A $10,000 Surprise! Verizon Shows Up with a Big Check to Support a Much-Loved Houston Small Business Owner

HOUSTON – Driving to work, giving herself a pep-talk in preparation for the day, Deidre Mathis had no idea a crowd of people were huddled in a bedroom room at her Wanderstay Houston Hostel ready to surprise her with a $10,000 check from Verizon.

Watch the video above to see the surprise!

“Literally on the way here I was giving myself a pep talk, saying, ‘it’s OK Deirdre,’ because sometimes you feel like a fraud,” Deidre said of the struggles faced by so many small business owners who find themselves running a successful business but weighted under the day-to-day pressures of managing cash flow, hiring, and finding a health work-life balance.

Verizon’s Small Business Digital Ready Program supports small business owners like Diedre, offering free courses, mentorship, networking, and grants that help them continue doing the work they do…in Diedre’s case this is keeping Wanderstay Houston Hostel the highest rated hostel in Texas

In 2018, the Wanderstay Houston Hostel hosted over 5,000 guests from 26 countries and 19 states. But during COVID, their occupancy-rate percentage dropped from 70% to just 10%. That 10% was mostly just hospital staff who stayed there since the hotel is only three miles from the Texas Medical Center. Since then, under Deidre’s leadership, The Wanderstay Hostel has gotten back on its feet and the business is looking to grow.

Deidre has a vision to hire more staff and continue to support her current staff with training opportunities. She also wants to increase her investment in marketing on social media to spread the word about both of her Wanderstay properties. The grant from Verizon’s Small Business Digital Ready Program could not have arrived at a better time for Deidre. “As a small business owner any amount helps but $10,000 will help a whole lot,” she said.

If you have a small business and would like the opportunity to apply for grant from Verizon’s Small Business Digital Ready Program - just like Deidre did - go to Verizon.com/digitalready CLICK HERE for that link.

The Verizon Small Business Digital Ready program is part of Verizon’s goal to support 1M small businesses by 2030 with the resources to thrive in the digital economy as part of its responsible business plan, Citizen Verizon. You can learn more by visiting CitizenVerizon.com.

Now through until December 20, 2023, small businesses can unlock the application for this round of grant funding by first registering on the Verizon Small Business Digital Ready portal HERE and completing at least two of the following, in any combination: courses, coaching or community events. Small businesses that complete the application will be eligible for consideration to receive a $10,000 grant.

Watch the video above to see Houston Life’s Melanie Camp along with a big group from Verizon, the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of commerce, and LISC Houston surprise Deidre Mathis from a bedroom at Wanderstay Houston Hostel.

About the Author

Melanie Camp is a correspondent on KPRC 2’s Houston Life. 

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