COVID-19 has unleashed a medical and economic tsunami upon the world. SMB Group’s Impact of COVID-19 on SMBs Study shows that businesses of all sizes are feeling the pain of the pandemic. But the situation has been particularly devastating for small businesses with fewer than 20 employees: 38% of these businesses report that COVID-19 is having an extremely negative impact on their businesses.
These small businesses supply many of the goods and services that we all rely on, both as consumers and as business buyers. From hair salons to dental practices, and from creative agencies to restaurants, we all depend on them every day.
That’s why it’s so gratifying to see big businesses step up to help their small business brethren. Many cloud software vendors are offering free access to their solutions, and creating content to help small businesses navigate through the crisis.
For instance, on March 26, 2020, Salesforce announced that it would provide free access to Salesforce Essentials and Tableau to small businesses. It also created a resource page for small businesses to provide relevant information and expertise.
Taking Small Business Support to the Next Level
As valuable as these measures are, however, many small businesses simply lack the cash flow and capital necessary to see them through an extended period of reduced or no sales. These very small companies—especially those in the hardest-hit industries—need financial support to make it through the crisis.
Congress has now passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act which, among other things, will provide $377 billion in new loans, loan forgiveness and grants to small businesses.
But many experts believe that small businesses will need much more to recover.
To do its part to help augment this, Salesforce has launched the Salesforce Care Small Business Grants program. The program is designed to provide small businesses with grants of $10,000 to help them to stay in business. Grant recipients can be used to pay salaries, buy supplies, or adjust their businesses to accommodate the new realities in their market or industry.
Grant applications and information about criteria to qualify for consideration for the grants will be available to U.S.-based businesses in mid-April, and Salesforce will follow up with information on financial support for international small businesses as well, for a total financial commitment of $5 million.
Salesforce kicked off the grant program with entrepreneur and investor Mark Cuban in a live conversation about how small business leaders can adapt and pivot during this period of uncertainty. Streamed live on April 8, the replay is available here.
Small businesses can learn more about Essential, Salesforce Care for Small Businesses, and sign up to get notified when applications for Salesforce Care Small Business Grants are available at salesforce.com/careforsmallbusiness.
There’s also a new LinkedIn public group that small businesses can join to network, connect, and learn about all the resources available to them.
There is no parallel in our lifetimes for what we’re experiencing now with COVID-19. The virus is taking a terrible toll on human life, and is challenging the human spirit. Many small business owners and employees need a lifeline to give them hope that they will survive this crisis and be able to ramp up their businesses again when it ends.
Salesforce is stepping up to address this problem with tools and financial resources to help give some of these small businesses the hope they need to survive now and thrive in the future. Hopefully, other large businesses will follow suit their own grant programs so that more of the small businesses we love and rely on will be here long after the virus is gone.
© SMB Group 2020
Source: Laurie McCabe’s Blog