Facebook has announced that it’s creating a $100 million grant programme for small businesses.
The initiative seeks to help 30,000 small businesses in over 30 countries where Facebook employees live and work. The applications aren’t open yet, however, the social networking firm says this will include both ad credits and cash grants that can be spent on operational costs like paying workers and paying rent.
The announcement came as multiple organisations across the globe implement remote working schemes to curtail the coronavirus outbreak.
In a statement, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said, “As the COVID-19 outbreak escalates, our focus has been on keeping people safe and informed by making sure everyone has accurate information, supporting global health experts and stopping misinformation. Our thoughts, like everyone’s, are with our loved ones and our communities and all of those impacted around the world.
“Small businesses are the heartbeat of our communities, and many of the people who run these businesses are heavily affected by the crisis – especially as more and more people sensibly stay home. The longer the crisis goes on, the greater the risk to small businesses and to the livelihoods of their owners and employees.
“We want to do more. Teams across our company are working every day to help businesses. We’re looking at additional ways to host virtual trainings – and will have more to share in the coming weeks – and we’re finding more ways to help people connect and learn to use technology through Blueprint, our free e-learning training programme,” she said
Ramez Shehadi, managing director for MENA, Facebook, said, “These are unprecedented times, making daily life challenging for us all across the Middle East and North Africa, and around the world. While so many essential measures are being put in place to keep everyone in our communities as safe as possible, this may also create additional challenges for small businesses in our region, the lifeblood of our economies, that often rely on active daily engagement with their local customers to survive. To help such small businesses everywhere during this difficult time, we at Facebook are creating a $100 million grant program to help 30,000 small businesses in over 30 countries where our employees live and work, to offer them vital support through this period of uncertainty when things are tough.”