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Small Business Administration

Helping female entrepreneurs succeed


To further their mission of helping small businesses succeed, the Small Business Administration (SBA) needed a learning platform focused on female entrepreneurs. We've been engaged as a subcontractor to Fearless to deliver a technical solution that maximizes the use of an existing open-source-software product without limiting the flexibility needed to deliver a unique user experience.

A woman sitting at her desk and using an online learning website.

The challenge

Many female entrepreneurs face significant obstacles to building their businesses, particularly when it comes to acquiring the outside knowledge they need to increase their chances of success. Determined to address this issue, the SBA launched Ascent, which included the creation of a new learning platform based on an existing open-source content management system (CMS) called Brightspot. The challenge has been leveraging Brightspot in such a way as to not only avoid constraining the design of the user experience to what's available "out-of-the-box," but also to avoid the nightmare of having to maintain a "custom-off-the-shelf-software" product.

The solution

As a subcontractor to Fearless, Skylight's been providing additional technical leadership around how best to address this challenge. In particular, we've helped architect and engineer a custom API wrapper that programmatically makes calls into Brightspot, thereby leveraging its full feature set in an independent way. This approach gives them the power to create a curated learning experience for female entrepreneurs.

The results

  • Demonstrated, using a spike solution, that a customized API would not only work with Brightspot, but would also provide a robust front-end development resource for the SBA
  • Delivered 11 modules of working content, including video, audio, downloadable worksheets, interactive self-assessments, and more