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The COVID-19 global crisis has hit small businesses especially hard. They are the heart of our communities and we care deeply about the challenges they are facing in this crisis.
Today, we’re announcing a new effort to help small businesses access resources to help them recover and support their resilience — Salesforce Care Small Business Grants.
Salesforce will be offering Salesforce Care Small Business Grants of $10,000 to provide capital to help keep businesses afloat. These grants will support small businesses as they work to replenish materials, pay salaries, or adapt their business model to overcome these challenging times. The grant application will be available to US businesses in mid-April and we will be providing additional details on financial support to international small businesses in the near future, for a total financial commitment of $5 million.
Additionally, we’re already providing free access to Salesforce Essentials to help small businesses engage and support their customers remotely, as well as Tableau so they can quickly make data-driven decisions. Our resource page for small businesses features articles and webinars from small business experts that share inspiration and tools.
And we’re actively talking with our small business customers to hear how they’re handling this situation. Yesterday we chatted with Bitty & Beau’s Coffee owners Amy and Ben Wright. They started their company in 2016 with the hope of creating a purpose-driven business: to employ people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They were devastated to close all five of their coffee shops and lay off all their employees last month. “The majority of our employees, 120 of them, for them it’s their first job ever working at Bitty and Beau’s Coffee — so to have the excitement and the ability to start saving and planning for their futures and then have to put all that on hold has been a scary time for everybody,” Amy shared.
Now the Wrights are trying to recreate their store experience online so customers can still purchase coffee and merchandise as well as interact with staff — every online order comes with a handwritten note — and they’ve doubled down on social media and their newsletter to stay connected to their customers.
Ben’s advice to other small businesses trying to weather the storm: “The 3 C’s are: communicate, communicate, and communicate — and I don’t just mean with your customers. I mean with your employees, with your vendors, your suppliers — everybody. Everybody is in the same boat, everybody’s figuring this out, and you’re not always going to have the right answers or even a good answer, but just letting people know what you are trying to do. There is light at the end of the tunnel.”
We know that small businesses can be some of the most innovative and resilient trailblazers, and we encourage everyone to support the small businesses in their neighborhood by buying gift cards, ordering curbside or takeout, and sharing your favorite small businesses on social media with the hashtag #SmallBizLove to spread the word. To support Bitty & Beau’s Coffee as they deal with COVID-19, Salesforce committed to purchasing $50,000 in merchandise. Please consider making a purchase of your own here: https://www.bittyandbeauscoffee.com/shop/
To hear more about the grant program, join us for a special live conversation this morning at 9am PT with entrepreneur and investor Mark Cuban on how small business leaders can adapt and pivot during this period of uncertainty.
- Please visit salesforce.com/careforsmallbusiness to learn more about Essentials and our Salesforce Care for Small Business resources. You can sign up to be notified when we open applications for Salesforce Care Small Business Grants.