How Lashawna Manigault Works With Connect 313
Lashawna Manigault knows firsthand how difficult it is to own a small business and how crucial internet access and connectivity can be. That’s why she’s supporting small business owners across Detroit as Connect 313’s chair of Policy, Advocacy & Ecosystem.
“If COVID showed us nothing else, it’s that people need to be on the cutting edge of technology. Businesses have had to pivot their business models, taking COVID into consideration,” she says.
During the pandemic, Lashawna discovered the digital technology learning curve was leaving numerous small business owners behind. Without computers and internet access, many were missing out on grants and financial opportunities.
“Businesses, like hair salons and barbers, have had to put COVID safety plans in place and do new things, like create new platforms for calendars and scheduling, connect through Zoom, and utilize online platforms to connect to the resources available to help their businesses stay upright,” she says.
Lashawna learned about Connect 313 while on a digital divide committee. She knew Connect 313’s mission would pair perfectly with the work she’d been doing as the Director of Small Business Retention & Expansion for the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation.
“Being able to bridge the work I’ve done with one committee and make sure small businesses are a focus and initiative within Connect 313 is a very important objective of mine,” she says.
Lashawna is currently working hard behind the scenes, planning for Detroit’s annual Digital Inclusion Week, which will be held the first full week of October. The multi-day event educates and connects Detroiters by offering tools and platforms for small businesses, digital literacy training for seniors, hands-on activities for students, and more.
As a native Detroiter, Lashawna is proud to help empower small businesses in our community by advocating for policy change, creating digital resources, and ensuring residents have affordable, reliable internet access.
“It’s a privilege and it keeps me going to be able to help people be their best selves and do their best work in this city,” Lashawna says. “It’s a collaborative effort.”
To reach Lashawna, email firstname.lastname@example.org.