Business owners across the country have been dramatically affected by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic that is continuing to cause havoc across the world, and with figures rising in many countries the winter does not hold much hope for a respite.
However eBay are aiming to help eBay businesses with their small business grant packages – worth over $500,000 – in an attempt to keep businesses continuing to thrive online. The Up & Running Grants program also offers education resources enabling small businesses to not only stay in business but to also expand where they can.
The scheme has more than $500,000 to share with small businesses and will be a massive boost to those who thought they could recoup some of their losses over Thanksgiving and Small Business Saturday.
Working in partnership with Hello Alice, business sellers will be required to submit their business details as well as how they would plan to use the grant to continue their eBay business as part of their online application. It is believed that there are 50 grants that will be awarded to eBay businesses, each worth around $10,000, and will include many different aspects including eBay credits and eBay Seller School coaching as well as money.
Speaking to Forbes, Jordan Sweetnam – eBay’s SVP and General Manager, Americas – explained not just what the program entails but also how eBay have been working towards supporting business during the pandemic:
“For 25 years eBay’s core purpose has remained the same: to empower people and create economic opportunity. This is our core DNA, and now more than ever we feel a responsibility to do everything we can to help small businesses stay open today and grow in the future. Small businesses are the backbone of eBay, as well as the engine of jobs, progress, and prosperity for communities across the U.S.
“When the pandemic began to spike, consumers came to us for essentials and other items that couldn’t be found elsewhere. The inventory of our diverse seller community came through, and in those first few months we added approximately six million buyers to our global platform.
“At the same time we noticed an uptick in new sellers as well as reactivated accounts. It makes sense that when communities and streets shut down and foot traffic slowed, people set up eBay storefronts to stay afloat. And in that time we’ve doubled down on our DNA to make sure even more small businesses have the resources and support they need to help them through this economic environment.”
Sweetnam continued, “Our ‘doubling down’ has taken the form of evolving legacy eBay programs into pandemic-response ones – launching Up & Running – followed by the Up & Running Grants program initiative, along with our Seller School and Virtual Holiday Marketplace. All of these programs aim to bring small, individual retailers online and offer them useful resources, such as sales, marketing and in some cases – financial – support.”
eBay’s Up & Running program was launched in April with the aim to encourage small businesses to move online after the social distancing rules were brought in place due to coronavirus. The effects of the restrictions has meant that many businesses have been unable to provide their customers in their usual way and many have needed assistance to move their business online. eBay promised $100 million for those wanting to open their own ecommerce stores through their platform as well as providing resources such as marketing and merchandising tools, shipping and payment assistance as well as the ability to customize their own space to enable customers to recognize the stores branding.
So far thousands of small businesses have signed up to Up & Running reaching over 180 million customers worldwide, with the program spreading into a further 25 countries.
The program is designed to provide much needed support – both short and long term – to small businesses that may otherwise become victims of the pandemic.
One of the key aspects of the support is the Seller School, an e-learning program that provides sellers with free access to assets such as interactive courses, which start from beginners level to more advanced levels. The platform also provides one-to-one coaching with long-term sellers as well as business coaches in specific areas.
With the holiday season coming up it is more important than ever to ensure that small businesses are able to put themselves in front of those wanting to spoil their loved ones at the end of one of the toughest years in this generation.
Experts were continuing to advise against all but essential travel over the Thanksgiving period and it is believed that this will also be the case for the festive season, meaning getting that perfect gift sent direct to a loved one’s home – especially the elderly or vulnerable – could be the best gift that eBay can provide this year.