May 2016

Civic Chat — Networking Our Neighborhoods: Jeremy Dunn, Chicago Public Library YOUMedia

Jeremy Dunn

YOUmedia is a technology and gathering space at Chicago Public Library meant just for teens. Located in 11 neighborhood branches and the Harold Washington Library Center, students are able to take an interest in and learn more about technologies like 2D/3D design, STEM, graphic design, and so much more with the help of skilled mentors. Jeremy Dunn from Chicago Public Library’s Teen Services sat down with Shelley to give her an inside look into YOUmedia.

In Shelley Stern Grach’s latest Civic Chat: Networking Our Neighborhoods, Jeremy Dunn explores how STEM education — like that provided by YOUmedia — is impacting our communities.

Watch Shelley’s chat with Jeremy live on Advisor.TV.

How the Internet of Things can Prevent Bullying


I had one of “those” moments last Fall, when I was mentoring students at Lake View High School. One of those moments when you are struck by the honesty and bravery of this generation and when you feel more confident about the world being a better place.

Here’s the background….

WP_20160519_09_29_35_RichAs part of our ongoing partnership with Lake View High School, an Early College STEM School in Chicago, Microsoft supports the Illinois Science & Technology Institute’s STEM Challenge. The Challenge involves students at 19 Illinois high schools  addressing real-world problems in partnership with 10 industry and academic partners. The result: students build skills in research and development (R&D) through hands-on learning projects and gain valuable exposure to careers in science, technology, engineering and math. We initiated our partnership in 2014 with ISTI and piloted the Challenge at Lake View for that school year, focusing on “water” as an important environmental resource. For the 2015-16 school year, we decided to broaden our Challenge area and asked the students: “How can you use the Internet of Things to help the Lake View community.”

Microsoft volunteers met with the students and described the Internet of Things (IoT)and its possibilities, and the faculty at Lake View integrated theChallenge into their curriculum. Students self-selected into smaller teams and brainstormed on the possible uses of IoT to make Lake View a better community.

It was during one of the earlier brainstorming mentoring sessions that I met the “Bully Busters” team. While still in the formative stages, this group was looking at IoT, sensors and thermal imaging to identify repeated instances of bullying, and alert school adults for interventions. Consider these facts:

  • Over 3.2 million students are victims of bullying each year.
  • 90% of 4th through 8th graders report being victims of bullying.
  • 1 in 10 students drop out of school because of repeated bullying.
  • 71% of students report incidents of bullying as a problem at their school.

Their selection of the subject matter, their creative focus on thermal imaging, and their passion for the topic simply took my breath away. As a mom, I remember nights I lost sleep worrying about “mean girls” and other peer challenges that are unfortunately part of growing up. The fact that these young people had the maturity to surface this issue and then to creatively develop a solution using innovative technology is inspiring.

Here is their solution: Use the existing security system in the school, and add sensors with thermal imaging that detect body heat to signal different levels of stress. Captured in the Cloud over time, patterns emerge, which are then sent to school officials for interventions as appropriate.

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The Bully Busters competed with the other Lake View team and emerged as the top selection by judges comprised of Microsoft volunteers and school faculty. Along with the other statewide teams, their  efforts culminate in the Third Annual STEM Challenges Student Showcase held May 19, 2016 at Motorola Mobility’s Chicago office in the Merchandise Mart. I was honored to introduce the Bully Busters on stage, in front of a crowd of nearly 200 students, corporate sponsors and faculty across the state. We recognized this team for their innovative use of technology to solve a societal issue— and we complemented them on their personalized, brave approach to an issue that can have lifelong effects. You could tell by the applause how this topic and the innovative solution resonated with the audience.

Congratulations to the Bully Busters team!


  • Kevin Bautista
  • Sammy Maldonado
  • Dillon McDonnell
  • Esteban Villegas

And a huge THANK YOU to Luis Flores de Valgas, faculty advisor, coach and mentor and to Assistant Principal Angela Newton for her support and emphasis on STEM at Lake View High School. Your students are inspiring and will make the Lake View community a better place-guaranteed!

Chicago City Data User Group: City Digital – The City as a Lab


What if you had the entire City of Chicago as your test bed. And you could do experiments, at scale, on everything from water to transportation to energy to the built environment. City Digital, a UI LABS lab, gets to do this every day. And it is all informed by data.

Urban infrastructure forms the backbone of our cities, our economy, and society; however, massive scale and complexity have limited our ability to monitor and improve its performance. From water security to energy burdens, from multi-modal congestion to first responder deployment, the need for creative new, data informed approaches that are effective at city scale is greater than ever. To achieve a sustainable platform for economic innovation and livability, we must be smart about how we build, update, and use urban infrastructure, which itself must become “smart” – combining new ideas in infrastructure design, materials, and management with advances in computing and data analysis.

That is what City Digital aims to do. Join us on Wednesday, June 1 at 6:00pm to hear about the first round of projects, the data they produce, and the data they use. Presenting will be the Executive Director of City Digital, Steve Fifita.  We will meet, as always, at the Microsoft Technology Center Chicago at 200 E. Randolph (The Aon Center) on the 2nd floor.

And there will be pizza.


Civic Chat — Networking Our Neighborhoods: Mark Andersen, Director of Learning and Economic Advancement at Chicago Public Library

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 3.26.35 PM

The Maker Lab in Chicago Public Library is a safe and creative space for community members 14 or older, to come together and create something unique. From low tech origami to 3D printing, come over to the library and experiment with various creative elements.

In Shelley Stern Grach’s latest Civic Chat — Networking Our Neighborhoods, she discusses The Maker Lab and new tech initiatives at Chicago Public Library with Mark Andersen, Director of Learning and Economic Advancement.

Watch Shelley’s chat with Mark live on

Driving Data Accessibility in Metro Detroit

Over the past several months, Microsoft has entered into an exciting partnership with the Detroit-based organization Data Driven Detroit (D3) to help expand and reinforce the civic tech ecosystem in Southeast Michigan. In this guest blog, Data Driven Detroit’s Executive Director, Erica Raleigh, introduces us to her organization and provides some highlights from the accessibility and outreach work that D3 is doing in the Motor City.


What does it mean to promote data accessibility?  Is it enough to make information available so that anybody can download and access it?  Or does accessibility require something more – is it essential to provide guided interaction and training to ensure that not only can people access available information, but can use it to make more informed decisions that better guide their work?  At Data Driven Detroit (D3), we believe that it starts with the audience you’re trying to serve with each effort to promote accessibility. We’re passionate about increasing access to data in Southeast Michigan, but we also believe strongly in lending our expertise to reinforce and empower the civic tech community to use the data that we provide and apply it to the challenges people grapple with on a day-to-day basis.

Through the support of two Southeast Michigan-based foundations, D3 was founded in 2009 by Kurt Metzger to build a centralized data warehouse for our community.  We’re a mission-driven organization, with the goal of providing accessible and high-quality information and analysis to drive informed decision-making.  Our organization and our work have continuously evolved over the seven years that we’ve been in operation, but our commitment to improving data accessibility and literacy in Detroit and beyond remains the cornerstone of what we do every day.

The foundation of our accessibility and outreach work is our framework of community tools and information systems that provide unique and easy-to-consume data to users across Detroit and beyond.  The D-Community Tool, which we developed in partnership with the Community Development Advocates of Detroit and NiJeL, allows community organizations to define their service areas and share information with one another.  The tool improves actors’ ability to coordinate across communities and provides funders and others in Detroit with a deeper understanding of the landscape in which they operate.  We also strive to make data as broadly available as possible.  Our Open Data Portal contains over 150 geospatial datasets that are available for download free of charge.  It also provides an API interface capability that allows civic tech innovators to develop directly on top of these freely-available datasets.


As we’ve expanded this foundation outward, we’ve also come to recognize the important role that a data intermediary can play in reinforcing the civic tech ecosystem in Detroit.  Therefore, the second objective of our accessibility efforts is to work directly with contributors (and potential contributors) in the civic tech space and nurture the abilities and awareness that are so important to participating in civic tech conversations.  Over the past several summers, we’ve provided data literacy, collection, and mapping workshops for community nonprofits.  Through these workshops, we’ve encouraged data literacy on a much broader scale, and acquainted a number of organizations to unique and novel technological solutions (expanding such programming represents a key element of our new partnership with Microsoft).  We also conduct educational workshops in partnership with local universities and schools, working to expose as many individuals as possible to data and technology, no matter where they are at in their education or careers.

In addition, we work to improve data accessibility through very direct means.  We collaborate with the City of Detroit’s Department of Innovation and Technology, including working with them on the most recent iteration of our Summer Data Workshop series.  We offer multiple programs to support and provide direct technical assistance to community organizations.  Foremost among these is AskD3, which provides data and technical assistance free of charge for up to two hours of staff time.  This program enables us to walk alongside the community through the process of fulfilling a request, further reinforcing their capacity to make data-driven decisions.  In 2014, we also administered a community mini-grant program, in which local neighborhood organizations received mini-grants of up to $15,000 to be used to support their participation in a civic data collection effort tied to the Motor City Mapping project.

In all our efforts, we keep one goal in mind above all others – one that ties directly back to our mission.  With these tools, workshops, and other outreach into Southeast Michigan’s civic tech and community sectors, our hope is to change the conversation.  We want to provide everybody in our region with the ability to speak a common language through data.  When people and organizations coalesce around the idea of using high-quality information, we sincerely believe that they can make better decisions, and more effectively allocate their resources and time.  Furthermore, when people from different disciplines and fields of work bring their unique data and perspectives into these conversations, it helps to create a community where disparate organizations across Southeast Michigan can learn, understand, and grow together, instead of functioning in an environment where information exists in silos.  In a region facing as many challenges as Detroit, these approaches are even more important than they would be elsewhere, and it’s why accessibility has remained such an important part of our work even as D3 has evolved over the course of its existence.

While improving data accessibility is perhaps the most important piece of work that D3 performs, it still is only one of the ways that we attempt to live our mission every day.  We’re always providing updates of our analysis, visualization, and data collection work on our social media outlets, and we’re excited to spotlight some of our most interesting and impactful projects in future guest blogs!

Erica_RaleighErica Raleigh joined Data Driven Detroit (D3) as a founding member in 2009.  Now the Executive Director, she began as a Research Analyst, with a background in housing, community development, transportation, and public safety research.  She is the lead author on “Neighborhood disinvestment, abandonment and crime dynamics” which was awarded the 2014 Best Conference Paper Award at the Urban Affairs Association annual conference.

D3 houses a comprehensive data system that includes current and historic demographic, socioeconomic, educational, environmental, and other indicators, allowing analysts to illustrate complex relationships by combining different datasets to reveal the true stories of our regions, cities, and blocks.  D3 is committed to providing access to information that can drive better decision-making, believing that everyone should have equitable access to information to make the best decisions possible for themselves, their organizations, and their communities.

Raleigh holds a Master of Urban Planning from Wayne State University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Hispanic Studies from the University of Michigan.

#OntheTable 2016: Great for Chicago, but not my waistline!

Doesn’t it just figure? As soon as the weather starts to break in Chicago, and I sign up for  Weight Watchers to get rid of the “winter blahs 10”, along comes Chicago Community Trust’s “On the Table 2016” –an annual Spring forum designed to elevate conversation, foster new relationships and unite the place we call “home”….all the while eating our way through this fabulous day. This year, I was honored to attend (and help host) three different On the Table events. I’d like to share with you my journey, and the menus along the way. Bon Appetit!

All kidding aside, what is really important about On the Table 2016 is the “movement” that has been started and the nearly 55,000 conversations throughout Chicagoland on May 10th. There were over 3600 “tables” hosted in the City and the suburbs, and nearly 7 million digital impressions posted. By mid-morning #Onthetable2016 was trending! What we learn when we come together as a community is what’s important—helping each voice to be heard and discussing/finding solutions to help positively impact our neighborhoods and lives.


My first stop was the Harold Washington Library, for a discussion led by Mark Andersen of the Chicago Public Library. This was a working lunch with ~30 people at 3 tables. The menu included assorted sandwiches (I tried to remove the bread—doesn’t work so well with hummus attached), chips and cookies (arghh!!!). Weight watchers points for lunch-14. However, the conversation was all protein, not carbs. We were focusing on Workforce Development in our neighborhoods, and I met some great new people—from John Marshall Law School, from the US Department of State, from the Philippines, Malaysia and New York. There was even a conference in town attending several On the Table events to learn best practices from Chicagoans.

We discussed the universal need to improve basic digital literacy skills, notably on the SW side of Chicago. We brainstormed on ways to create a more unified community of funders—specifically, how to get funding aligned, coordinated and “funneled” to increase impact and outcomes in our neighborhoods. We agreed that working with nonprofits on describing outcomes is a challenge all around, and collecting good data, tracking data and reporting data needs a lot of improvement. We also discussed how we all need to do a better job helping nonprofits build staff capacity, especially in the area of evaluation tools, knowing what data to collect and how to analyze data sets. We speculated that a stronger collective impact model—referencing Thrive Chicago—might work for Workforce as well as for Education.

WP_20160510_14_57_06_RichMy next stop was LISC Chicago, where I am a proud member of the Board. This was a coffee break table, with the amazing chocolate chip Corner Bakery cookies, plus fresh fruit. Weight Watchers points—6—and it’s only 3 pm. Ok, so I had half a chocolate chip cookie and a full cup of coffee to offset the sugar high. At LISC we had a fully facilitated program and we had a chance to meet the new Executive Director Meghan Harte, who recently moved to LISC from City Hall. There were about 20 people around a large table, including representatives from several LISC-supported communities like Englewood, North Lawndale, etc. Our focus at LISC was “What steps can we take to support the creation of a more unified community?”

Our facilitator broke us up into smaller groups, where we discussed collaboration, economic development and skills requirements. It was amazing how different groups of people—many who were meeting for the first time that day—identified similar issues across our neighborhoods to address. Our vision included more equitable resources, more shared conversations, residents who are actively engaged in their neighborhoods and formalized community planning.


CPL2016Logo_gs_printThe next and final program was at the wonderful Chicago Public Library Chinatown Branch at 2100 S. Wentworth Avenue. This Branch is a must-see! This was jointly hosted by Microsoft and the Chicago Public Library Commissioner Brian Bannon and Chicago Public Library Foundation CEO Rhona Frazin. A huge thank you to Si Chen, Branch Manager of Chinatown. Si graciously opened her home to us that evening, provided tours and the background on the design, architecture and art in the Branch, which is visited by nearly 1500 people each day.

Catering was provided by the fabulous Hing Kee Restaurant. We had a huge sushi boat with at least six different kinds of sushi, vegetable fried rice, Chinese Chicken wings, fried tofu, dumplings, won tons, two kinds of noodles and sesame dessert. Weight Watchers points—let’s just say that I stopped counting!

Our goal during the evening was to introduce a wide array of people to the new CPL Branch and to discuss how technology can help “extend the walls” of the Libraries into the communities they serve. Clearly, digital access and skills continued to be a hot discussion topic. The Library has recently expanded its Cybernavigator program to all 80 locations, so we discussed how critical these resources are and how important to “right size” the resources based on the needs of the individual community. I especially enjoyed the discussion about the Library being a “safe place” (literally and figuratively) to learn, to get information, to experiment, and to grow. It’s also an important way to rebrand a neighborhood (like Chinatown) and the Library “represents the history of the neighborhood”.

At the Microsoft Technology Center, our Civic Tech Fellow Kevin Wei had the pleasure of hosting The Family Institute at Northwestern University. The conversation was around “identity” and how it relates to the ways we all see or experience ourselves and our communities, as “different” — sexuality, ability/disability status, race, and religion. How do we move ourselves and each other to inclusion, not only with each other, but with aspects of our own selves and communities we belong to? An extremely important and critically relevant discussion in today’s society.

By 9 pm, the sun had set, the conversation was winding down, the sushi was consumed and we were all thrilled with our personal and professional time spent On the Table 2016. Congratulations and a big thank you to the Chicago Community Trust for your inspiration and leadership,  and to my colleagues at Chicago Public Library and at LISC Chicago for hosting these important conversations. And thank you to each of you who participated at conversations throughout our City—your time, your perspective, your caring all help make Chicago stronger and better.

See you at the next Weight Watchers meeting!

Opti: Managing Stormwater for Sustainability at UChicago


Beneath the University of Chicago’s North Sciences Quad, Opti intelligently connects weather forecast information to stormwater infrastructure, reducing combined sewer overflows and harvesting rainwater for irrigation. This cloud solution is built natively on Microsoft Azure.

As our city grows, so do our college campuses. With this growth — and Chicago’s technology boom — comes an increased awareness and movement toward sustainable practices. Here in Chicago, when the University of Chicago (UChicago) was building a new North Sciences Quad, they wanted to create an innovative and sustainable landscape. As is standard in Chicago, building new spaces requires a storage tank and UChicago wanted to be sure they were able to control the flow rates of stormwater runoff.

UChicago’s storage tank — a tank that fills with rainwater and drains into the combined sewer — had to hold at least 150,000 gallons to comply with city regulations. But UChicago set a much more ambitious goal that required a partner equally focused on sustainable practices and equally committed to actions that promote the health of our water ecosystems. Enter OptiRTC.

Opti’s stormwater management system was brought to UChicago as an alternative to the standard, passive storage tank. Using a water level sensor and valve connected to Opti’s cloud–based control, UChicago intelligently manages releases from the storage tank. They also set a goal that to some might seem beyond reach: the ability to harvest rainwater from this tank, a function unheard of in other regional stormwater management systems. Experts with the University aimed to pioneer a new system of sustainable water re–use on campus. UChicago tackled the challenge to achieve the benefits, without the additional investment of a separate rainwater harvesting system.

UChicago North Sciences Quad

Opti and the University of Chicago deployed an adaptively controlled valve to optimize a 150,000 gallon underground stormwater tank for combined sewer overflow mitigation and potable water conservation. When a storm is forecasted, the valve opens to drain a calculated volume from the tank, freeing storage space to capture the pending rain event. The valve closes before it begins to rain, and remains closed for the duration of the storm. This allows the tank to collect rain and runoff that could otherwise overwhelm the downstream sewer system and cause combined sewer overflows. Once the storm has passed, the tank is full and Opti continues holding the collected water so it is available for resuse. The harvested rainwater is used to irrigate landscape features of the Quad.

For passive systems, the storage tank is required to be empty in preparation for storms, but for rainwater harvesting, the tank should be as full as possible. In partnering with Opti, UChicago implemented a first-of-it’s kind system in Chicago. With Opti, UChicago’s 150,000 gallon tank under the North Sciences Quad is equipped to handle both stormwater protection and rainwater harvesting — effectively balancing the need to keep the tank both empty and full.


Web-based dashboards display system performance data and weather forecast information. Stormwater managers can check on the system, export custom data sets for analysis, and even remotely open or close valves in manual control mode. Typically, however, this system operates autonomously in “automatic control” mode. View-only dashboards can also be displayed publicly to University stakeholders.

Run on the Azure cloud, Opti’s platform combines weather forecasts, current water levels, and more to ensure the Quad’s storage tank maintains an optimal water level at all times. Through a combination of secure IoT hardware and cloud-based services, Opti is able to control civil infrastructure through features that act predictively — controlling stormwater, before it rains. This provides the university with a commercial rainwater harvesting facility without extra cost.

“Azure is an important partner in providing, reliable, secure, and integrated services on which our clients can trust to manage their stormwater flows, reduce flooding, and improve water quality” said Marcus Quigley, founder and CEO at OptiRTC.

Opti has been controlling facilities like this since 2011 in earnest, but its earliest systems (pre-cloud) were deployed in 2009. Opti generally enters projects in which systems are low-maintenance, typically requiring little-to-no monitoring. By adding lightweight monitoring and control equipment, Opti is able to often double the performance of the infrastructure or more. The end result is a more complete awareness about functionality and this piece of infrastructure. This additional data — which adds a new level of information— has the potential to reduce overall work, which is critical for predicting maintenance needs. Here, they’re looking to provide an unprecedented transparency around functionality.

“Because Opti resides in the cloud, we provide a high level of transparency and accessibility to our customers,” Quigley said. “Cloud infrastructure allows Opti to keep all systems up to date and any improvements to the underlying platform or functionality are immediately available to all sites nationally.”


Civic Chat — Networking Our Neighborhoods: Bianca Alferes, Cyber Navigator at Chicago Public Library

Bianca Alvarez

While an undergrad at Columbia College, Bianca Alferes spent her time working in the television equipment center, helping students learn to use editing software. When she heard Chicago Public Library had an opening for a Cyber Navigator position, Bianca applied for the position. Now she helps various members from the Chicago community learn basic computer skills through the library’s free learning programs.

In Shelley Stern Grach’s latest Civic Chat: Networking Our Neighborhoods, Shelley talks with Bianca about the Cyber Navigator program and all the work Chicago Public Library is doing to help boost the city’s computer skills.

Watch Shelley’s chat with Bianca live on Advisor.TV.

Collaboration Improves Nonprofit Capacity and Client Services

Successful partnerships help solve unique problems, through matching needs with skills. One important partnership ecosystem is helping nonprofits better understand how to use technology in the most efficient ways possible. Our support in the University of Chicago’s Civic Leadership Academy is one example of this, bringing forth new ways to use data and technology to make Chicago better. Below, James Rudyk, Executive Director of Northwest Side Housing Center (NWSHC), explains how these partnerships can be used to make tech-based programs easier, and how Microsoft helped revitalize NWSHC’s CRM database. We’re honored to work with James and the NWSHC and look forward to keeping them up-to-tech.

— Shelley Stern Grach

A key component of the Civic Leadership Academy at the University of Chicago is the capstone project. For my project, I thought long and hard about the most pressing issues facing the Northwest Side Housing Center. What immediately came to mind was the need to create a single database to manage all of the data across NWHSC’s seven programs. While this project seemed like “a dream,” I thought if anyone could help solve this organizational challenge it was the University of Chicago.

Around the time I began working on my capstone project, Microsoft presented to our cohort on the use of data to help advance our organizations, specifically using high-level data to move our organizations forward, and the open data movement in Chicago. As Shelley Stern-Grach and Adam Heckman from Microsoft were presenting, I raised my hand and said, “How can I think about open data or big data when I do not have a database for the NWSHC that tracks all of our program participants.” I was pleasantly surprised when just hours later Adam sent me an email asking to meet and talk. A few weeks later I was at Microsoft’s headquarters downtown getting a tour of their space and talking about how Microsoft could support a fully customized CRM database through Microsoft’s OneWeek employee volunteer effort.

In July 2015, Microsoft began assembling an international team of experts to help work on our database. Microsoft began by interviewing NWSHC staff and asking them what they would like to see in a database, what pain points they experience in data entry, and how we can be more effective. Through these interviews Microsoft’s team led, by Hazel Rice (based on in Seattle, Wash.), created a customized database. Microsoft staff spent numerous hours far above and beyond the OneWeek initiative to make sure our fully customized CRM was complete. They also led trainings for our team, including how to enter data, create customized reports, and use dashboards to better visualize our work.

As of today, our NWSHC CRM is completed and migrated to our server, all seven programs of ours are entered, and our staff has began beta testing the process for entering participant files. We have a projected live date of May 1, 2016.

The lasting impact of this project is far greater than I could have ever imagined. This customized CRM template will be made available to all 54 housing counseling agencies throughout Illinois to help them solve the same challenges NWSHC faced. As I reflect back on the Civic Leadership Academy, the capstone project, and the relationship with Microsoft, I am inspired and energized that multi-sector partnerships between private and public organizations can help solve issues that nonprofits face. I believe this model should continue to be encouraged as we build capacity of nonprofits in Chicago and the region.

Microsoft celebrates National Small Business Week with programs and deals for local businesses

Small business is the heart of the U.S. economy: The U.S. Small Business Administration reports that more than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year. Microsoft is celebrating National Small Business Week May 1-7 with events, panel discussions, videos, and in-store offers at Microsoft Stores designed to help small businesses grow and succeed. Get daily updates at the Microsoft Sway page for National Small Business Week.

Boosting IT security for small businesses

On Monday morning, the United States Institute of Peace hosted a panel discussion focused on the importance of cybersecurity for small businesses, which are becoming a key target for cybercriminals seeking to access financial and personal data. Attackers assume that small businesses have limited resources for IT security; experts from Microsoft, ADP and ESET joined SBA Deputy Administrator Doug Kramer to offer solutions and resources that will help small businesses fight back. You can watch a replay of the discussion and follow the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #DreamSmallBiz.

Office Small Business Academy Live Expert Q&A

On Thursday, May 5, at 6 p.m. CDT, the Office Small Business Academy webcast series is hosting a live event, “Small Businesses, Big Ideas,” from the flagship Microsoft Store in New York. Featured speakers Carol Roth, Ramon Ray and Rieva Lesonsky will field entrepreneurs’ questions about building and growing a small business, from managing employees to connecting with customers. As a bonus, attendees will be eligible to get two months free with an annual Office 365 Business Premium plan.

Special offers for small businesses at the Microsoft Store

Microsoft Stores are designed to support the needs of small businesses with products and solutions, events, support and training. For National Small Business Week, we’re presenting programs to help entrepreneurs achieve more and offering discounts to help you get the most out of your investments. Check out the store nearest you for special workshops and offers.