BBB Recognizes Ethical Athletes With Scholarship Program

Two $2,500 scholarships to be awarded

Better Business Bureau Serving the Pacific Southwest (BBB), together with the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA), are looking for the next BBB Ethical Athlete. The scholarship honors Arizona high school student athletes who do the right thing, no matter who is watching.

Members of the community can nominate student athletes and self-nominations are also accepted. Students must have a minimum 2.75 GPA and share their story on what attributes make them an ethical athlete. A panel of judges will screen and score the nominations. Two students will be selected and awarded a $2,500 scholarship.

“Being an ethical athlete is more than doing the right thing, it’s also about being honorable, dedicated, compassionate, trustworthy and reliable,” said BBB Pacific Southwest President/CEO Matthew Fehling.

Applications are now open until Sunday, May 1. To learn more about the scholarship and to nominate Arizona high school athletes visit Sponsors who are interested in supporting this year’s scholarship can email for more information.


Reprinted by permission of the Better Business Bureau, © 2022.

BBB Main St. Accelerator Program Now Open for Applications

Business program provides tools for success and growth

Better Business Bureau Serving Pacific Southwest (BBB) and GoDaddy Inc. (NYSE: GDDY) are now accepting applications for their 2022 Empower by GoDaddy and BBB Main St. Accelerator Program. The hybrid in-person/virtual program is open to those operating in Greater Arizona and Southern California, and will offer attendees educational classes, networking, mentoring and GoDaddy products to help their businesses grow.

The business development program is seeking established business owners looking to increase revenue, improve online presence and grow ethically. Unlike tech-focused business accelerators, the goal of this program is to serve everyday entrepreneurs who comprise the majority of our small business economy. As a nonprofit trade organization, BBB is ensuring the tools offered through this program meet the needs of tradespeople and mom-and-pop stores.

“BBB is dedicated to helping build better businesses with ethics at the forefront. Our priority is to ensure that business acceleration and education are widely available to all

entrepreneurs, which is why we have built this inclusive program with our partners at GoDaddy,” said Vice President of Innovation and Entrepreneur Programs at BBB, Kimberly Roland.

Participants will learn and work alongside leaders from GoDaddy, Better Business Bureau, Desert Financial Credit Union, Snell and Wilmer, Lifeguides and other industry leaders. Topics covered will include creating a standout virtual brand, website and e-commerce presence, leveraging ethical values, legal and financial auditing, marketing strategies and social and emotional support for entrepreneurs.

Applications are being accepted at until mid-March and the cohort session of 50 businesses will run for two months. Accepted participants will receive a full scholarship that covers the cost of programming, valued over $3,000 and will be responsible for a one-time materials fee of $99 to BBB before the start of the program. For more information email


Reprinted by permission of the Better Business Bureau, © 2022.


New Program Offers No Interest Loans To Small Businesses

Help has arrived for entrepreneurs in Northern Arizona to boost their businesses with access to affordable capital. Better Business Bureau Serving the Pacific Southwest (BBB) has partnered with Arizona Public Service (APS) to launch the Northern Arizona Kiva Hub, which provides zero percent interest loans to small businesses unable to access traditional capital.

Kiva pioneered personal microlending for low-income entrepreneurs and underserved communities by using a blend of community partners, municipalities and individual funders to offer financing with zero interest, no fees and technical assistance for small businesses.

The Northern Arizona Kiva Hub will support entrepreneurs throughout Apache, Coconino, Mohave, Navajo and Yavapai counties. BBB is the largest trade association in Arizona and works to raise awareness of marketplace ethics to build businesses that operate with integrity. To launch the program, BBB is proud to partner with APS, which collaborates with like-minded organizations to strengthen local communities in Arizona.

“APS is committed to helping our community thrive,” said Tina Marie Tentori, Director of Community Affairs and the APS Foundation. “We are excited about the community collaboration that developed this program and will bring knowledge and resources to entrepreneurs and small business owners throughout Northern Arizona.”

BBB has become the leader in igniting business growth by offering educational programming, mentorship, and access to online products. The addition of access to capital funding strengthens support for entrepreneurs during their journeys. BBB has two Northern Arizona campuses in Prescott and Lake Havasu City, which provide local access for rural business owners.

“In rural communities, small businesses can face additional challenges when it comes to accessing resources to help them thrive. With this new APS partnership and funding opportunity, entrepreneurs in Mohave County have a direct line of support to get their business journey off the ground,” shares Kryistyna Hook, Director of Media Relations and BBB team member located in Lake Havasu City.

Jose Anca, BBB Capital Access Manager is available to assist with the loan application, making the pathway more accessible for entrepreneurs. Kiva loans are generated through a crowdfunding model and Anca will work directly with small business owners, entrepreneurs, and diverse startups to pitch their concept to local lenders who will contribute to raising the funds.

“BBB provides a myriad of educational and technical assistance programs to entrepreneurs. We saw a massive need for interaction and capital for startups and entrepreneurs in Northern Arizona through our accelerator programs, particularly for minority and women-owned businesses. The Northern Arizona Kiva program will allow us to serve small business owners, especially in rural communities, in need of working capital to launch or survive,” shares Anca.

To apply

Kiva loans offer financing from $1,000 to $15,000 with zero interest zero fees. To apply, visit our website at or contact


Reprinted by permission of the Better Business Bureau, © 2022.

Havasu High Student Wins Ethical Torch Essay Scholarship Contest

Better Business Bureau Serving the Pacific Southwest (BBB) has proudly awarded five scholarships to high school students in Greater Arizona for their winning essays on “The Importance of Character and Ethics.” Held annually, the contest encourages students to write an essay about doing the right thing when they are faced with an ethical dilemma. This year’s scholarship program was sponsored by Swiss America and Valley of the Sun-Camelback Kiwanis Club.

2021 Ethical Torch Essay Scholarship Winners:

  • First Place of $1,500: Dylan Caton from Lake Havasu High School
  • Second Place of $1,250: Sonya Colattur from Xavier College Preparatory
  • Third Place of $1,000: Ella Hamer from BASIS Scottsdale
  • Fourth Place of $750: Joan Isabelle Walton from Xavier College Preparatory
  • Fifth Place of $500: Landen Patrick Knutson from Heritage Academy Gateway

First place winner Dylan Caton shared how integrity is more than a one-time action; it’s a way of living.

“People will always make mistakes, but owning up to your wrongdoing is what counts. It is never easy to give up a piece of dignity, but making that decision is the most valuable step in leading a life with strong moral principles,” said Caton.

Gary Sneed, Desert Financial Credit Union Sr. V.P. and Chief Lending Officer, acknowledged that educational expenses continue to rise for students; so they surprised each of the five winners with an additional $1,000 scholarship to help them soar.

To learn more about the Ethical Torch Essay Scholarship program, and to read the winning essays, visit Applications for next year’s scholarship will open on January 1, 2022.


Reprinted by permission of the Better Business Bureau, © 2021.

BBB: Military families and veterans more likely to lose money to scams

Service members, military spouses and veterans all reported higher likelihoods of losing money and higher median dollar losses to scammers, according to the 2020 BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report. The study published by the BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust (BBB Institute), analyzes scams reported to BBB Scam Tracker. Veterans reported a median loss of $133, military spouses reported a median loss of $132, and active duty service members reported a median loss of $269 – all of which were higher than the $115 median loss reported across all consumers in 2020.

“Historically, we’ve seen higher median losses reported by the military community,” says Melissa Trumpower, BBB Institute Executive Director. “2020 was the first year, however, that we also saw higher rates of military consumers losing money to fraudsters.”

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The loss reported across all consumers was 46.4%. Veterans reported a slightly higher loss at 46.8%. Military families reported the highest loss at 50.8% for military spouses and 59.7% for service members.

“The biggest factor contributing to these higher likelihoods of loss across the board was the increase of online purchase scams and scams perpetrated online in general,” says Trumpower. 

Online purchase scams were the riskiest scam for service members and veterans but the riskiest items purchased online were pets and pet supplies. The riskiest scam for military spouses in 2020 was employment scams. This included flexible, work-from-home opportunities found online that often involved fake check or reshipment scams. In the BBB Pacific Southwest region, online purchase and employment scams topped the list reported by active duty military and veteran consumers, with a total of just over $180k combined loss in 2020, according to BBB Scam Tracker. 

“We continue to work with our partners to combat scams that target the military and share prevention messaging through BBBs serving communities throughout North America,” Trumpower said. To learn more about BBB’s Military and Veterans Initiative, visit

Reprinted by permission of the Better Business Bureau, © 2021.

2021 Torch Awards for Ethics Finalists

BBB Serving the Pacific Southwest Announces 2021 Torch Awards for Ethics Finalists

22 Greater Arizona companies honored with esteemed recognition

Better Business Bureau Serving the Pacific Southwest (BBB) proudly announces 22 Greater Arizona companies as finalists for the 2021 BBB Torch Awards for Ethics. The event is sponsored by Desert Financial Credit Union and raises awareness in marketplace ethics and recognizes businesses that operate with the highest levels of integrity.

BBB Torch Awards for Ethics is one of the highest honors BBB bestows upon a company and is designed to highlight outstanding ethical businesses. The following finalists completed an evaluation where they demonstrated their commitment to ethics and trust in four categories: Character, Culture, Customers and Community.

“Honesty builds trust, which is a vital aspect in the success of a business. For 19 years, BBB has been recognizing outstanding companies in Greater Arizona for their solid commitment to doing things the right way,” said Shelley Bradley, Director of Signature Events for BBB Serving the Pacific Southwest.

“This esteemed award recognizes business leaders who demonstrate a superior level of character and ensure their organization’s practices meet the highest ethical standards, thereby generating trust,” continued Bradley.

2021 Greater Arizona BBB Torch Awards for Ethics Finalists:

Category 1: Employees 1-5

Category 2: Employees 6-10

Category 3: Employees 11-50

Category 4: Employees 51-149

Category 5: Employees 150+

Five winners, one from each category, will be announced at the in-person signature event on November 17 at 6 p.m. at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix. Finalists, winners and judges will also be celebrated through a visual digital campaign on BBB’s social media channels. For a complete list of this year’s BBB Torch Awards for Ethics Finalists visit

Reprinted by permission of the Better Business Bureau, © 2021.

Selling Your Home for Quick Cash? Not so Fast!

If you own a home, you may have received offers or seen advertisements promising to buy it quickly and for cash. Selling a home is a time-consuming process, and the promise of a quick close is tempting. However, it’s important to understand the difference between selling your home to a traditional buyer and making a deal with a home investor, sometimes called an opportunity investor. Better Business Bureau Serving the Pacific Southwest (BBB) shares these quick tips to stay safe and informed, with the full article on our website.

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Professional home investors make offers to sellers who are willing to sacrifice profit in exchange for a faster and simpler sale process. In recent years, iBuyers have emerged too – internet companies who use algorithms and proprietary valuation data to make no-obligation, all-cash offers to sellers. BBB recommends the following tips to help you find the right kind of buyer for your home and avoid getting scammed.


What to Consider Before Selling Your Home to a Home Investor

  • Think about your time constraints. With traditional home sales, buyers can require a 45-day escrow period, but home investors can usually close in a month or less and iBuyers can give homeowners a tentative offer within 24 to 48 hours and close in as little as a week.
  • Determine how much profit you need to make. The biggest con of working with a home investor or iBuyer is that you will almost always get a lower offer than you would from a traditional buyer. Traditional buyers may be willing to pay even more than market value for a home they’ve fallen in love with, while home investors are buying your home solely as an investment.
  • Factor in prep work. When marketing your home to traditional buyers, you’ll need to do a fair amount of prep work. When you sell to an investor, you won’t need to invest time and money into this kind of prep-work.
  • Research investing companies before you do business with them. Always look up businesses on org before you share personal information or agree to services with them.
  • Don’t fall victim to a home investor scam. Scammers prey on a seller’s desire to make a quick sale by offering deals that seem too good to be true. Ask plenty of questions and don’t settle for vague answers. Never give money to an investor before the closing date. Complete all transactions through a closing or escrow agent and don’t let anyone pressure you into making payments “off the books.”
  • Consider your alternatives. If you aren’t pressed for time, consider working with a full-service brokerage. You can also think about renting your home for an amount that covers your mortgage payments or setting up a lease-to-own agreement.

For more information read BBB’s tips on hiring a real estate agent.


BBB encourages businesses to operate with integrity, and helps consumers make wise marketplace decisions. Our innovative approach to business growth provides the tools that companies and entrepreneurs need to build better businesses. By working side by side with industry experts, we unite with a common goal. Become BBB Accredited and join our mission to create a community of trust.

More Information

For media inquiries, contact pr@bbbcommunity. Please allow a 24 hour courtesy for interview requests. For additional news stories, visit Published with permission from Better Business Bureau.

BBB: Valuing People Over Profit

BBB Business Tip:

Valuing people over profit means long-term success

Your employees are at the heart of your small business. Every day, they help support your company’s mission and do their part in building its success. However, the most important role your employees have is their role in your company culture. Corporate culture is essential to nearly every aspect of your business’s long-term success, from the quality of the talent you hire, to the loyalty of your customers.

According to a study by Duke University, more than 94% of executives stated that a distinct business culture is important to business success. The same study reported that 84% of employees and 83% of executives believed that engaged and motivated employees were the top factor that contributed to a company’s success. It’s well worth your time to invest in recruiting talented, driven employees who are committed to helping your business thrive and improving your company culture.

What is company culture?

Company culture is an overarching term that encompasses the collective beliefs, values, attitudes, and behaviors of a business. A company’s culture shows through the various interactions between employees and the decisions that they make daily.

To better understand what company culture entails, it’s helpful to break it down into key elements. Some of the most defining aspects of a business’s culture include the following:

  • Leadership style
  • Company mission
  • Goals
  • Expectations
  • Values and ethics

When all of these elements are in harmony, a business is often perceived to have a positive culture. Another common sign of excellent company culture is high employee engagement. Great employees who are eager to help out almost always belong to a culture that actively fosters their growth and success.

How a great company culture contributes to long-term success

If you’re determined to improve your company’s success in the long run, building a better company culture is a great place to start.

Some of the most significant long-term benefits of improving your company culture:

Better talent

When you’re intentional about improving your company culture, others will start paying attention. A business filled with enthusiastic, dedicated employees is sure to capture the attention of outsiders. Once they take note of your thriving community, they’ll naturally want to be a part of it as well. Getting potential job candidates to take an interest in your business is crucial. The more applicants you recruit, the greater chance you will attract highly talented workers to your company.

Higher employee retention

Not only does a better company culture attract more employees, but it also encourages them to stay loyal to your business. Research has shown that 63% of employees who were “always” or “usually” recognized at work considered themselves very unlikely to seek a new job in the next 3-6 months. When you build a stronger company culture, you recognize your employees for what they do, making them less likely to leave your company.

Greater revenue

Better company culture will also help bring in more revenue in the long run. Businesses with highly engaged employees showed 21% more profitability, according to Gallup. These businesses thrive because their employees are happily going above and beyond to satisfy their customers. Additionally, satisfied customers are more likely to recommend your business to friends and family, which directly boosts revenue.

Increased productivity

Your employees benefit directly from their environment. If you create a company culture that supports your workers’ goals, they will be eager to put more effort into their work. Likewise, happy employees tend to show up on time and take fewer days off — engaged employees result in a 40% reduction in absenteeism. The more employees show up every day and give it their all, the higher your daily output will be.

Better reputation

Customers make many of their decisions based on the way they perceive a company. If your business’s culture is strong enough to convince buyers to invest in your products or services, you’ll have a higher chance of earning a positive reputation. This reputation is essential to attracting more customers who can spread the word about your business. Also, you’ll likely see a more significant number of job candidates taking an interest in your organization if you put the work into improving your company culture.

Nourish your business’s success with a better company culture

The long-term success of your business is highly dependent on its culture. By fostering a more supportive work environment for all of your employees, you can help your company grow in many ways. Not only will you have a greater likelihood of attracting the right candidates, but you’ll also attract the interest of new customers. Each of these positive effects can improve your business’s reputation and increase your profit in the long run.

BBB of Southern Piedmont and Western N.C. contributed this article.


BBB encourages businesses to operate with integrity, and helps consumers make wise marketplace decisions. Our innovative approach to business growth provides the tools that companies and entrepreneurs need to build better businesses. By working side by side with industry experts, we unite with a common goal. Become BBB Accredited and join our mission to create a community of trust.

More Information

For media inquiries, contact pr@bbbcommunity. Please allow a 24 hour courtesy for interview requests. For additional news stories, visit Published with permission from Better Business Bureau.

BBB Business Tip: Emerging trends local businesses need to consider

Many local businesses struggled through 2020 and are ready to take on 2021 with a fresh start. While some trends feel like they come and go, the ones that stay can help you identify new and effective business strategies to ensure your company thrives. Better Business Bureau Serving the Pacific Southwest (BBB) shares the following tips for emerging trends that will be important for small businesses. Read the complete article at

1. Mobile marketing

Nearly everyone has a smartphone, so you should attempt to reach your customers through their mobile devices. Rather than only communicating through email, send text messages or even create an app. Check out BBB Pacific Southwest’s digital marketing tips and business management system THRIVe, to learn how to make your company stand out online.

2. Online courses

Online courses have been surging in popularity, especially since people have been spending more time at home during the pandemic. Establish yourself as an expert in your field by creating an online course. Check out BBB Pacific Southwest’s online events and webinars, and full playlist of educational content to get you started.

3. Data transparency

Be transparent about your data practices and ensure that you aren’t careless with your customers’ data. For more information on how to keep your data safe, read our BBB Business Tip: The top 5 cybersecurity practices every small business needs to do now.

4. Marketing to Generation Z

Over the next few years, Generation Z will start to make up more and more of your consumer base. Some important marketing considerations that matter to Generation Z are strong loyalty programs, quality products, diversity in advertising and socially responsible products.

5. Social media for customer support

Consumers want answers quickly, and look to using social media to connect with companies. When a young customer has a question or complaint, they can’t be bothered to write an email. BBB Pacific Southwest has a dedicated team monitoring our social media accounts and offers live chat on our website.

6. Gig economy

As your business expands, you may find that your employee base starts to look a little different. As a small business owner, the gig economy offers many opportunities. It’s much easier today to hire highly skilled people at reasonable rates for short-term contracts. If you need graphic design work, marketing assistance, or accounting help, you can simply contract the work out. Hiring contractors allows you to hire experienced people for a shorter time, learn from their expertise, and extend or cut the contract as you need.

Moving forward

Some trends come and go, but others become patterned behavior that stick around for years. It’s essential to keep an eye out for these new behaviors so you can make sure your business adapts to the changing marketplace.

One trend that will never go out of style is the value of consumer trust. Visit to learn more about BBB Accreditation and how it can help your business.

BBB of Southern Piedmont and Western N.C. contributed this article.


About Better Business Bureau Serving the Pacific Southwest.