How Corporate Giants and Other Companies Are Helping Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19
Small businesses are being hit hard with mandatory closures and other strict measures, as cities move swiftly to slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). An entire sector of the economy is being crippled, as revenue streams dry up and operating expense can't be met.
The federal government has already rolled out several relief programs to assist these struggling businesses. Meanwhile, private companies and non-profits are also pitching in to help.
The following is a list of private-sector programs for small businesses impacted by COVID-19:
Facebook Business Grant Program
Facebook is offering $100 million in cash grants and free ad credits to businesses that have experienced disruptions due to COVID-19. The goal of the grant program is to help business owners pay rent, cover operational costs, support employees and connect with customers. To learn more about this program, visit Facebook.com.
Amazon Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund
Amazon is offering $5 million in cash grants to Seattle-area small businesses that need help getting through the economic challenges related to COVID-19. Amazon is also offering to subsidize two full months of rent for the tenants in the buildings they own. To learn more, visit Amazon.com.
Google Enables Productivity for Remote Users
Through its philanthropic arm Google.org, they are committing $50 million to the global COVID-19 response, focusing on health and science, access to educational resources and small business support. They will also be allowing all G Suite users free access to premium features of Meet, their video-conferencing app until July, 2020, as well as tips and resources for remote workers of all kinds. To learn more, visit Google.org.
Yelp Relief for Affected Small Businesses
Yelp is offering $25 million of relief in the form of waived advertising fees and free advertising to independent local businesses affected by COVID-19. Yelp is also offering a new functionality to indicate if a business offers virtual services, classes, consulting or performances. As part of this relief effort, Yelp has a special program just for restaurants and nightlife businesses that includes free access to page upgrades and Yelp reservations, as well as new features to indicate if they're open for delivery or take-out. To learn more, visit Yelp.com.
Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks and King County COVID-19 Response Fund
Microsoft, Amazon and Starbucks, in coordination with King County and the City of Seattle, are launching a relief program for community-based organizations in the Puget Sound of Washington. Part of this relief will be in the form of one-time operating grants. Microsoft and Amazon are both making an initial $1 million anchor donation to help launch this effort and Starbucks has pledged $250,000. To learn more, visit The Seattle Foundation.
Microsoft's 'Freemium' Version of Teams
Microsoft is encouraging small businesses and their employees to work at home as much as possible. With this in mind, they are making Microsoft Teams, their workplace communications and collaboration platform, available to all Office 360 users at no charge. Those using an email address through work or school can get started by signing in using this link. Those using an email address like Gmail or Outlook can get started by following this link.
PandaDoc Launches Free E-signature Plan
The document automation software company is helping small and medium-sized businesses by launching a free e-signature plan to help keep businesses running while they switch to remote working. This program includes unlimited document uploads, unlimited e-signatures and payment processing. To learn more, visit PandaDoc.com.
Kabbage Gift Certificates to Support Small Business
Kabbage has launched a program that allows individuals to buy gift certificates from small businesses that can be redeemed after the pandemic subsides. Any business can sign up for free, send a custom link to their customers and the revenue generated by gift card sales will be deposited in their account the next business day. To learn more, Kabbage.com.
MainVest's Main Street Initiative
Crowdfunding platform MainVest announced that businesses impacted by the coronavirus outbreak may be eligible to immediately receive a zero-interest $2,000 loan when they start a capital raise. Businesses can raise over $100,000 of investment from their community. To learn more, visit MainVest.com.
Bounce Back USA Initiative by Minuteman Press
Bounce Back USA is built to support local businesses across the U.S. and encourage safety within the communities they serve. The initiative, created by MinuteMan Press, provides free local advertising to small businesses via the Bounce Back USA website as well as free “COVID-19 Awareness and Prevention” posters for businesses to display. To learn more, visit www.BounceBackUSA.com.
Banks and Credit Card Companies
Many major banks including Wells Fargo, Citi, JP Morgan and Capital One have announced they are willing to work with customers who are having financial difficulties during this time. Many have also announced they will waive late fees and other penalties. In addition, Wells Fargo announced it will donate $6.25 million and JP Morgan has pledged $50 million to help public relief efforts.
Telecom and Utility Companies Give Customers a Break
Many utility and telecom companies are easing shutoffs and waiving late fees to assist cash-strapped individuals and businesses. Comcast is offering free WiFi to everyone through its Xfinity hotspots and unlimited date to account holders at no extra charge. Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and other local utility companies are suspending disconnections and waiving late fees. AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile are also suspending service terminations and waiving late fees.
In general, many companies are offering their own programs to help those who have been impacted by COVID-19. This list of private sector small business resources will be updated as more resources become available. Small business can also take advantage of federal programs, such as SBA disaster loans, as well as state and local programs.