December 9, 2023
This article was written for our sponsor, Lenovo

Lenovo has called North Carolina and the Triangle home for nearly two decades. For Lenovo, home means more than where an office is located. It is where the families of employees and clients live and grow with one another. It is where they pick a shade of blue – or red – to root for, and then all come together to cheer for the Bulls and ‘Canes. It is where they explore everything from greenways to museums. It is where small businesses foster long-lasting relationships with local customers and teachers prepare the next generation of Triangle residents for a bright future.

While Lenovo leadership is quick to point out the benefits of being a part of this community, it’s important to note the benefits this community has had because of Lenovo. Before the year slips away, it’s a great time to call to mind the positive impact Lenovo has had in the Triangle community.

Here are five ways Lenovo’s thought leadership impacted the Triangle in 2022:

Growing the esports industry

While many may still consider video gaming to be a hobby, esports, as it is known to aficionados, has become a global multi-billion dollar industry. Professional gamers travel for tournaments that offer cash prizes up to millions of dollars.

Partnering with Electronic Arts Inc. and Respawn Entertainment, Lenovo provided more than 400 high-performance Lenovo Legion personal computers and gaming monitors for all Apex Legends Global Series Majors. This included supporting the Apex Legends™ Global Series Championship at PNC Arena in Raleigh in July.

Bringing this high-profile event to Raleigh drew gamers and over 50,000 live spectators, which boosted the local economy. With continued support and partnerships with global technology leaders like Lenovo, the region will continue to attract events, gamers and tournaments to the state.

“Without doubt the new frontier in tech and gaming is esports, and Lenovo looks forward to building more partnerships and lending support for this exciting new venture,” said Jeff Palumbo, Lenovo’s Senior Global Esports Solutions Manager.

Supporting small businesses

Lenovo believes that small businesses are the heart of our communities, but it also recognizes that COVID highlighted how essential technology has become to modern businesses. To support local businesses as they continue to recover from the pandemic, Lenovo announced a new iteration of its community initiative, Evolve Small. Evolve Small aims to promote and champion small businesses by providing financial aid, technological resources, community support, and business mentorship.

The first iteration of Evolve Small was launched in 2021 and provided more than $1 million worth of small business grants and technology donations to minority-owned businesses across the U.S. and Canada.

The relaunch of the program, announced in August, has been building upon that success with a primary focus on minority and woman-owned business.

Lenovo partnered with the Carolina Panthers for the second straight year to boost small businesses in North Carolina through the Empowering the Carolinas contest. Ten winning businesses received $5,000 worth of technology upgrades from Lenovo while one grand prize winner — Hip Hop Smoothies based in Charlotte — also won a $100,000 advertising package with the Panthers. The businesses were selected from a pool of more than 650 entries, following a public nomination process.

“The last several years have been challenging for businesses across the Carolinas, and small businesses are among those who have been impacted the most. Through the Evolve Small campaign and the Empowering the Carolinas contest with the Panthers, Lenovo is supporting and fostering growth for businesses in communities here in our backyard,” said Gerald Youngblood, Chief Marketing Officer, Lenovo North America. “The Carolinas have been home to Lenovo for nearly two decades and partnering with the Panthers has helped us rally support for these businesses and the communities that both of our organizations call home.”

In October, as part of Evolve Small, Lenovo brought together local small businesses for the Main Street Festival at the company’s global headquarters in Morrisville, NC. The event involved educational panels, food, a band and a chance for the businesses to sell their goods and services to Lenovo employees. At the end of the event, Kevin Donnalley, former offensive lineman for the Carolina Panthers, announced that every vendor in attendance would receive a free laptop from Lenovo.

It was an event that Lenovo hopes to repeat and grow as their support for small businesses continues to be a focal point moving forward.

Creating opportunities for people with disabilities

Lenovo and Engage NC — a nonprofit that helps create jobs for people with autism and intellectual or developmental disabilities in the Triangle — have partnered to help expand Raleigh’s 321 Coffee. The coffee business employs more than 40 people with disabilities and has a waiting list of over 100 people who want to work there.

Lenovo is providing $150,000 on top of Engage NC’s $50,000 to help 321 Coffee open an accessible roasting facility that will support the hiring of more employees. Lenovo is also giving $15,000 worth of technology to make the space accessible and enable workplace independence.

“At Lenovo, our mission is to provide smarter technology for all, and we are proud to partner with organizations like 321 Coffee that are committed to fostering a more inclusive community here in Raleigh,” said Youngblood.

Providing educational experiences

Lenovo nurtures the next generation of innovators by introducing local students to technology. In July, the company sponsored a Girls Belong in Tech virtual summer camp to encourage middle and high school students to consider a technology career. Two Lenovo high school interns, Ally Zendejas and Pallavi Mylar, created the event, which included speakers, games, and prizes.

“Ally and I are both part of STEM based academies at our high schools, and after talking with our friends, we realized so many girls do not know about all the jobs in the tech field, ourselves included!” Mylar stated. “We created Girls Belong in Tech to inform our peers about the technology field but also to inspire young girls to join. Most STEM jobs are male-dominated and many young girls can fall under that pressure, become shy and not take initiative. Girls Belong in Tech is to chisel the stigma in hopes to encourage and educate girls about the endless possibilities offered in the Technology and Engineering fields.”

Following the success of this virtual event, Lenovo is now planning to host an in-person Girls Belong in Tech event for local high school students in February at the company’s Morrisville headquarters.

Another initiative, STEM field day, invited Triangle-area elementary school students to WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary to play games and participate in activities that blended aspects of STEM with the sport of soccer. The North Carolina Football Club and NC Courage partnered with Lenovo to provide this engaging day which included scrimmages and virtual simulations.

And, in October, the Lenovo employee resource group Hispanics of Lenovo Association (HOLA) hosted “A Day at Lenovo: Plan de tu Futuro” in partnership with other local Hispanic education groups, welcoming around 50 Triangle-area students to the company’s Morrisville headquarters for an afternoon of professional development workshops and discussions.

Celebrating achievements and looking to the future

The innovations will not only provide ease and productivity to consumers, but will also allow Lenovo to continue to expand and provide revenue and employment to the Triangle and beyond.

Lenovo is grateful to call the Triangle home and, while it is proud of its progress and accomplishments in 2022, it is looking forward to an even more impactful 2023.

This article was written for our sponsor, Lenovo


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