Facebook Steps in to Help, Invests $40 Million into Small Businesses, Earmarks 50% for Marginalized Owners

Facebook | May 11, 2020

  • Facebook has invested $40 million into small businesses across the country.

  • 50 percent of the fund earmarked for small businesses owned by people of color, women, and veterans.

  • Facebook implemented promotions at the top of user news feeds that will direct them to different resources they can use amid the pandemic.

Small businesses are struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic and some bigger companies like Facebook are stepping in to help.

The social media giant has invested $40 million into small businesses across the country with 50 percent of it earmarked for small businesses owned by people of color, women, and veterans.

Maxine Williams, chief diversity and inclusion officer at Facebook, told Cheddar Friday that the social media giant knows small businesses owned by people from marginalized communities are going to be impacted the worst.

This is a very, very difficult crisis the world is going through and unfortunately when things get bad for some, they get horrendous for others, We are a data-driven company. We know that businesses owned by minorities, by women, small businesses are going to suffer the most when things are hard.

- Maxine Williams, chief diversity and inclusion officer at Facebook.

Williams said it was important for Facebook to set aside money to directly aid minority business owners because they are the "intersection of a lot of the pain".

Read More: Non-Bank Lenders to the Rescue of Small Businesses, as Big Banks, Struggle to Meet PPP Demand

"These are going to be the businesses that are going to be most likely industries that are hardest hit. These are going to be industries where those businesses also had a harder time getting access to capital," she said. "We knew that, yes, we needed to give to all, but you needed to particularly look at where the pain would be the most."

The coronavirus has disproportionately impacted black and brown communities, from lack of Paycheck Protection Program relief for small business owners to the greater share of COVID-19 fatalities, and Williams said larger companies should look into ways they can uniquely provide help for the afflicted populations.

A business-like Facebook, we could do things as we have done, like launch these Data For Good projects where we are able. Taking data, working with research units, where they get the data for privacy reasons, aggregating, and making heat maps that show where you might see outbreaks coming.

- Maxine Williams, chief diversity and inclusion officer at Facebook.

The tech firm also built a COVID-19 center within its app and on Instagram, where users can find reliable information, and Facebook also implemented promotions at the top of user news feeds that will direct them to different resources they can use amid the pandemic.

Read More: Google Cloud's PPP Lending AI Solution to Help Quickly Process Loan Applications from Small Businesses During Covid-19

About Facebook

Founded in 2004, Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. Over 2 billion people use Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, or Messenger every month to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them. Facebook is defined by our unique culture – one that rewards impact. We encourage people to be bold and solve the problems they care most about. We work in small teams and move fast to develop new products, constantly iterating. The phrase “this journey is 1% finished” reminds us that we’ve only begun to fulfill our mission. As we evolve our journey to bring the world closer together, we stay true to the same core values to guide the way we work and the decisions we make every step of the way: be open, be bold, move fast, focus on impact, and build social value.


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Xero gives US small businesses a chance to win a $15,000 office makeover by renowned interior designer Estee Stanley

Xero | January 15, 2022

Xero, the global small business platform, today announced the "Xero Beautiful Business" Contest, giving US small business owners the chance to win a $15,000 office refresh by celebrated stylist and interior designer Estee Stanley.To help kick off 2022, Xero will award one small business with an office makeover, providing them with a fresh workspace that can help motivate and inspire. "Our mission is to make lives better for small businesses and their communities," said Ben Richmond, US Country Manager at Xero. "It's been a challenging few years, and we're thrilled to team with Estee to help a small business jump start the year on a bright note." There are two ways small business owners, or employees of a small business with 50 employees or less, can enter the online contest: Instagram: Snap a photo or video of your office and post to your Instagram feed, along with the hashtag #XeroBeautifulBusiness, and a caption describing why your office deserves a makeover. Please make sure your profile is public so your entry can be tracked. E-mail: If Instagram isn't your forte, you can email your submission to XeroBeautifulBusiness@xero.com. To qualify, you must include a photo or video of your office and a description of why your office deserves a makeover. The winner will receive a 30-minute virtual design consultation with Estee Stanley, a design recommendation, and a $15,000 design budget courtesy of Xero to complete the space facelift. "I'm thrilled to partner with Xero on this fun project to help transform a deserving company's office. I look forward to seeing all the creative entries and working with the winner to create their dream workspace that's not only functional, but stylish and inspirational." Estee Stanley Entries will be reviewed by a panel of Xero employees and judged based on the most compelling story, creativity of entry, and need. The contest is open until 5:00 pm MST on February 15, 2022, and the winner will be notified on or around February 25, 2022, by a direct or private message using the method of entry by which the entry is received by Xero. See official contest rules and regulations here.* *No purchase necessary to enter or win. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. About Xero Xero is a cloud-based accounting software platform for small businesses with over 3 million subscribers globally. Through Xero, small business owners and their advisors have access to real-time financial data anytime, anywhere and on any device. Xero offers an ecosystem of over 1,000 third-party apps and 300 plus connections to banks and other financial partners. In 2021, Xero was included in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI), powered by the S&P Global Corporate Sustainability Assessment. In 2020 and 2021, Xero was included in the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index and in 2020, Xero was recognized by IDC MarketScape as a leader in its worldwide SaaS and cloud-enabled small business finance and accounting applications vendor assessment. About Estee Stanley For over 20 years as a celebrated fashion stylist, Estee Stanley created some of the most stylish looks in Hollywood and around the world, counting A-List fashion icons as her clients. In recent years, Estee has become as well known for her interiors, having designed homes for Patrick Dempsey, Chris Evans, Ellen Pompeo, Justin Timberlake and wife Jessica Biel, and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. Estee's work in the commercial space includes chef Ludo Lefebvre's Petit Trois restaurant and Estee's own family-friendly restaurant Au Fudge. In 2020, Estee founded The Eye, a first-of-its-kind agency that is disrupting the traditional business model within the interior design and architecture industries. Founded in 2020, The Eye recognizes the opportunity for rising voices of interior designers and architects to build strong brands around their expanding profiles and manage them as individual talent.

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H&R Block Continues Partnership with Nextdoor® to Connect Neighbors and Improve Communities Across the Country

H&R Block | February 24, 2022

H&R Block announces its third consecutive year of partnership with Nextdoor to find and execute 10 community improvement projects through Block's Make Every Block Better community impact platform. Now through March 31, people can nominate their neighborhood for a project that helps improve the places and spaces where neighborhoods convene. The call for community improvement projects supports neighborhoods and involves small businesses, ultimately positively impacting millions of Americans. The companies will narrow the submissions and bring 10 winning projects to life. Nominations are open for the following categories: neighborhood beautification, neighborhood cleanup, park renewal, community garden and more. In the last two years, this partnership between H&R Block and Nextdoor has received nearly 4,000 submissions narrowed down to 20 projects across the country. The chosen neighborhoods came together to build gardens, community spaces, murals, revitalizations and even a butterfly sanctuary. One example includes a playground project in New Jersey’s West Milford neighborhood that continues to bring life to the community. “The local kids and parents are spending more time together and helping to build better relationships with neighbors at the playground, but it has also increased our community pride.” Elisabeth Kenney, a resident of West Milford, N.J. This partnership is just one way H&R Block is working to Make Every Block Better through its community impact platform, which launched in 2019. To date, the company has supported more than 258 communities and 304,000 small businesses, with H&R Block associates volunteering more than 205,000 hours. About H&R Block H&R Block, Inc. provides help and inspires confidence in its clients and communities everywhere through global tax preparation services, financial products, and small-business solutions. The company blends digital innovation with human expertise and care as it helps people get the best outcome at tax time and also be better with money using its mobile banking app, Spruce. Through Block Advisors and Wave, the company helps small-business owners thrive with innovative products like Wave Money, a small-business banking and bookkeeping solution, and the only business bank account to manage bookkeeping automatically. About Nextdoor Nextdoor is where you connect to the neighborhoods that matter to you so you can belong. Kindness is core to our purpose: to cultivate a kinder world where everyone has a neighborhood they can rely on. Neighbors around the world turn to Nextdoor daily to receive trusted information, give and get help, get things done, and build real-world connections with those nearby neighbors, businesses, and public services.

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FundThrough Acquires BlueVine’s Invoice Factoring Business

FundThrough | January 14, 2022

FundThrough, a financial technology platform that solves cash flow challenges for growing businesses through fast invoice payments, today announced that it has acquired the invoice factoring business of financial technology company BlueVine. The acquisition fast tracks the company’s strategic focus on embedded finance and its expansion efforts in the U.S. market, doubling the number of U.S. clients that will rely on FundThrough to turn unpaid invoices into working capital. All BlueVine invoice funding division employees are joining FundThrough as part of the transaction. FundThrough has grown 1,071% over the past three years and almost 300% since last year, funding thousands of B2B clients since the company was founded in 2014. The fintech company has scaled to process more than USD$120 million dollars in funding per month while being extremely capital efficient, having only raised $25 million dollars in equity since its inception. The acquisition is expected to more than double the number of funding transactions that FundThrough makes annually. Cash flow is the number one problem facing small businesses. According to QuickBooks data, 81% of surveyed businesses said that their customers had been late on their payments more often in 2021 compared to previous years, and 89% said late payments limit their growth. According to FundThrough client data, small businesses wait 60 days on average for customers to pay their invoices. FundThrough addresses this issue through its AI-powered funding platform, which generates automated offers for a seamless onboarding and funding experience. Through its technology, along with key partnerships with companies such as Intuit and Enverus, FundThrough cuts that waiting time by 97 percent to accelerate access to cash flow for small businesses. “We are committed to helping small businesses grow and thrive – especially those who sell to large customers where long payment terms and a lack of financing options stand in the way of growing a business. BlueVine was one of our biggest competitors in the U.S. market, and through this acquisition we can fulfill our mission on a much larger scale. We look forward to providing BlueVine’s invoice factoring clients with the same responsive, personalized customer service and seamless funding experience that FundThrough’s existing clients rely on and appreciate.” Steven Uster, co-founder and CEO of FundThrough In addition to accelerating its U.S. expansion, the acquisition also rapidly progresses another core FundThrough strategy: becoming the leader in embedded finance. The additional scale from new channel partnerships and relationships acquired through BlueVine — including all BlueVine factoring partners, who have now transitioned to FundThrough — will fuel FundThrough’s goal of being included within the workflow of B2B marketplaces, ecosystems, and apps where suppliers can request instant payment of their large customer invoices without leaving the workflow. This gives suppliers more opportunities to boost their cash flow, and levels the playing field for small businesses selling to large, powerful customers who often dictate long payment terms. Based in Redwood, California, BlueVine provides financial services to small and mid-sized businesses. The company addresses the banking and working capital needs of business owners with a suite of products including BlueVine Business Checking, Payments, and Line of Credit. Factoring was BlueVine’s founding product. “Since launching BlueVine, we’ve been focused on the financial needs of small businesses and are very proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish. As we evolve our products and services, we continuously examine how we can better serve our customers at scale,” says Eyal Lifsthiz, co-founder and CEO of BlueVine. “We determined that FundThrough is perfectly positioned to serve our factoring clients with the care and individual attention they need and deserve. Our factoring clients will be in great hands with FundThrough.” About FundThrough FundThrough is a leading fintech company accelerating cash flow and enabling growth for small and medium sized businesses that sell to large customers and wait to get paid. Based in Toronto and operating across North America, FundThrough’s AI-powered invoice funding platform gives B2B businesses fast, customized funding offers to get their invoices paid in a few days – rather than a few months – and get quick access to cash they’ve already earned. About BlueVine BlueVine provides small and medium-sized businesses with fast and simple access to financial services built with them in mind. BlueVine’s advanced online platform offers an intuitive, convenient solution designed to meet the banking and working capital needs of today’s business owners with a suite of products including BlueVine Business Checking, Payments, and Line of Credit. Based in Redwood City, California, BlueVine has provided small and medium-sized businesses with access to more than $14 billion in financing with all products combined and is backed by leading private and institutional investors, including Lightspeed Venture Partners, Menlo Ventures, 83North, Citi Ventures, ION Crossover Partners, SVB Capital, Nationwide Insurance, and M12 (Microsoft's Venture Arm). All lines of credit and term loan products are issued by Celtic Bank, a Utah-chartered Industrial Bank, Member FDIC. Banking Services provided by Coastal Community Bank, Member FDIC.

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Umpqua Bank Launches Small Business Empowerment Program With $2 Million To Support Minority, Women Entrepreneurs

Umpqua Bank | February 03, 2022

Umpqua Bank, a subsidiary of Umpqua Holdings Corporation, today announced a new program that expands access to capital, resources, and expertise for minority and women entrepreneurs. Umpqua Bank's Small Business Empowerment Program builds on existing private and public partnerships, including strategic initiatives with numerous business-focused nonprofits and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), to advance economic equality and opportunity for entrepreneurs in historically underserved communities. As part of the program, Umpqua has formed multi-year partnerships with four innovative organizations, each working to remove barriers to key areas of business support, including access to technology, low-cost financing, and technical assistance and expertise: Oregon-based MESO (Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon); Washington-based Business Impact NW; California-based Centro Community Partners and Kiva. According to Umpqua Bank chief marketing communications officer Eve Callahan, the program and newly formed partnerships address an opportunity gap in equitable access to funding and expertise essential to the viability and success of any business, especially those in communities lacking critical resources and support services. "Entrepreneurs and small business owners create incredible opportunity and prosperity in our communities, but historical barriers continue to exist that prevent many from accessing what they need for success. Partnerships that take a multi-faceted, collaborative approach to close this opportunity gap are essential to give every entrepreneur with good ideas and determination a chance to succeed. We're really pleased to announce the Umpqua Bank Small Business Empowerment Program and the strategic partnerships with these terrific organizations. Together, they're advancing some of the most innovative, creative and comprehensive approaches to addressing one of the biggest obstacles to prosperity many communities face." Umpqua Bank chief marketing communications officer Eve Callahan Details of each partnership and how they will enhance access to economic opportunity are as follows: Kiva: Access to Capital. Umpqua, through the Umpqua Bank Charitable Foundation, is establishing an Umpqua Bank Managed Loan Fund, enabling women and minority entrepreneurs in Umpqua's footprint to access matched funds and obtain 0% interest, crowdfunded loans. Kiva utilizes an innovative, character-based lending approach, removing collateral and credit history barriers in gaining access to capital. Funds will revolve for three years, multiplying the investment impact of the loans. Since 2005, Kiva has been a global, transformative leader in supporting women and minority entrepreneurs with crowdfunded loans that unlock capital for the underserved, improve the cost of financial services, and address underlying barriers to financial access. Centro Community Partners: Access to Expertise and Tools. Umpqua is funding a significant expansion of Centro's tech hub and a bilingual mobile app for small businesses over the next three years. Centro's innovative, award-winning business planning app provides entrepreneurs with affordable, culturally appropriate and high-impact, enterprise-building tools. In addition, Umpqua is funding the expansion of Centro Capital Hubs in the Bay Area, connecting hundreds of entrepreneurs with 0% Umpqua Bank Managed Loan Fund loans through Kiva. In addition, Centro will also be able to enhance technical assistance capacity for local microenterprise organizations through its E-Suite platform, Learning Management System (LMS) platform, and its Centro App solutions. Centro works with entrepreneurs to help them start and grow their businesses. Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon (MESO): Geographic Expansion. Umpqua is working closely with MESO to expand services in Southern Oregon. MESO expects to open a satellite office in Jackson County with bilingual loan services and access to new microenterprise tools for a region severely impacted by both wildfires and COVID-19. MESO staff will provide one-to-one culturally specific coaching, credit-building support, technical assistance, and access to a 5:1 matched Individual Development Account (IDA). MESO elevates and empowers historically excluded entrepreneurs with tailored business assistance and flexible capital to build family wealth through business ownership. Business Impact Northwest (BINW): Financial Literacy and Loan Readiness. Recognizing the historic barriers to accessing capital and financial expertise many diverse entrepreneurs face, Umpqua is funding the launch of BINW's new, multi-lingual Loan Readiness Center to provide customized technical assistance that moves entrepreneurs from "loan-ready" to "loan-successful." In addition, BINW will introduce new culturally appropriate loan products that expand access to capital for under-resourced borrowers. BINW provides coaching, education, and access to capital for community small businesses, with an emphasis on working with traditionally underserved populations—entrepreneurial low/moderate income earners, women, BIPOC, veterans, immigrants and members of the LGBTQ+ community. About Umpqua Bank Umpqua Bank, headquartered in Roseburg, Ore., is a subsidiary of Umpqua Holdings Corporation, and has locations across Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California and Nevada. Umpqua Bank has been recognized for its innovative customer experience and banking strategy by national publications including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Fast Company and CNBC. The company has been recognized for eight years in a row on FORTUNE magazine's list of the country's "100 Best Companies to Work For," and was recently named by The Portland Business Journal the Most Admired Financial Services Company in Oregon for the seventeenth consecutive year. In addition to its retail banking presence, Umpqua Bank also owns Financial Pacific Leasing, Inc., a nationally recognized commercial finance company that provides equipment leases to businesses.

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https://www.drift.com/startups/ - Getting close to your customers is the key to early stage growth. Now you can have the tools to do it at a price that makes sense. We’re making all the features in our Team plan available at 95% off to a limited number of companies that are: New Drift customers Part of an accelerator program or VC portfolio.