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Amazon Initiative To Help Small Firms Grow Business Online

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E-Commerce giant Amazon announced a new initiative, Amazon Small Business Academy, aiming to help small businesses grow sales using internet. The move is part of its planned investment of more than $15 billion for the success of its selling partners.

The effort is focused to accelerate the digital capabilities of small businesses, whether its new or old. The various programs under the Academy would help business owners, entrepreneurs, and startups to use digital tools and broadband access to reach more customers.

According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses make up 99.9% of U.S. businesses and employ almost 60 million people.

Amazon noted that U.S.-based small and medium-sized businesses sell on average more than 4,000 items per minute in its stores. In the last year, independent third-party sellers, mainly small and medium-sized businesses, generated 58 percent of all physical gross merchandise sold in Amazon's stores. Their sales exceeded $2 billion on Prime Day in July this year.

In 2019, the company has released more than 150 tools and services to help these businesses grow their sales online.

Nicholas Denissen, Amazon Vice President of Small Business, said, "We've heard from many of them that they want help and guidance to take advantage of the power of the internet and digital business, particularly in rural areas."

The initiatives includes in-person seminars, community college courses, and webinars. At the first Amazon Small Business Academy event in Mississippi, U.S. Senator Roger Wicker called small business owners and entrepreneurs as the driving force behind economic growth in Mississippi and across America.

The next Amazon Small Business Academy seminar will be held in December, with more events planned for 2020.

The Academy program also includes a grant to the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship or NACCE. Amazon-supported digital business courses will launch in February 2020 in various community colleges.

In a similar move, Facebook in early October had offered to help small businesses by assisting them in preparing for the upcoming holiday season by launching new tools, programs and events. This could help them manage their business more efficiently across its apps such as Facebook, Instagram and Messenger.

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