SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) today announced a range of Amazon Small Business Academy programs to help small businesses harness the power of the internet to reach more customers, build their brand, and grow sales. The initiatives includes in-person seminars, community college courses, and webinars.
“Small businesses make up 99.9% of U.S. businesses, employ almost 60 million people, and are the backbone of our economy. 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,” said Nicholas Denissen, Amazon Vice President of Small Business. “Amazon Small Business Academy is focused on accelerating small business’ digital capabilities, whether they are a brand new company or one that has been in business for generations.”
Today in Southaven, Mississippi near Memphis, Tenn., Amazon is hosting its first Amazon Small Business Academy event, featuring special guest speaker U.S. Senator Roger F. Wicker. The free seminar will provide more than 100 attendees with insights, best practices, and how-to skills to start and grow a business online, or expand an existing business on the internet. The company’s next Amazon Small Business Academy seminar will be held in December, with more events planned for 2020.
“Small business owners and entrepreneurs are the driving force behind economic growth in Mississippi and across America,” said Senator Wicker. “The Amazon Small Business Academy will empower more small businesses to succeed, particularly in rural states, through digital tools and broadband access.”
The Amazon Small Business Academy program also includes a grant to the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) to help fund curriculum development and instruction of digital business courses in community college classrooms around the country. The classes will cover the fundamentals of online business strategies, marketing, merchandising, inventory management, and more. The curriculum will provide sixteen hours of beginner, intermediate and advanced content, created in collaboration with NACCE and the program’s lead schools: Lorain County Community College in Elyria near Cleveland, Ohio and North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Classes will begin in February 2020 at the lead schools, as well as Bunker Hill Community College in Boston, Mass.; State Center Community College District in partnership with Fresno City College, in Fresno, Calif.; Houston Community College in Houston, Texas; and Red Rocks Community College in Lakewood, Colo.
“We’re thrilled to embark on this innovative program with Amazon,” said Rebecca Corbin, Ed.D., president and CEO of NACCE, the nation’s leading organization focused on promoting entrepreneurship through community colleges, representing more than 325 community and technical colleges and 2,000 faculty, staff, administrators and presidents who serve more than three million students. “Community colleges provide valuable content and programming for both aspiring and current small business owners. This Amazon grant will help NACCE and the schools foster the next generation of businesses to power the U.S. economy.”
The Amazon Small Business Academy program also offers webinars to help current and aspiring small business owners throughout the country gain digital skills. The online seminars will provide best practices for successful selling in Amazon stores and include live Q&A with experts. Registration is open for an initial webinar here.
Altogether, U.S.-based small and medium-sized businesses sell on average more than 4,000 items per minute in Amazon’s stores. Overall, independent third-party sellers – primarily small and medium-sized businesses – made up 58% of all physical gross merchandise sold in Amazon’s stores last year and their sales far exceeded $2 billion on Prime Day in July this year.
In little more than a year, U.S. companies with products in Amazon Storefronts, a curated destination to shop exclusively from American small and medium-sized businesses, have sold more than 250 million items to more than 70 million unique customers.
Amazon has released more than 150 tools and services in 2019 to help independent small and medium-sized businesses grow their sales online, which is part of the more than $15 billion the company is on track to invest this year in the success of its selling partners.
Amazon recently announced the finalists for its first-ever Small Business Spotlight Awards, an awards program established this year to honor and celebrate top entrepreneurs and small businesses across the country selling in Amazon’s stores. Customers can vote for the winners through November 8.
To learn more about the millions of small and medium-sized businesses selling in Amazon’s stores, visit: https://www.aboutamazon.com/supporting-small-businesses.
Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit www.amazon.com/about and follow @AmazonNews.