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Teaching the Next Generation the Value of Digital Tools

Joey Womack has always been an entrepreneur who saw the value in digital tools. He started his first digital business in 2002 – a social RSVP site that helped event organizers use analytics to promote their events better. His online community grew to 80,000 users, and Joey advertised events for Fortune 500 companies and during major events like the NBA Playoffs and Superbowl Weekend.

From his spot at the front of the digital business boom, Joey experienced business technology advances firsthand: cloud services replaced on-site data servers; targeted advertising that supplemented and replaced large and expensive ad campaigns; and global connectivity linking businesses to potential customers across the globe.

Joey knew his experiences could help other entrepreneurs navigate the fast-paced digital business world, so in 2014 he started Goodie Nation, a tech nonprofit to mentor the next generation of minority entrepreneurs. Joey’s goal was to connect founders with large companies and investors, whose advisory and monetary support would help overcome socioeconomic disparities that can significantly affect whether a small business succeeds or fails.

If you ask Joey, digital advertising is a “game-changer,” and digital tools are “transformational.” He credits social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook for connecting businesses with customers in ways that were “unheard of” when he first started. These technologies help new entrepreneurs bring their startups and small businesses to new heights, reaching customers and investors they would never have connected with 20 years ago.

Joey lived in the business world before digital tools; he’s seen those tools grow and the benefits they bring to startups. Now, he’s worried that he’ll see Congress break up large online platforms and put limits on the affordable digital tools they provide, which will hurt business owners by eating away at profit margins that are already narrow. He encourages Congress to recognize the small business value in digital platform technologies and to avoid legislating new laws that will limit their value and effectiveness.   

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