Walmart, eBay Help SMBs Weather the Pandemic
Walmart is helping to provide financial relief during the pandemic to minority- and female-led small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), part of a broader effort from microfinance non-profit Kiva.
The retailer has joined the push by donating proceeds from face mask sales to the global fund, while additional contributions have come from other retail operations such as eBay, as well as hundreds of thousands of individuals. The effort also includes the celebrity power of “Modern Family” actress Sofia Vergara.
To date, the fund has raised and disbursed over $60 million to more than 70,000 marginalized SMBs globally, according to a Kiva spokesperson. The fund is ongoing, and business owners can continue to apply for these 0% interest loans, which are disbursed immediately — sometimes same-day, within a week for others.
“We launched the fund to accelerate necessary loans required to support entrepreneurs and small business owners affected by the coronavirus pandemic, who traditionally struggle to get the support they need from governments and other financial institutions,” said Neville Crawley, Kiva’s CEO.
The work highlights the increasing role of digitally-oriented microfinance providers and the work of larger retailers to make sure smaller operations — including the supply chain — stay afloat during the pandemic.
Lowe’s, for instance, recently committed another $25 million to its small-business grant program with Local Initiatives Support Corp. — doubling its initial commitment. It has also donated $5 million more to its minority small-business program for a total of $30 million.
And earlier this year Sam’s Club said it would donate $1 million to a national non-profit organization that provides financing to small businesses – one of the latest ways that food retailers are trying to offset the massive economic damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The members-only retailer said those donations could ultimately help small businesses that buy from Sam’s Club to at least stay on their feet until the economy starts to reopen. Many businesses source food and related supplies from Sam’s Club, which, of course, also sells food to individual consumers.