Fighting First Party Fraud

America’s small businesses face unprecedented opportunities and challenges, particularly in combating a potential 40% increase in “friendly fraud” and “first-party fraud,” where customers dispute legitimate charges despite having received the goods or services. Friendly fraud involves genuine customers falsely claiming disputes on their legitimate purchases, posing a significant financial threat to merchants. To mitigate these risks while ensuring a smooth purchasing experience, businesses must balance effective fraud prevention with customer-friendly policies, emphasizing customer education, robust support, and clear communication about transactions.

To read more about this issue, see this post on PYMNTS, a site that provides data, news and insights on innovation in payments and the platforms powering the connected economy.

Some Cities Offering Discounted Rates to Fill Retail Vacancies

Empty storefront, illustration.

Cities like Seattle and Austin are repurposing vacant retail and office spaces to support small businesses and artisans by offering them at discounted rates, making it easier for them to establish a physical presence. These initiatives aim to revitalize commercial districts and increase economic opportunities for local entrepreneurs who might otherwise be unable to afford traditional long-term leases. To read more about these initiatives, see this piece in Small Business Trends.

SBA Announces Grant Funding for New Women’s Business Centers

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has announced $30 million in funding opportunities for Women’s Business Centers (WBCs), including a new center in the U.S. Virgin Islands and first-time funding for WBCs specializing in federal contracting and child care businesses. The initiative aims to expand virtual services, support socially and economically disadvantaged women, and enhance the SBA’s reach, especially in underserved communities, through an unprecedented network of 152 WBCs across the U.S. and its territories. Read more in the SBA’s press release on this initiative.

The Story Behind The Company, Baked By Melissa

Melissa Ben-Ishay founded Baked by Melissa after being fired from her ad agency job, leading her to start a cupcake business with her brother. The company grew from Ben-Ishay’s apartment kitchen to a commercial kitchen and multiple locations, leveraging social media to expand its reach, while Ben-Ishay became a successful CEO and cookbook author, overcoming gender-based obstacles in entrepreneurship. To read more about her journey, see this piece posted on CNBC