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Due to the recent outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, many companies worldwide have closed up shop. What this will mean for the global economy remains unclear but one thing is certain; many small businesses are struggling. Small businesses are the cornerstone of a healthy economy, yet in times of crisis they find themselves on the front line. While not working, it is difficult-to-impossible for small business owners to pay their workers and still make rent. Facebook CEO, Sheryl Sandberg, posted, “small businesses are the heartbeat of their communities. We are determined to help and we know the road ahead will require a lot more from all of us.”
In response, Facebook has created a grant program to benefit small, for-profit businesses, with 2-50 employees that have been in business for more than one year. Businesses must have been affected by the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. Special priority will be given to businesses owned and operated by women and minorities. Facebook has committed to granting $100 million to 30,000 different small businesses in 30+ countries across the globe. $40 million has been earmarked for businesses within the United States. Applications for grants in Seattle, New York, and the San Francisco Bay Area are available now. All other available cities within the United States will be eligible to apply beginning 22 April, with international applications available later. Click here to find out more about the program, see if your area is eligible, and learn when non-US businesses can apply.
As part of its commitment to support small businesses, Facebook has also launched new tools. They make it easier than ever to sell gift cards through social media and crowdsource fundraisers for local businesses. They have also recently launched a business resource hub to support with, “managing through and building resilience during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.” This resource is full of expert advice, ideas for growth, and community support for business owners in the face of this modern challenge.
Facebook is not alone in its desire to keep small businesses thriving through uncertain times. Major players including Salesforce and Verizon and many more have stepped up and offered grant programs to keep the economy rolling as we strive to flatten the curve. Check out the opportunities here to see if your business might be eligible for some extra dollars. If you are able to get some grant funding through the door, this might be an ideal moment to upgrade and redesign your website, while business is slow.
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