In response to COVID-19 and the impact of the economic lockdown on small businesses, Amazon has launched its Small Business Accelerator to give SME retailers a range of training and tools to help them get back on their feet and grow post-lockdown.
With some 200,000 small businesses and start-ups in the UK thought to be impacted by the lockdown, Amazon has teamed up with Enterprise Nation, a small business support network, to offer not only a free online training programme , but also a quick online diagnostic test to find the learning path that best fits with the current stage of their business – ‘Start’, ‘Grow’ or ‘Turbo’.
Participants will also access new benefits designed to help them, ranging from discounts on business supplies and protective equipment from Amazon Business, to dedicated Amazon Web Services (AWS) training and partner offers.
As part of the Accelerator, Amazon and Enterprise Nation will run week-long bootcamps to provide additional, tailored personal training and expertise for up to 1,000 mostly offline start-ups and small businesses to help them trade online. Businesses across fashion, beauty & wellbeing, food & drink, services, and home & leisure will join a five-day live online course with access to experts and peer-to-peer networking.
Bootcamp participants can also access 12 months of support from a wide range of accredited advisors covering topics on marketing, operations and managing finances as well as a range of benefits including discounts and credits from Amazon and partners.
The first ever virtual Amazon Academy is taking place on Friday 26 June – a free two-hour event to introduce businesses to the world of selling online – ideal for people who want to learn more before they embark on the Amazon Small Business Accelerator. Entrepreneur and former Dragons’ Den investor Jenny Campbell will be sharing her business story and insights on what entrepreneurs should consider when looking for investments and scaling a business. The event will also include industry leaders and talks from Amazon experts on the best ways to address the business challenges presented by the health crisis.
Amazon is currently helping thousands of small businesses across the UK with storage and removal fee waivers for new Selling Partners on Fulfilment by Amazon, while Amazon Launchpad, the company’s programme showcasing cutting-edge products from the latest startups, has offered ongoing fee relief and online training on funding, marketing and other topics. Amazon Pay users can receive chargeback relief and extensions, and finally, AWS will be running online events for startups, and will help small businesses modernise their use of technology with advice and resources available through the AWS free tier.
Amazon is also working in partnership with the British Chambers of Commerce to provide up to 1,000 businesses from across the UK with the opportunity to tour Amazon Fulfilment Centres to see first-hand how Amazon has implemented a range of measures to keep staff safe, while continuing to serve customers during the Coronavirus crisis.
“Small businesses are the lifeblood of the economy and by helping them we can help families, communities and the UK bounce back more quickly,” says Doug Gurr, UK Country Manager, Amazon. “We have a long track record of supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses, with more than half of all products sold on Amazon stores coming from our selling partners. Many businesses have found their way through the crisis by providing goods and services online. Now the Amazon Small Business Accelerator with Enterprise Nation will provide thousands of offline and online businesses with the skills, tools and support they need to succeed in the digital world, to reach customers through Amazon or any other service.”
Oliver Dowden CBE MP, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport adds: “It is vital that small businesses are able to develop the digital skills they need to help connect with customers online, expand their offer and drive their company’s growth. So it’s great to see Amazon and Enterprise Nation joining forces to help thousands of small businesses and startups take full advantage of our dynamic digital economy. I encourage any entrepreneur or small business owner looking to boost their digital presence to get involved.”
Emma Jones MBE, Head of Enterprise Nation says: “We have worked with Amazon to support small businesses for many years, but this is our most ambitious and important programme to date. Coronavirus has presented serious challenges for startups and SMEs, and never have more businesses called out for help, particularly with getting online. This package of critical support will include tailored guidance for startups, recovery advice, and then tools for growth to help businesses weather the storm and come out stronger on the other side.”