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The last few months have been unfathomably hard for small businesses. Many have had to make difficult decisions and were pushed to the brink. As a team focused on helping small businesses, we knew we had to do something. Today we’re thrilled to announce the recipients of our Salesforce Care Small Business Grants to help small business owners get back to business.
Our Grant Recipients
To implement our U.S. grant program, we partnered with Ureeka, a community that connects small businesses with tools, mentors and resources to help them grow and thrive. Our mission? To provide $10,000 grants to 300 U.S. small businesses, totaling $3 million, to help them adjust to a new normal and adapt their business models.
With Equality as one of our core values, we wanted to make sure our grant recipients reflected the communities where we live and work. Ninety percent of our recipients are businesses led by a person from an underrepresented group, including women, racial minorities, veterans, LGBTQ+ and people with disabilities. It was critical to us that our grant recipients reflected not only the diversity of our communities, but also the underrepresented populations who historically have had less access to critical resources like human, financial and social capital. All funds have been distributed to grant recipients in hopes of relieving immediate burdens and in some cases, giving business owners the ability to bring staff back on as soon as possible.
We received more than 7,000 applications from all 50 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. Applications came from more than 12 industries, including professional services, healthcare and hospitality. We were moved and in awe of the dedication and resilience these entrepreneurs displayed, as well as their commitment to their communities.
Some trends we saw in the small business community include:
- Most hospitality businesses, especially those tailored to large-scale events, will take much longer to get back to normal, and will need a longer runway to survive.
- Restaurants and bakeries like Farina Baking Company, which rely on corporate events and weddings, have since shifted to mini wedding packages to adapt to a new normal. Other restaurants have tried shifting to offerings like virtual bartending classes, but their take-out and pick-up traffic does not cover high rent costs.
- Businesses in healthcare, like dentists, chiropractors and physical therapists, suddenly have an additional cost to provide personal protective equipment to their staff and patients that insurance will not reimburse. Most are only seeing emergency patients, so workload has decreased considerably.
- Critical community services provided by businesses like Hana Adult Day Care, which offers care, food and activities to the local senior community in Brooklyn, have been reliant on donations.
- Professional services are facing decreased business but hope to use this time to reinvest in virtual offerings. For example, DC-based Tungsten Prep offers tutoring to kids who are often the first in their family on their way to college. The tutors, who are 90% women and minorities, with a majority in school for their PhD, serve as role models in STEM fields for the students. They’re working to reimagine what tutoring and mentorship looks like in a more virtual and remote world.
You can visit our blog post here for a snapshot of some of the incredible small business owners we got to meet.
All grant recipients and applicants will have access to free workshops and coaching from Ureeka on topics ranging from Understanding Your Financial Options and Building a Pitch Deck, to Leveraging the Internet for New Customers. And, any small business working with Ureeka can take advantage of their mentorship program, to which over 80 Salesforce employees have committed to provide over 300 hours of mentoring and personalized support.
Our appreciation goes out to the courageous small business leaders that make our communities lively, vibrant places to live. We hope they are able to come out of this pandemic stronger, and we hope we can support them along the way. We also encourage readers to look to your own communities to find other small businesses close to your home to support. And remember to share your favorite small businesses with our hashtag #favesmallbiz. You can find our Salesforce Care for Small Business resources here.