Vital Resources for Small Businesses During the Coronavirus Pandemic
As a platform business that connects commercial supply and commercial demand, Alibaba.com identified and organized high-quality suppliers of masks under a single online destination to make it easier for healthcare systems and relevant global government to source these items and help meet the urgent need for them.
This is an effort to connect large-scale commercial demand with suppliers that have masks in stock. In an effort to ensure these critical items are used by frontline personnel and patients where they are needed the most, before buyers are allowed to place orders, they will be required to affirm that the products purchased will be directed only to healthcare organizations or relevant government authorities.
Alibaba.com will also make every effort to facilitate expedited logistics to speed deliveries.
Bank of America
Last month Bank of America committed $100 million to support local communities in need as the world faces unprecedented challenges from the coronavirus. The funds will help increase medical response capacity, address food insecurity, increase access to learning as a result of school closures, and provide support to the world’s most vulnerable populations.
“We must all work together as one global community—public and private sectors, as well as individuals—to address this healthcare and humanitarian crisis,” says Brian Moynihan, chairman and CEO of Bank of America. “As the needs in our local communities continue to rapidly escalate, we must take swift action to provide resources where there are gaps, and help local communities protect their most vulnerable populations.”
The majority of Bank of America’s funds will be distributed on the ground in local markets, focused on both immediate needs facing local communities and providing ongoing support in the months ahead. The company will also increase funding to several national and global organizations that are on the front lines, tackling the most pressing issues in local communities.
Moynihan adds, “Building on the efforts of local, state and international governments, we are focusing our resources on the number one priority—looking after people.”
Bill.com recently announced its plans to help small businesses coping with hardships from the COVID-19 pandemic. The company will:
- Waive the first three months of subscription fees for new customers experiencing a significant decline in revenue as a result of COVID-19
- Extend support and service hours and resources to help those dealing with different schedules as they balance work and home life remotely; and
- Donate to GoFundMe’s Small Business Relief Initiative.
“As a fourth generation entrepreneur, I have experienced indirectly and firsthand the challenges of navigating a small business through such uncertain economic times. Add in the health concern for your employees and the complexity of transitioning them to work from home and the impact of COVID-19 is hard to fathom. At Bill.com we want to do whatever we can to help businesses,” says René Lacerte, company founder and CEO. Lacerte offers his perspective on the company blog.
Facebook launched a small business grant program, introduced a new gift cards feature and expanded their fundraising to include small businesses. After seeing that 96% of U.S. small-business owners were already feeling the impact of coronavirus, they issued updates to the initial programs. Here are the details:
Grants for Small Businesses
- Facebook will be giving $40M to small businesses in the U.S. alone, which will provide grants to 10,000 small businesses in 34 locations.
- Businesses can go to facebook.com/grantsforbusiness to check eligibility and get more details on the program.
Gift Cards from Local Businesses
- Facebook launched a place for consumers to discover digital gift cards for their favorite local restaurants and businesses. Businesses who are interested in creating digital gift cards can visit this link to learn how to sign up. Instagram is also working on offering gift cards.
Expanding Personal Fundraising to Small Businesses Owners
- They introduced a new way for people to support businesses in their communities using Facebook Fundraising tools. This means business owners can now create a personal fundraiser on Facebook for their businesses and ask their loyal customers for support during this critical time.
Communicating Temporary Service Changes to Customers
- Facebook made it easier for businesses that have been impacted by the coronavirus to communicate service changes to their customers through their Facebook Page including online services, delivery, pickup and other changes.
There are more details in Sheryl Sandberg’s Facebook post.
Intuit QuickBooks & GoFundMe
The impact COVID-19 is having on the health of small businesses across the country is undeniable, with many businesses’ livelihoods being impacted by cash flow issues as they are either forced to close or facing decreased business. With this new reality, people are looking for ways to support and help the small businesses that are not only the backbone of the economy but the communities we live in, which is why Intuit QuickBooks and GoFundMe are teaming up with other partners to create a fund that will make a direct impact on small businesses’ livelihoods in this challenging time.
Intuit QuickBooks and GoFundMe cofounded the Small Business Relief Initiative to help small businesses raise money to overcome the challenges caused by the coronavirus. The Initiative is designed to get money in the hands of small businesses struggling to pay employees and business expenses due to COVID-19.
Intuit QuickBooks’ EVP and GM, Alex Chriss, says, “Small businesses need relief today to manage their cash flow. By joining forces with GoFundMe, we can connect millions of small businesses and their local communities. We’re helping to give the community a platform to quickly put cash in the hands of small businesses who need it the most.”
Intuit QuickBooks Small Business Help site: QuickBooks is providing their network of seven million small businesses with a tools and resources site that directs users to either start their own fundraiser or support an existing one. By embedding the initiative in QuickBooks, small businesses are connected directly to a method of fundraising should they need it. From there, small businesses can share their story and request help covering employee-related and business expenses. Then everyone can search the Relief Initiative site to find small businesses in need and donate directly to them.
GoFundMe.org Small Business Relief Fund: People can donate to the Small Business Relief Fund to support the overall initiative. Until the fund is depleted, donations to the relief fund will be paid out as one-time $500 matching grants to qualifying small businesses that created a fundraiser through the Small Business Relief Initiative or already had an existing GoFundMe. For fundraisers started prior to this announcement or outside of this partnership, the organizer can update their fundraiser description with the hashtag #SmallBusinessRelief to receive an email explaining how they can apply for a grant from the Small Business Relief Fund.
GoFundMe Centralized Fundraiser Hub for Small Businesses: For people looking to support and donate to a local business, GoFundMe has created a new small business centralized hub that identifies verified fundraisers that people can search by business name or location. Fundraisers started through the Small Business Relief Initiative and those created prior to this announcement will be included in the hub.
Kabbage Inc. is collaborating with Facebook to help local small businesses generate more revenue during the COVID-19 crisis by connecting them with local customers. With technology from Kabbage and the accessibility of Facebook, the integration gives small businesses the means to offer online gift certificates to local consumers who are seeking to support their communities through the Facebook app.
Small businesses can sign up on Help Small Business to sell online gift certificates through Kabbage Payments and choose to automatically list them on Facebook. They can discover more ways to support their business through Facebook’s Business Resource Hub
Facebook will surface gift-certificate offers from participating local businesses to people on the Facebook mobile app. People can then purchase gift certificates from Kabbage’s Help Small Business site and may redeem products or services that day or later, whenever it’s best for the business. All sales generated from gift certificate sales provided by Kabbage are deposited the next business day.*
“Now with the powerful reach of Facebook, small business owners have greater opportunity to share gift certificate offers to the communities that rely upon them,” says Kabbage CEO Rob Frohwein. “Small businesses are the most impacted in this crisis and this is one way Kabbage is applying its technology and resources to save them.”
Read more about gift cards on Facebook, here.
*Transactions that are processed by 5 p.m. ET will be deposited in your bank account the following banking day. Any transactions that are processed after 5 p.m. ET will be deposited in your bank account within two banking days. Settlement to your bank account may be delayed if transactions are flagged for review.
The Visa Foundation announced two programs equaling $210 million to support small and micro businesses, aligning with the Foundation’s long-term focus on women’s economic advancement and inclusive economic development, and to address an urgent need from local communities following the spread of COVID-19.
The first program of $10 million is designated for immediate emergency relief to support charitable organizations on the frontlines responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as public health and food relief, in each of the five geographic regions in which Visa operates: North America; Latin America and the Caribbean; Europe; Asia Pacific; and Central Europe, Middle East and Africa.
“As COVID-19 continues to unfold, communities are feeling the effects and need our immediate support,” says Al Kelly, CEO and chairman of Visa. “As a global company that operates a very local business, we recognize this need. We’re also committed to the long-term recovery and will continue to explore ways we can accelerate economic activity in line with our mission to help individuals, businesses and economies thrive.”
The second program is a five-year, strategic $200 million commitment to support small and micro businesses around the world, with a focus on fostering women’s economic advancement. This action expands the Visa Foundation’s long-standing support for small and micro businesses globally. The funds from the Visa Foundation will provide capital to non-government organizations (NGOs) and investment partners supporting small and micro businesses.
Small and micro businesses are the backbone of the global economy, accounting for more than 90 percent of worldwide businesses and contributing 50 to 60 percent of global employment.[i] There is a $300 billion annual credit deficit in funding for women-owned small and micro businesses, which is expected to grow given the recent economic turmoil unfolding due to COVID-19.[ii]
“Now more than ever, we must accelerate our support for small businesses on the frontlines driving economic growth,” says Kelly. “As many small and micro business owners are women, there will be a ripple effect supporting women’s economic advancement, which we believe is one of the most important ways to achieve gender equality, reduce poverty and foster inclusive economic development.”
Through the $200 million small and micro business program, the Visa Foundation will provide $60 million in grants to NGOs dedicated to supporting small and micro business owners, many of whom are women, in every region where Visa operates. The Visa Foundation will also allocate $140 million with investment partners that generate positive social and financial returns for small and micro businesses.
“Two hundred million dollars in new financial resources demonstrates our continuing commitment to support small and micro businesses, with a focus on women’s economic advancement globally” says Graham Macmillan, President of the Visa Foundation. “When women thrive, communities thrive. We know this matters now more than ever as the global economy seeks to recover and rebuild.”
Womply & FundRocket
Womply, a local commerce company serving small businesses and app developers, recently launched Stimulus 2020, a website that provides American businesses owners with access to capital, free software, and information resources to help them navigate changes due to coronavirus.
No Cost Capital
Any U.S. business can receive a no-fee, no-interest $1,000 capital offer through Stimulus 2020 capital partner FundRocket. To qualify for the capital offer, a business only needs to verify a legitimate business bank account. There is no credit check or collateral requirement, and all businesses will be approved as long as they aren’t suspicious or predatory in nature. Once the business is validated, the $1,000 capital offer is sent immediately via ACH and is typically available for use within one business day.
The capital has no restrictions and can be used for any business purpose, including paying bills, purchasing inventory or supplies, investing in marketing, or paying employees. Repayment terms are flexible and based on a percentage of business sales, with a cap at $100 per week. If businesses are closed or don’t generate any sales, they pay nothing. Businesses who accept the capital offer will never pay back more than $1000.
Businesses that already have a Womply account are also eligible for the capital offer and can take advantage of it by connecting a verified business bank account and emailing Womply at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Womply, which serves over 450,000 local businesses, has created a new free version of its software to help businesses monitor their business performance and benchmark themselves against similar businesses nearby. This will provide businesses with critical market intelligence during this crisis. Womply will add additional resources as other companies make them available to local businesses.
“Local businesses are the lifeblood of the U.S. economy, and they’re especially vulnerable to the softening economy,” says Womply CEO Toby Scammell. “Our mission is to help local businesses thrive, and we can’t think of a better way to do that in our uncertain economy than by offering no-fee capital and free access to business and market insights.”
Womply is providing real time updates on information that affects local businesses including other offers that support local businesses, government announcements, and government tax and stimulus programs. Businesses can sign up for a free Womply account here.
Small Business Emergency Subscription Assistance Program
Zoho Corporation, a global company that offers the most comprehensive suite of business software applications in the industry, recently launched its Small Business Emergency Subscription Assistance Program (ESAP) to help Zoho customers worldwide weather this global pandemic. For up to 20,000 qualified paying Zoho customers with 25 employees or less, Zoho is waiving the cost of every single application they current use, for up to 3 months.
“Businesses are hurting. They already face tremendous pressure on revenue and cash flows. Not knowing when things will get back to normal is even worse,” says Sridhar Vembu, Zoho cofounder and CEO. “Every bit of help we, and other companies, can offer to keep these small businesses afloat will go a long way, not just financially but emotionally as well. We are in this together, and contributions from every business help our community get through this pandemic.”
Zoho, a 24-year-old, bootstrapped, privately-held company with more than 50 million users located in over 180 countries, believes that for the broader economy to stay healthy, SMBs must first stay healthy and viable. ESAP is intended to lighten the financial burden put upon our small business customers during this chaotic and difficult period.
“Certain industries have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, and we strongly encourage our customers in these industries to apply for this Small Business Emergency Subscription Assistance Program,” says Vembu. “While we want to provide relief for as many small business customers as possible, we will prioritize those who are most in need and hope that others who are adapting to market conditions will help us by allowing program availability to those struggling to stay afloat.”
In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, SCORE, the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors, launched the Coronavirus Small Business Resource Center, a central hub of up-to-date information and best practices for small businesses. The completely free resource center includes financial support resources, live and on-demand educational content and access to remote mentoring.
“We understand that this is a very unsettling and uncertain time for small business owners, which is why it’s critical that they have access to the resources and support they need to navigate the unprecedented crisis brought on by COVID-19,” says Bridget Weston, CEO at SCORE. “Our new, free resource hub ensures that the most helpful COVID-19 small business resources are easily accessible to the entrepreneurs who need them. In addition, our 10,000 experienced business mentors are standing by, ready to assist small business owners, safely and remotely, every step of the way.”
The Coronavirus Small Business Resource Center provides a hub of specialized materials that will be continuously updated to support and assist small business owners as the situation evolves. Resources include:
- Original audio, visual and print content focused specifically on small business resilience, financial support and small business owner mental health
- Access to live webinars and online workshops
- Coronavirus government resources for small businesses
- The opportunity to request a remote, free expert business mentor
Help With EIDL Application
The SBA and SBA lenders have been flooded with applications and so far, small business owners have been proactive and filing applications as soon as possible. If you are able to apply for the EIDL directly through the SBA website, you should do so as soon as possible. If you’d like some assistance in the process, you can work with an SBA loan packager, such as CorpNet.
CorpNet can assist any small business owner as a third-party consultant SBA loan packaging service and submit a small business owner’s application on their behalf for the Economic Injury Disaster Relief Loan (EIDL) program and the Economic Injury Disaster $10,000 Loan (EIDL) Advance for a minimal service fee of $349.00.
CorpNet can also assist any small business owner as a third-party consultant SBA loan packaging service and submit a small business owner’s application on their behalf for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Disaster Relief Loan at no cost.
No one (including CorpNet) can guarantee you loan approval or funds and processing time is still at the mercy of the government processing your application along with thousands or millions of others. According to the SBA, funds will be made available following a successful application. You should expect a wait of several business days for funding of the $10,000 advance to be direct deposited into the banking information provided from the U.S. Dept. of Treasury and 4-6 weeks processing time for actual funding of your loan unless further information has been requested by an SBA loan processor.
Read more on how CorpNet Helps Businesses File for Coronavirus Relief.
Wedding Industry Help
The wedding industry has been significantly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic—many have had to be postponed. The Knot, which serves the industry in numerous ways, has created a WeddingPro Vendor Assistance Program aimed at helping the many small businesses that make up the wedding industry. Tim Chi, the CEO of The Knot Worldwide shared the details of the program:
1—Financial Assistance. They established a $10 million program to assist their local advertising partners impacted by the pandemic with advertising payments.
2— Resources. Connect with educators. Get access to new webinars, articles and videos coming out every day.
3— Assistance For Small Businesses. Decode the different types of assistance available to help small businesses during COVID-19, starting with government programs. For each, you’ll learn who is eligible, what is available, how to take advantage, and some helpful tips.