Lots of small businesses leverage Facebook to engage and advertise with customers. We caught up with representatives from Facebook to get the details on their small business grant program and how this is going to affect Boston area businesses. Plus, our Q&A shares other new initiatives which are aimed at helping out small businesses.
Q: What is Facebook's small business grant program and what does this mean for Boston area small businesses?
A: Small businesses are the heartbeat of our communities, and many of the people who run these businesses are heavily affected by the COVID-19 crisis – especially as more and more people sensibly stay home. 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. In fact, we saw that 96% of US small-business owners were already feeling the impact of coronavirus.
That’s why Facebook created the small business grant program, investing $100 million to help 30,000 small businesses in over 30 countries where our employees live and work. We recently shared new updates to our small business grant program in the US, as well as introduced a new gift cards feature and expanded fundraising to include small businesses.
We are excited to share that the Boston area will be awarded $625K of grants for small businesses. Applications are open on Wednesday, April 22 for the next two weeks.
Q: What are the high-level requirements to be eligible and what can the funds be used for?
A: To be eligible to apply, you must:
- Be a for-profit company
- Have between 2 and 50 employees
- Have been in business for over a year
- Have experienced challenges from COVID-19
- Be in or near a location where Facebook operates
Q: What are you doing to support eligible minority and women-owned businesses?
A: We’re placing special emphasis on investing in eligible minority and women-owned businesses. As our Global Chief Diversity Officer, Maxine Williams said, “Within our overall US SMB grant investment, we are prioritizing 50% of grants to eligible minority, women and veteran-owned businesses due to the disproportionate negative impact that COVID-19 will have on these businesses, their employees, and the communities that they serve.”
Q: Are there any other initiatives from Facebook that are helping out small businesses?
A: Yes, along with our small business grant program we are focusing on three main initiatives:
- Gift Cards from Local Businesses: We are introducing a place for people to discover digital gift cards for their favorite local U.S. restaurants and businesses. This experience is rolling out in the U.S. this week, and will be available broadly across the US in the coming weeks. Businesses who are interested in creating digital gift cards can visit this link to learn how to sign up with one of our partners. Instagram is also working on offering gift cards.
- Expanding Personal Fundraising to Small Businesses Owners: We’re introducing a new way people can support businesses in their communities using Facebook Fundraising tools. This means business owners can now create a personal fundraiser on Facebook for their business and ask their loyal customers for support during this critical time.
- Communicating Temporary Service Changes to Customers: We are also making it easier to help businesses who have been impacted to COVID-19 communicate service changes to their customers through their Facebook Page including Online Services, Delivery, Pickup and Other Changes. This means that businesses that have shifted how they operate - like fitness studios offering virtual classes - can easily indicate those changes to customers.
Q: How do businesses apply and when is the deadline?