Facebook wants to help small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) survive the coronavirus pandemic, and is offering $100 million in grants to 30,000 companies in over 30 countries.
Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, said on her page and in a blog post on Tuesday (March 17) that the social media giant wants to “do our part” to help with the “enormous challenge in front of us.”
To that end, the company is extending a total of $100 million in cash, as well as credits for advertising, to a maximum of 30,000 eligible small businesses. Facebook has also opened a special hub to help SMBs during the pandemic, and is planning virtual training through Blueprint, its free e-learning training program. The company’s goal is to assist companies “in this new and unsettling environment.”
Applications will be available soon and additional details will be forthcoming. People can sign up for update alerts.
“Small businesses are the heartbeat of our communities, and many of the people who run these businesses are heavily affected by the crisis,” Sandberg said. “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.”
The grant program will help businesses with any number of issues – rent, operations, communications – and Facebook’s business hub has resources available now. Businesses can access tips on communicating with customers during the pandemic, a resilience toolkit and a “quick action guide.”
“Whatever happens next, we will be working to help businesses weather this storm. Please keep safe and look out for those around you,” Sandberg said.
Facebook’s Head of Health Kang-Xing Jin said in a blog post that Facebook is also supporting COVID-19 fact-checkers with a $1 million grant, in partnership with the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN). The funds will be used to launch a program to increase capacity during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Facebook Journalism Project is also offering $1 million in grants to news organizations covering COVID-19 in the U.S. and Canada, and has teamed up with the Lenfest Institute for Journalism and the Local Media Association.
On Monday (March 16), the U.S. Federal Reserve said that it’s ready to deploy its “full range of tools” to help households and businesses during the coronavirus crisis and stay on top of employment and price stability targets.