Rising to America’s Small & Local Business Challenge

The Peake Fellowship’s intergenerational high touch and high tech approach helps each small & local business improve:

  1. Access, Outreach & Engagement with new local and global customers/markets.
  2. Ecommerce Innovation to convert that engagement into more sales beyond in-person transactions.
  3. Efficient, Secure Value Chains with both suppliers and customers for Sustainable & Inclusive Growth.
Networked Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Big Data is the system-wide,community-led capability to achieve goals based on automated learning from mass aggregation and analysis of information.

*Sustainable & Inclusive Growth is the advancement of equal economic opportunity for all populations and resources across a community through the regenerative expansion of income & wealth driven by Safety, Wellness, & Healthy Environment; Qualifications & Work; Goods & Services.

Why Focus on Small & Local Businesses?

Small & local businesses create the lifeline of communities and the majority of jobs in the United States, but they operate without the staff and budget safety nets of bigger businesses. In the societal disruption driven by Post-COVID, economic inequality, and automation, the Peake Fellowship Program and Peake Fellowship Network platform provides tools to bridge how small & local businesses can become leaders in the next industrial revolution based on networked intelligence. Without that bridge, small & local businesses become the casualties of both a pandemic and technology change.

To provide maximum impact and minimum cost, the Peake Fellowship combines specific resources that are often under-engaged:

  • A corps of recent graduates, returning veterans, and military spouses in a one-year Peake Fellowship that intensively trains them to serve through a next generation apprenticeship.
  • The 8,000+ local chambers of commerce already in place to connect each community across the U.S.

The Peake Fellowship Program and Peake Fellowship Network platform levels the playing field for small & local businesses by connecting them to expertise and technology support that allows them to coexist with the ecommerce giants. Specifically, the Peake Fellowship Network platform helps small & local businesses band together to innovate new products and services that differentiate from the commodity commerce that Big Tech giants deliver so effectively.

The Peake Fellowship refers to that joint innovation as Community Commerce. Individual small & local businesses struggle to support Community Commerce without access to local and global resources that are capable of contending with the challenges of:

  • Globalization
  • Ecommerce
  • Transaction complexity (e.g., cybersecurity and legal compliance)

Mobilizing for Nationwide Recovery and the Next Industrial Revolution

The Peake Fellowship and Peake Fellowship Network platform strengthens small & local businesses and their local associations by upskilling their leaders with new collaboration and commerce capabilities. “The Peake Fellowship’s job is to become the nation’s largest mobilization of upskilling to coach small & local businesses to succeed in a Networked AI & Big Data-driven world.,” says Harvard Business School’s Len Schlesinger, who as President of Babson College served as an advisor and key academic partner for the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program.

The Peake Fellowship’s combined approach aligns thousands of recent graduates, returning veterans, and military spouses as well as millions of small & local businesses. The Peake Fellowship Support Team, guided by Len Schlesinger in his role as Platform Development Team Business Metrics Strategy Lead, built a Service Learning platform that measures revenue growth and jobs created in each business that the Peake Fellowship and Peake Fellowship Network platform supports.

Over the next four years, the Peake Fellowship’s full mobilization will create $16 billion in net new U.S. small & local business revenue (or retained small & local business revenue that would have been lost). The Peake Fellowship Team estimates that this new revenue will cumulatively create or save 160,000 jobs during that period (based on an estimate of each $100,000 in revenue generating one job).

Over ten years, the Peake Fellowship, Community Commerce marketplace, and related services aim to create more than $100 billion in net new revenue for small & local businesses and over 1 million net new or saved jobs in that process.

Fellowship-driven New or Saved Jobs and Revenue

Source: Peake Fellowship Development Team

For the 50 states and five U.S. territories, the Fellows Service helps local businesses succeed in a world of Amazon & Alibaba. Without the Peake Fellowship Program and Peake Fellowship Network platform, small & local businesses often find themselves overwhelmed by AI & Big Data-driven global competitors who offer more for less with the personalization once a unique feature of a neighborhood store. This was true well before the shuttering of small & local businesses from Post-COVID.

Meanwhile, recent college graduates, returning veterans, and military spouses increasingly hold a passion for their small & local businesses according to multiple studies (e.g., Sezzle Gen Z survey). They grew up learning their way around collaboration technology despite the absence of training on tech for commerce. Many of them face a COVID-exacerbated year of flux after graduation or transition out of the military when instead they could be matched with organizations that would engage their current and potential skills to help local businesses grow.

Against that backdrop, the U.S. has over 8,000 local chambers of commerce which have yet to be engaged as conduits between recent graduates, returning veterans, military spouses, and local businesses. In partnership with the chambers, the Fellows Service upskills the recent graduates, returning veterans, and military spouses through a one-year Applied Learning & Teaching experience that, in turn, upskills small & local businesses for growth. The Peake Fellowship’s Sustainable & Inclusive Growth-driven approach connects to each of the 120,000+ communities across the United States.

Each Fellow coaches multiple businesses brought together through the local chambers and is provided with training that is enabled by a Networked AI & Big Data-based platform. Fellows complete their year with a range of 60+ field-based certifications in Outreach & Engagement, Ecommerce, Operations, and Cybersecurity. The Peake Fellowship Program and Peake Fellowship Network platform’s systems measure the gains by each small & local business and their communities. Fellows fast-track post-fellowship careers based on their portfolio of local impact. The Peake Fellowship ensures that its training and platform meet the needs of both Fellows and small & local businesses across 1,000+ market categories. In doing so, the Peake Fellowship’s Community Commerce mobilization strengthens each area served and levels the playing field for small & local businesses.

Fellowship program impact chart

Source: Peake Fellowship Development Team