As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, so must we. Staying connected with family members, friends and businesses has taken on new meaning. Teams at Meta are involved in efforts to keep people informed and safe as we build the programs, products and services our communities rely on. In this story, Divya C. shares how her team is supporting small businesses around the world.
They knew something had to be done immediately.
Divya C., a global marketing lead on Meta’s Global Economic Impact team, and her colleagues had been working since January on a plan to provide small business grants across the U.S. But when COVID-19 began to spread across the globe, they knew more had to be done—and fast.
“It became clear to us that coronavirus was becoming a global pandemic, and the impact to small businesses could be catastrophic,” Divya says, with a serious risk that over 50% of small businesses will not survive the next few months due to the economic strain caused by the virus 1
. “Our team pulled together a business case to expand the grants program globally, which was approved quickly by leadership.”
Thus launched the Meta Small Business Grants Program, a global initiative giving $100M in cash grants and ad credits to support small businesses around the world during this unprecedented time.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has hit small businesses everywhere. Suddenly, and through no fault of their own, many simply can’t do business, and for others it has become much, much harder because customers are doing the right thing and staying at home,” Meta COO Sheryl Sandberg explained publicly when the program was announced. “Meta is committed to helping them.”
“It became clear to us that coronavirus was becoming a global pandemic, and the impact to small businesses could be catastrophic.” —Divya C., Global Marketing Lead on Meta’s Global Economic Impact team”
Because minority-run businesses have been hit especially hard by the pandemic, half of the U.S. grant money will be given to women, minority and veteran-run businesses. Additionally, because of the enormous challenges facing the Black community due to COVID-19, and to help in the fight for racial equality, Meta is investing an additional $100 million—$25 million to support Black content creators, and $75 million in cash grants and ad credits to Black-owned businesses and nonprofits in the U.S. serving the Black community.
Divya, C., Global Marketing Lead on Meta’s Global Economic Impact team
Empowering small businesses helps neighborhoods and communities flourish, creates meaningful jobs and fosters the growth of local economies. And for Divya, helping others connect and thrive is a passion, so being part of Meta’s efforts to revive small businesses is personal.
“Our team has always been dedicated to empowering small businesses by giving them the resources they need,” she says.
This was why the immediate response to the COVID-19 pandemic was so critical for Divya and her team—small businesses needed help, and they needed it fast. Everyone on the team was eager to immediately pitch in. “From individual contributors to managers and senior leaders, we were all motivated to move quickly.”
“My research shows that the first and most important thing small businesses need during this time is liquidity,” says Divya, whose team provides training, programs and financial resources for small businesses. “We collaborate with Communications, Policy and Consumer Marketing teams to promote economic opportunities for those businesses.”
Divya says the response to the grants program has been extremely strong. In less than a week, hundreds of thousands of people around the globe signed up to get more information, and the total number of U.S. applications received to date has been staggering, says Divya, underscoring the need for a program like this.
Tapping into shared values has helped Divya’s team stay focused and aligned. “In particular, ‘be bold’ and ‘move quickly’ are two company values I love,” she says. “It’s amazing that we could pivot so quickly during unprecedented times to deliver on our mission.”
“Working through uncertainty and adapting to so many rapid changes has been tough at times, but we help each other stay positive,” Divya adds. “I still feel very connected to the rest of the world through our team’s efforts.”
We are working on other ways to innovate our platform and products during this pandemic. Find out more about these efforts:
1 "SME Policy Responses" by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, April 2020