Facebook Establishes a $100 Million Small Business Grant Program
For as much grief as Facebook often gets from regulators, politicians, and everyday citizens alike, the company has proven itself to be strong allies of small businesses nationwide and globally. Thus, in this time of unprecedented challenge to entrepreneurs, the social network is stepping up to help. Last week Facebook announced that it formed a new grant program that will give $100 million to small businesses.
As TechCrunch reports, the program will give up to 30,000 eligible small businesses cash grants as well as ad credits that can be used on the platform. Furthermore the businesses selected may come from any of the more than 30 countries where Facebook currently operates. With these funds, the company says business owners will be able to keep their workers employed, pay their rent, cover their operational costs, reach more customers, and more.
At this time Facebook has yet to announce further details about the program and has not opened the application process just yet. Nevertheless interested businesses can sign-up for updates by visiting the company’s Small Business Grant Program page. Facebooks says they anticipate accepting applications “in the coming weeks.”
In a statement posted to (where else?) Facebook, the company’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg wrote, “In recent weeks, we have seen inspiring examples of individuals and groups helping each other. People across the globe are stepping up, rising to the enormous challenge in front of us. We want to do our part too. Small businesses are the heartbeat of our communities, and many of the people who run these businesses are heavily affected by the crisis – especially as more and more people sensibly stay home. The longer the crisis goes on, the greater the risk to small businesses and to the livelihoods of their owners and employees.” Sandberg went on to say, “We’ve listened to small businesses to understand how we can best help them. We’ve heard loud and clear that financial support could enable them to keep the lights on and pay people who can’t come to work. That’s why today I’m announcing that Facebook is investing $100 million to help 30,000 small businesses in over 30 countries where our employees live and work.”
Beyond the grant announcement, Sandberg also noted Facebook’s small business resource page. There, entrepreneurs can find courses about how they can best leverage the Facebook and Instagram platforms to promote their businesses and connect with customers. Facebook expects to further build out this resource with “virtual training to support businesses operating in this new and unsettling environment,” according to Sandberg.
While it may be some time before America and the rest of the world are back to “business as usual,” hopefully the efforts now being made in Congress and by private companies such as Facebook can help small businesses stay afloat. Elsewhere, as we’ve already seen, it turns out that the often-maligned social media company can actually be beneficial during these trying times. With that in mind, whatever your view of Facebook may be in general, the company definitely deserves a “like” for this latest effort.