Founded in late 2009 by media maven Sarah Prevette, Sprouter was built on the notion of creating an online community to give start-ups and small-business owners access to professional guidance from experienced industry veterans.
Entrepreneurs log into the portal and are lead through a series of information pages where they can ask specific questions, browse topics, comment in discussion forums and share info with other networks. Sprouter by no means uses crowdsourcing to answer questions, as all answers are gathered from the panel of proven experts and their associates. This panel of experts is carefully chosen to provide real-world advice on various topics such as business law, marketing and funding.
Taking their initiative offline, Sprouter also hosts a series of events called “Sprout Up” allowing users to connect in a live conference format with other entrepreneurs, business owners and panel experts. Hosted monthly, over 600 entrepreneurs meet and greet at each event and gain insightful information to help build up their respective businesses. Complementing these events is a periodical magazine called the “Sprouter Weekly” which aggregates common questions on the site and outlines useful information for start-ups.
Allowing access to business minds such as Aaron Patzer of Mint.com fame and Tim Berry, founder of Palo Alto Software, Sprouter provides an instant connection to a wealth of information, potential investors and expert knowledge instantly, all in an easy to use web based platform.
It is estimated that 2.5 billion adults worldwide do not have access to standard financial products and services. Traditional money transfers and pre-paid credit cards are helping to bridge this gap and offer consumers convenient, low-cost options for financial services.
Western Union and MasterCard have recognized this need and see an opportunity to develop a crossover network between both companies’ electronic payment networks. Over the last year, both companies have been collaborating to develop a partnership that would see MasterCard become the pre-paid card of choice for Western Union and Western Union the preferred money transfer solution for MasterCard. As such, cardholders will be able to access these global networks to reload funds at any MasterCard rePower location as well as selected Western Union Agent locations. Consumers using the Western Union money transfer service will also now be able to send funds directly to eligible MasterCard holders, offering a viable, non-cash solution to these financially underserved clients.
According to Hikmet Ersek, President and Chief Executive Officer of Western Union, “This agreement sets the stage to globalize prepaid services. We’re opening up more options for consumers around the world by combining Western Union’s global network of money movement solutions with MasterCard’s world class global electronic payments network.”
“The primary focus of our global partnership is to enable greater financial inclusion for consumers and provide additional electronic payment options that create efficiencies in their daily lives,” said MasterCard President and Chief Executive Officer Ajay Banga. “We look forward to all of the benefits that our partnership will bring to consumers around the world.”
A hot topic heading into 2012 is the emerging technology coined the “mobile wallet” which Visa intends to capitalize on. Expected to launch sometime in late 2012, V.me is the official brand name for their proprietary mobile wallet.
Mobile wallets refer to applications on smart devices that allow users to store debit, credit and prepaid card information to be used for POS or online payment processing. Visa’s hedging on a similar strategy they currently employ with the various banks using the standard credit card service, the V.me mobile wallet will also be made available to companies such as PayPal, ISIS and Google Checkout along with an open beta development platform.
The advantages of a mobile wallet are that they allow customers to shop and purchase without transferring sensitive payment information over to merchants via a standard debit or credit card terminal. This added level of security, combined with the convenience and flexibility of standard payment processing and the ability to shop easily using a mobile smart device, all add up to why mobile wallets are an emerging trend and gaining momentum.
Visa is hoping this trend will continue to develop and take their existing credit and debit card business in new directions. For more info on this platform by Visa, visit www.v.me.
By Evo Canada Merchant Services
By partnering with EVO Canada not only are your payment processing needs taken care of but your future growth potential as well. Many businesses struggle to find the necessary funding needed to grow as lenders usually have a long and extensive list of loan approval requirements.
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The requirements are quite simple: processing a minimum of $6,500 per month in debit or credit card payments at your business for at least 60 days. On top of it all, our approval rate is currently much higher than those of traditional funding sources.
If your business is in need of working capital to expand, renovate, purchase additional inventory, open a new location or just pay bills and don’t have access to the financial resources needed, inquire about our Cash Advance Program today!