Create your Own Chatbot

August 30, 2016

What are Chatbots?

Imagine yourself talking to your movie friend,who is a movie buff and she has watched all the movies ever made. You ask her for suggestion about a good movie to watch. Just tell her what kind of movie you would like to watch, sad or upbeat, romantic, action, thriller, and she would happily provide you with wide array of movies that you should not miss out on. Now, imagine a bot doing the same thing as your movie buff friend, sounds amazing does it not? This is what a Chatbot is. It is sort of like your friend: who will tell you jokes or play games multiplayer games with you, answer all your question. You can ask the Chatbot about anythings, like what is going on in the world, the weather, who won gold medals on the Olympics, does not matter, it will answer you, only difference is that it lives inside a computer.

Let’s make our own Chatbot.

Now imagine making your own chat-bot and connecting it with your Facebook account, when your friends message you they will automatically get a reply from you. Sounds unbelievable does it not? But with these Udemy courses: Create a Messenger ChatBot – without coding, and ChatBots: How to Make a Facebook Messenger ChatBot, you will be able to make your own Chatbot friend who has limitless knowledge and will reply even when you are not around. One of the instructor of the course describes them as master potential master of the universe which you will be able to make on your own in your desk sitting in front of the computer. However impossible it sounds you will be surprised by how easy the courses are, and you will be guided by these instructors , who will provide you with adequate detail on how make the Chatbot. You wont have to sweat about not being able to programing with the help of pre-written source code, that you will be able to manipulate with little hesitation, or using Api.Ai, where you just have to type in responses and potential questions, to create your own Chatbot with ease. The step by step instructions are easy to follow.

Personal experience:

I did not have any prior experience of programming, but with the help of the course I have come up with my own Chatbot that I have linked to my facebook page Altu Uncle. Out of all the courses I have tried, I would personally recommend these two mentioned courses as they have enough detail to give you the overview of what is happening and not get your bored. If you are weak on programming, than this course if best for you, however there is a certain limit on the numbers of queries on Api.Ai that can be a hassle. Once again, I would  like to iterate that making Chatbot is as fun as you think it is, and way simpler and easy than you will ever think with these courses. After taking the course you will have the power to create your own “Genie” that will open up a portal of endless possibilities, with little to no knowledge about programming. Who knows you could even the one of the Chatbots to time travel for you?

 

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/AltuUncle/

http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=ufH0XOVcfiI&subid=&offerid=323058.1&type=10&tmpid=14538&RD_PARM1=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.udemy.com%2Fchatbots%2Flearn%2Fv4%2F

http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=ufH0XOVcfiI&subid=&offerid=323058.1&type=10&tmpid=14538&RD_PARM1=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.udemy.com%2Fchatbots-how-to-make-chat-bot-for-facebook-messenger%2Flearn%2Fv4%2Foverview

Top 5 Highest Paying Small Business Grants

August 17, 2016

A list of the highest paying grant opportunities available to small business owners in search of big funding.

 

Every seasoned entrepreneur knows a successful business does not start or thrive on just mound of seed (or trust fund) money. It is a combination of know-how, partnerships, planning, mentorship, and tenacity that takes a business off the pages, into play, and then into the green. But that does not mean small business owners are not all hunting for a solid sum of funds to help them set sail as they grow or back them up while they adventure into risky directions.

 

There are plenty of grants and competitions out there. Some offer once-in-lifetime enrichment packages, others couple networking experience with bundled price tags that claim to be “valued up to” X amount of dollars, but not so much in the way of cash. However, what you will find below are avenues to earn hearty amounts of real money (because 3 free months of free, executive mentoring will not keep the lights on) for your small business. Plus, if you are going to take time to do all the foot-work of applying, entering, and competing for money, you might as well go big.

 

So here it is; a short-list of the top 5 grant opportunities that offer big money to small businesses.

 

 

#1 Echoing Green Fellowship (Image)

MO: Unleashing Your Talent to Solve the World’s Greatest Problems

 

Who is this for?

Promising Social Entrepreneurs in sectors from saint-work to artwork, and many others in-between

 

The Competition

Fierce – Candidates are taken world-wide and only 1% of applicants make the cutoff into Fellowship

 

The Pay Out

$80,000 for individuals, $90,000 for 2-person partnerships

That is out of the $2 million they set aside for their competition.

 

The Fluff

  • A health insurance stipend
  •  A yearly professional development stipend
  • Conferences led by organizational development experts
  • Access to technical support and pro bono partnerships to help grow your organization
  • A community of like-minded social entrepreneurs and public service leaders, including the Echoing Green network of nearly 500 alumni working all over the world

 

Apply! (http://www.echoinggreen.org/fellowship/echoing-green-fellowship)

 

 

#2 Cleantech Open Accelerator & Competition (Image)

MO:  We find, fund, and foster the most promising cleantech startups on the planet.

 

Who is this for?

Mean, green, sustainable and environmentally-safe business “machines”

 

The Competition

Homegrown, US companies – Applicants have to be on a team with at least 2 people (only one must be a US citizen).

 

The Payout

$100,000

 

The Fluff

  • Chance at prizes valued from $10,000 Regionally to $250,000 nationally
  •  Participation at the National West Coast and/or East Coast Academy
  • Enrollment in the full series of Cleantech Open Training Seminars and Webinars
  • Mentor, Investor and Sustainability Programs more
  • Exhibition space at the Cleantech Open National Conference and Global Forum more
  • All-access tickets to all regional and most national events
  • Resources like the new book from Steve Blank & Bob Dorf “The Startup Owner’s Manual”
  • Exclusive Software Offer from the Cleantech Open and Autodesk Clean Tech Partner Program (up to $10,000 value) more

 

 

Apply! (http://www.cleantechopen.com/app.cgi/content/competition/business/eligibility)

 

 

#3 Small Business Innovation Research Program

MO: It is pretty word-y (http://www.sba.gov/content/mission-statement-0)

 

Who is this for?

The Nerds  – within your business there must be at least one principal researcher employed.

 

The Competition

Capped – Only small, for-profit businesses under 500 employees are eligible. Not to mention American

 

The Payout

$100,000 during the first 6 months of support.

$750,000 during the next 2 years.

 

The Fluff

  • Phase I is the startup phase. Awards of up to $100,000 for approximately 6 months support exploration of the technical merit or feasibility of an idea or technology.
  • Phase II awards of up to $750,000, for as many as 2 years, expand Phase I results. During this time, the R&D work is performed and the developer evaluates commercialization potential. Only Phase I award winners are considered for Phase II.
  • Phase III is the period during which Phase II innovation moves from the laboratory into the marketplace. No SBIR funds support this phase. The small business must find funding in the private sector or other non-SBIR federal agency funding.

 

 

Apply! (http://www.sba.gov/content/small-business-innovation-research-program-sbir-0)

 

#4 Small Business Technology Transfer Program (Sister Program of SBIRP)

MO: The same as #3 (http://www.sba.gov/content/mission-statement-0)

 

Who is this for?

The Nerds  – within your business there must be at least one principal researcher employed.

 

The Competition

Capped – Only small, for-profit businesses under 500 employees are eligible. Not to mention American

 

The Payout

$100,000 during the first 6 months of support.

$750,000 during the next 2 years.

 

The Fluff

Phase I is the startup phase. Awards of up to $100,000 for approximately one year fund the exploration of the scientific, technical, and commercial feasibility of an idea or technology.

Phase II awards of up to $750,000, for as long as two years, expand Phase I results. During this period, the R&D work is performed and the developer begins to consider commercial potential. Only Phase I award winners are considered for Phase II.

Phase III is the period during which Phase II innovation moves from the laboratory into the marketplace. No STTR funds support this phase. The small business must find funding in the private sector or other non-STTR federal agency funding.

 

Apply! (http://www.sba.gov/content/small-business-technology-transfer-program-sttr-0)

 

#5 Mission: small Business

MO:  To increase awareness of the important role small businesses play in local communities and to help small businesses grow

 

Who is this for?

Any home-grown, US small business owners that are at least 18 years of age

 

The Competition

American Idol style — 4 to 12 winners max., decided upon by popular vote of customers, friends, and neighbor

 

The Payout

$250,000 for at least 4 winners

 

The Fluff

No frills. Just money.

 

Apply! (https://www.missionsmallbusiness.com/pages/program-rules)

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