Business Featured

How the Federal Trade Commission is helping small businesses in Los Angeles

Running a small business — especially in today’s competitive retail landscape — can be difficult. In addition to the challenges of staying afloat and being successful, small businesses in Los Angeles are also at risk for being targets of online data breaches.

Legislation was passed through Washington last week that directs the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to better educate small business owners and consumers about data breaches and the impacts that they have.

According to California Newswire, U.S. Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-San Fernando Valley), a member of the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, passed the amendments last Wednesday.

Many small business owners aren’t very tech savvy to begin with — over half of small business owners (54%) say that they could use help improving just their social media marketing skills, which is a pretty simple skill compared to the rest of the tech skills a small business owner needs to have.

Small business owners need to take a more proactive stance when it comes to developing and maintaining their online presence and their data (notably because of the upcoming Google update, dubbed “Mobilegeddon,” that will penalize websites that are not optimized for mobile).

One of the new amendments requires the FTC to create and maintain a website for small business owners to educate themselves about data breaches, how to increase data security, and how to prevent hacking.

The other new amendment requires the FTC to take a more active role in reaching out to small businesses about best practices when it comes to increasing data security and decreasing the chances of being hacked.

“In Los Angeles, we’ve seen the economic impacts, and other damage, data breaches can cause,” said Cárdenas. “It is our responsibility to protect our citizens, and in the Internet age that means their online lives as well. My amendments, and this bill, will create rational, consistent requirements for both businesses and governments, to help protect all Americans.”

Small businesses are also getting the spotlight in Washington this summer during the first White House Demo Day, which is intended to showcase small businesses and entrepreneurs. President Obama, who has already made clear his dedication to developing and encouraging excellence among the minority community with his “My Brother’s Keeper Initiative,” is supporting White House Demo Day to draw talent from all backgrounds. As of now, only 12% of U.S. venture capitalist-backed business founders are Asian, and only 1% of them are African American.