Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce speaks about data protection, technology

From targeted advertising on Facebook and Instagram to software that can detect supply chain inefficiencies, technology has helped small businesses survive and recover during the COVID-19 pandemic and compete with larger companies, says Jordan Crenshaw, Vice President of the Chamber’s Technology Engagement Center. The report found that the more technology companies involved, the higher their sales, profits and employment.

Crenshaw recently visited Houston to meet with local business owners and government leaders to discuss the impact of technology on small businesses at an event co-hosted with the Greater Houston Partnership. He spoke to the Houston Chronicle about the report’s findings and Congress’ recent efforts to pass a national privacy law.

Q: What made you particularly keen to have this interview in Houston?

A: Texas is truly at the forefront of technology, and what better place to be than Houston to talk about the benefits of technology to the wider economy. We gathered a group of business leaders and policy makers to speak about the importance of technology for small business, for government and really for the economy at large. We bring together small businesses telling their story about the impact of technology. We sat down with La Calle’s owner, Ramon Soriano, and spoke about how he’s used technology to improve customer engagement.

Q: How are small businesses using technology to grow their business?

A: A lot of business-to-business software can help deliver efficiencies during a supply chain crisis. Much of this has to do with business data analysis software that helps companies find inefficiencies. They’re all different types of technology.

In the case of restaurants we speak to, they may use delivery apps that allow them to reach customers during times when it may not have been easy, such as during busy periods. B. in case of blockages. We spoke to a restaurant owner today who said social media has helped him attract customers more efficiently than blanket bulk email. One of the stats we found is that 4 out of 5 small businesses use tech platforms to compete with larger companies, and from a Texas perspective it’s even higher – 84 percent of Texas small businesses said tech Platforms allow them to compete.

Q: How does technology give them this competitiveness?

A: For small businesses that lack resources, these technology platforms really offer a balancing effect, making it easier for companies to spread their messages and find customers. Also, one of the areas is data – the fact that we have a data-driven economy that has democratized the ability of small businesses to really go to market. It was incredibly helpful.

One of the topics that is very important to us is data protection. We support a national data protection law, but if we don’t get it right, it could severely limit the competitiveness of small businesses when directly regulated because they don’t have the compliance departments of larger companies. If you cut off access to privacy-protected platforms that they can use, they don’t have that tool and have to go back to running their business on that old inefficient model.

Q: A report by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation found that inconsistent state privacy laws have cost small businesses in Texas $2.9 billion in compliance costs. How does this happen?

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