Facebook announced this week a $100 million commitment to a program that buys unpaid bills from small businesses run by women and minorities. The program intends to support approximately 30,000 small-scale businesses.
The Facebook Invoice Fast Track programme purchases outstanding invoices, which place money into the hands of small companies that would otherwise have to wait weeks or even months before being paid by their customers.
The program is Facebook’s latest effort to establish relationships and long-lasting loyalty between small businesses, many of whose services are dependent on the Social Network to advertise on niche demographics.
After hearing how much the company’s suppliers had been facing following the pandemic of Covid-19, Facebook piloted a smaller version of this programme in 2020, Rich Rao, Facebook’s vice-president, stated.
“We just heard first-hand the financial hardships that these suppliers were facing, and it was created really quickly and brought up as an idea and pitched to our CFO to say, ‘Hey, would we be able to help our suppliers with this?'” Rao said. “It was a very small pilot, but we did see that be very successful.”
Now Facebook is expanding the scheme dramatically and is purchasing up to $100 million in outstanding accounts. Rao thinks that around 30,000 small companies will receive this support.
“It’s a new concept, but we’re really excited about it,” Rao said.
The program is open to women and minority-owned businesses in the United States, members of supplier associations that support underrepresented communities. The National Minority Supplier Development Council, the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, the National Veterans Business Development Council, Disability: IN, and the United States Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce are among the organizations involved.
Lisa Dunnigan, co-founder of The Wright Stuff Chics, which sells teacher-related goods and sponsors the Teach Your Heart Out teachers conference, is one of the prior entrepreneurs that relied on the Facebook Invoice Fast Track programme to keep her firm afloat.
Dunnigan’s company announced a virtual Teach Your Heart Out conference set for July after the pandemic caused her to cancel all of her organization’s in-person events in 2020. Teachers registered for the conference in early 2021, but many paid with purchase orders, which, according to Dunnigan, take “a very long time” to be paid out. After collecting the applications, Dunnigan forwarded them to Facebook, and the company paid her more than $10,000 in a few days.
“This program has been a life saver for our company,” said Dunnigan.
Since then, Dunnigan has re-applied, and Facebook has paid for her outstanding invoices several times.
“Dunnigan’s story is among the many Facebook saw after the launch of their pilot that indicated to the company that this was something worth scaling up,” Rao said.
“We were just overwhelmed by the stories that came back,” he added.
Interested companies will begin applying on October 1, following the official expansion of the program, said Facebook.