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eBay Is Offering $500,000 in Grants to Small Businesses as COVID-19 Resurgence Threatens Retail

eBay is launching a new initiative to aid small businesses amid the prospect of renewed lockdowns due to a sharp rise in the number of COVID-19 cases across the United States.

The online marketplace announced today that it has committed $500,000 in funding and education resources for existing business sellers. Dubbed the Up & Running Grants, the program is providing 50 merchants with a package of $8,000 in cash and $2,000 worth of eBay credits for a total of $10,000 in financial support.

The San Jose, Calif.-based online giant partnered with business accelerator Hello Alice to launch the grants program application as well as offer mentorship and peer-to-peer networking to all sellers who apply, even if they aren’t chosen for a grant. What’s more, recipients will get access to training and coaching from expert sellers in the company’s network plus its own eBay Growth Advisors.

“Small businesses are the backbone of eBay, as well as the engine of jobs, progress and prosperity for communities across the U.S.,” said Jordan Sweetnam, GM and SVP of eBay’s North America division. “In such a challenging year, it was important for this program to provide a financial bridge and long-term support so small businesses can keep their doors open today and lay the groundwork for future success.”

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Starting today through Dec. 11, small businesses that sell on eBay are encouraged to apply for the grants via an online application. They will be asked to share details of their offerings, as well as how they plan to use the grant to expand their businesses.

The grants and new resources eBay announced today are as an expansion of its Up & Running accelerator program, which it launched in April shortly after the novel coronavirus took hold in the United States. The initiative was designed to help North America-based small businesses without an e-commerce presence with their transition to selling online. At the time, the company pledged up to $100 million in support of the program in addition to offering sellers a basic eBay store at no cost for three months and the ability to sell up to 500 items for free.

Since the onset of the pandemic, hundreds of thousands of small businesses have permanently shuttered despite the government’s more than $650 million financial rescue attempt. Experts have suggested that the loans as part of the Small Business Association’s Paycheck Protection Program didn’t solve larger issues impacting the retail industry, including drastic sales declines and a growing credit crisis.

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