afforded me the chance to integrate my vision for healthcare recruitment with their business expansion strategy,” said Simmons. “This is a great opportunity to help the agency build something new and venture into a rapidly growing sector.”

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2016, the healthcare industry created more jobs than any other sector, adding 35,000 jobs per month. Louisiana, alone, saw a jump in healthcare employment, a trend many economists predict will continue over the next 10 years.

To learn more about Delta’s healthcare recruitment services, call 504-833-5200 or visit www.deltapersonnel.com.

5 TIPS TO ENSURE YOU GO FROM TEMP TO HIRE

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Can your temporary job turn into a full-time opportunity? Yes, it can! In today’s competitive job market, employers often take their time to search for the ideal candidate. Full-time hiring decisions are typically made after a 3 to 6-month period of observation. In the meantime, employees are in a holding pattern waiting to learn whether their temporary job will convert to a permanent opportunity.

The good news is, according to research from the American Staffing Industry, in 2015, 35% of contract employees were offered a chance to go from temporary to permanent employment and 66% of those accepted the offers. That means you have a very good chance of being hired.

Since 1968, Delta Personnel has successfully filled thousands of temp-to-hire positions. With 50 years in the staffing industry, Delta’s recruiters are dedicated to ensuring employees and employers are a good fit.  But it’s the temporary employee’s ability to put their best foot forward that increases their chances of securing a full-time position.

Here are 5 tips to ensure your temp-to-hire job ends in a hire:

  1. Attitude is everything.  From your first day on the job, show your passion for the company and the work. Show your commitment to and enthusiasm for the job by going above and beyond what is asked of you.
  2. Perform like your job is permanent. Think of your temp assignment as an extended job interview. Your punctuality, performance, problem-solving skills, and work ethic will be under close watch. Take this opportunity to show them you can be an irreplaceable member of the team. Make sure there is no doubt that if given the opportunity, you would choose to stay.
  3. Show an interest in the company. Demonstrate that you are in it for the long haul by asking about the company’s history, culture and mission. Be sure to spend time developing relationships with your co-workers. You will want them to report back positively about your attitude, skill-set and willingness to help.
  4. Learn as much as you can. Demonstrate to your employer that you are eager to learn and can learn quickly. Never be afraid to ask questions. It is more important that you ask a question and learn how to complete a task correctly than keep silent and get something wrong.
  5. Take the initiative. Be on the lookout for ways to go above and beyond. If you finish a task ahead of time, ask if there is something else you can do. Before you leave for the day, ask your boss if he or she needs anything else. These little things will demonstrate your value as an employee.

Finally, be patient. It may be difficult waiting to find out if your temporary position will become permanent but think of it as a learning experience. Towards the end of the temporary period make sure you convey your interest in the position and be prepared to highlight how you can be a continued asset to the organization.

Delta Personnel will be your advocate throughout the interview, hiring process and employment contract negotiations, to ensure that you have an opportunity to secure a good job at a great pay-rate.

For more information, call 504.833.5200 or visit http://www.deltapersonnel.com.

i.Invest National Youth Business Competition Application Submission is Now Open

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 1, 2018

NEW ORLEANS, LA – i.Invest is pleased to announce that the 2018 National Youth Business Competition is accepting applications. Aspiring entrepreneurs, between the ages of 13 – 19 years-old, with a demonstrable product or service can apply until May 1st for the six-month web-based program.

Now in its third year, the program has attracted applicants from across the U.S. Winning individual entrepreneurs and teams receives a share of up to $10,000 in cash and in-kind prizes and the opportunity to be mentored by top business and academic leaders. In addition, entrepreneurs who complete the program receives on-going assistance, post-competition, to help them reach their personal and professional goals.

“i.Invest opens the doors for entrepreneurial-minded students to learn about business development,” said Michelle Jackson, i.Invest Executive Director. “Regardless of their GPA, geographical location or school affiliation, we look for innovative students with great products and services. The program’s goal is to empower the best young business minds to connect, collaborate and compete.”

To qualify, applicants must submit a concept profile, executive summary and pitch video. The application fee is $29. Scholarships are available for students from economically underserved communities through LifeSkills Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization dedicated to advocating for youth and youth entrepreneurs.

All application submissions, mentoring and scoring are done virtually. To apply, go to www.i-investcompetition.com. To become a sponsor or to learn more about the program, email info@i-investcompetition.com.

POC: marketing@prsolutionsllc.org

Delta Personnel’s Teresa Lawrence Recognized as 2017 Women of Color Achievement Award Recipient

tl100 Black Men of Metro New Orleans, Inc., in partnership with the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO), announce the honorees of the 2017 Women of Color Achievement Awards. A total of nine (9) women will be recognized for outstanding professional achievement and exemplary community service. The recipients are:

•        Lorraine Dinvaut – Marriott Moxy New Orleans Hotel

•        Michelle Gobert – Image 360 New Orleans

•        Tara Hernandez – JCH Properties+

•        Dr. Jarrett Johnson – Primary Eye Care

•        Teresa Lawrence – Delta Personnel, Inc.*

•        Luz Lobos – Synergy Design Group*

•        Marian Pierre – Crescent Guardian, Inc.

•        Joaneane A. Smith – Global Commerce and Services, LLC

•        Iam Tucker – Integrated Logistical Support, Inc.

*Current WPO Members

Sponsored by UPS, Act-1 Group, H&S Resources Corporation, SDI International, and Xtreme Solutions, the event will take place on Wednesday, November 29, 2017, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the Renaissance Arts Hotel, 700 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130. All award recipients were identified by the 100 Black Men of Metro New Orleans, Inc., in collaboration with the New Orleans chapter of the WPO.

“We are very proud to continue our ongoing partnership with 100 Black Men of America and to acknowledge a distinguished group of influential women business leaders. Each one is at the peak of her professional achievement, demonstrating outstanding leadership qualities and running multi-million dollar businesses. Each also devotes significant time and energy to giving back to her local communities. We salute all of this year’s powerful award winners as role models for women and girls everywhere,” said Marsha Firestone Ph.D., President and Founder of the Women Presidents’ Organization.

To learn more about Teresa Lawrence and Delta Personnel, please read, The Business of Inclusiveness and visit the company website.

About 100 Black Men of Metro New Orleans, Inc.

The 100 Black Men of Metro New Orleans, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) youth development organization founded in 1993 with a mission to provide support and improve the quality of life for African Americans, and youth in particular, in the New Orleans Community. The 100 is comprised of members and volunteers of diverse backgrounds and experiences with a common commitment to help youth.  Our members exemplify our motto, “What They See is What They’ll Be”, by volunteering as role models and mentors for youth involved in the 100’s programs. For more information please visit: www.100blackmennola.org

About the Women Presidents’ Organization

The WPO is the premier peer advisory organization connecting women who own multi-million dollar companies.  In monthly meetings across six continents, chapters of 20 women presidents from diverse industries invest time and energy in themselves and their businesses to drive their corporations to the next level. Local WPO chapters are coordinated by a professional facilitator and meet monthly to share business expertise and experience in a confidential setting. For more information, call 212-688-4114 or visit www.womenpresidentsorg.com.  Follow us on Twitter @womenpresidents. Like us on Facebook @TheWPO.

For more information about the event contact:

Susan Johnson, Women Presidents’ Organization, sjohnson@womenpresidentsorg.com

(212) 688-4114 (Office) / (917) 601-5778 (Mobile)

Brooks Duplessis, 100 Black Men of Metro New Orleans, Inc., brooks.duplessis@100blackmennola.org

(504) 208-9337 (Office) / (504) 274-7057 (Mobile)