Amazon Reveals Small Business Academy Educational Initiative
It looks as though Amazon is once again showing its dedication to small business owners and attempting to aid in their success. Recently the online marketplace announced the launch of the Amazon Small Business Academy. This initiative will include webinars and in-person seminars focused on how entrepreneurs can leverage the Internet to grow their brand and sales. The first Amazon Small Business Academy session was held in Southaven, Mississippi last week and featured Senator Roger F. Wicker as a guest speaker. Next on the calendar is an event planned for December of this year followed by many more to come in 2020.
Beyond these events, Amazon’s Small Business Academy initiative also includes a grant to the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) that will help the two organizations collaborate on digital business course curriculum for U.S. community colleges. Among the colleges that will offer these courses starting in February of next year are Lorain County Community College of Ohio, North Idaho College, Boston’s Bunker Hill Community College, Houston Community College, and more. Commenting on the roll-out of this curriculum, NACCE president and CEO Rebecca Corbin, Ed.D said, “We’re thrilled to embark on this innovative program with Amazon. Community colleges provide valuable content and programming for both aspiring and current small business owners. This Amazon grant will help NACCE and the schools foster the next generation of businesses to power the U.S. economy.”
In a statement speaking to the need for this new set of programs, Amazon VP of Small Business Nicholas Denissen said, “Small businesses make up 99.9% of U.S. businesses, employ almost 60 million people, and are the backbone of our economy. We’ve heard from many of them that they want help and guidance to take advantage of the power of the internet and digital business, particularly in rural areas.” He continued, “Amazon Small Business Academy is focused on accelerating small business’ digital capabilities, whether they are a brand new company or one that has been in business for generations.”
The debut of Amazon Small Business Academy follows the e-retail giant’s previous efforts to prove themselves as an ally to smaller businesses. Most recently the company announced its first annual Small Business Awards, honoring entrepreneurs in three categories: Small Business of the Year, Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year, and Small Business Owner Under 30 of the Year. While nominations for those awards closed last month, the six finalists in each category are now listed on the Amazon Small Business Awards page, with voting open until November 8th.
It’s clear that Amazon really wants you to know that they’re not the enemy of small business that they’re sometimes portrayed as. Setting that aside, what’s been announced Amazon Small Business Academy does sound like a good thing for entrepreneurs looking to learn to the online ropes. Of course it will be interesting to see how much of the content included revolves around Amazon themselves but, in the meantime, the site at least deserves some credit for trying to make a positive impact.