Facebook Grant Money To Prioritize SMBs Owned By Women, Minorities And Veterans

Facebook to award $20M in grants to businesses owned by women, minorities, veterans

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg announced Thursday (May 21) that the social media giant would be awarding $20 million to U.S. businesses owned by minorities, women and veterans, according to CNBC.

The giveaway is based on those groups often taking the worst brunt in crises like the coronavirus pandemic.

We know when crises hit the most vulnerable get hit the hardest,” Sandberg said, according to CNBC.

The money will come out of Facebook’s $100 million small business grant program. That program, announced last March, will start sending the money out within a few weeks, Sandberg said. There’s $40 million total being sent out to U.S. businesses, with half of it going to businesses owned by women, minorities and veterans.

The grant program was rolled out in mid-March just as the coronavirus was hitting U.S. shores in a big way. The idea, according to Sandberg, came about because small businesses are the “heartbeat of our communities” and the company wanted to offer assistance to companies to help with anything a business needed including rent, operations, communications and more.

The grants were available for up to 30,000 small businesses.

Facebook also looked to provide virtual training through its free e-learning program Blueprint, and it worked through its Facebook Journalism Project to fund coverage of the coronavirus.

Facebook also recently announced its Facebook Shops feature, which helps small businesses upload their product catalogs to Facebook and Instagram.

That feature was rolled out with a particular urgency because of the pandemic, which has shuttered storefronts and forced businesses to furlough employees while the virus remains a threat. With some of them not knowing how to roll out online stores, Facebook Shops aims to move that process along.

Users will be able to pick a template, colors and cover image, and then shoppers can utilize the site to browse and place orders. Shoppers will be able to do business without leaving the app or having to go to the business website.