Updated: Jun 2
Amid the global COVID-19 outbreak, Facebook has announced support towards small businesses, acknowledging the disruptions they will be facing as a result of the pandemic, affecting economies across the globe. The launch of the Small Business Grants Programme is specifically focused towards small businesses who have felt the effects the hardest over the past few months.
According to a recent survey by Goldman Sachs of over 1,500 small businesses, 51% will only be able to continue operations for another 0-3 months – with 96% saying they have been impacted by COVID-19.
Facebook has pledged $100 million in the form of cash grants as well as advertisement credits to eligible businesses. The programme will extend the grants to 30,000 eligible small businesses in more than 30 nations. To determine eligibility for the scheme, your business must fulfil four main requirements.
The business must:
Be made up of 2 – 50 employees
Have been established for more than one year
Have faced challenges due to COVID-19
Be located in a region and community where Facebook and its teams operate
Businesses are not required to be present on Facebook, Instagram or WhatsApp, to be considered eligible for the programme.
Chief Operating Officer (COO) Sheryl Sandberg stated in a Facebook post,
“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 goes on to write,
“We want to do more. Teams across our company are working every day to help businesses. We’re looking at additional ways to host virtual trainings – and will have more to share in the coming weeks – and we’re finding more ways to help people connect and learn to use technology through Blueprint, our free e-learning training program.”
The programme plans to help ease the economic burden of the current situation small business owners, many of whom have been heavily affected by the crisis. With no set timeline on when businesses can return to normality, the scheme can assist with keeping the workforce of businesses going for that bit longer. Along with this, aiding with costs such as rent and general operation charges – and the opportunity for businesses to interact with more clients and give support to local communities.
Considering Facebook raked in an enormous $71 billion solely in revenue last year, $100 million seems small in comparison. Nonetheless, wanting to do their part to contribute will have a tremendous impact on the businesses that successfully receive the grants. The organisation has created a website exclusively for the programme, which you can find here. The website also reveals which countries are still open to accepting applications.
In addition to the Small Business Grants Programme, Facebook has provided a range of extra resources that can help you manage your business through COVID-19, through the launch of the Business Resource Hub.
The Business Resource Hub presents extensive information, advice and tools on how business owners can stay resilient, manage their businesses, and navigate through this unprecedented time. It provides tailored guides to each industry – such as restaurants and bars, retail, and media and publishing, with specific advice and recommendations given on how the businesses can keep connected with their customers.
The five simple steps that Facebook recommends for businesses to take today are:
To keep yourself safe and updated from credible sources
Stay connected and communicate with your customers
Create an online presence for your business
Improve your customer service strategy
Provide a detailed list of frequently asked questions (FAQs)
The Business Resource Hub suggests alternative channels to keep businesses going as a way to respond to changing circumstances, like curbside pick-ups for clients to collect orders – or virtual consultations over video chat for personalised products. To ensure small business owners are equipped with the right tools to cope with the significant adjustments they will have had to make – such as adapting to remote working and virtual talent searching – the hub also features free training courses for free Facebook tools. The promotion of Facebook groups and pages such as Facebook for Business act to serve as a community of opportunities, tips and advice.
Other means of support from Facebook include direct access to accurate updates from credible sources, such as The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information Centre Facebook page. Users can follow for notifications from organisations such as the BBC news, the NHS and government departments for statistics and changes in government procedure or guidelines.
Find out more about the initiatives mentioned in this article:
Facebook Small Business Grants Programme: https://www.facebook.com/business/boost/grants
Facebook Business Resource Hub: https://www.facebook.com/business/resource
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information Centre: https://www.facebook.com/coronavirus_info/?page_source=coronavirus_business_resources
Facebook for Business: https://www.facebook.com/business