Today, eBay announced the recipients of its Up & Running Grants — a new program focused on ensuring today’s small businesses are here tomorrow. Fifty sellers from across the U.S. have been selected to each receive grant packages, inclusive of $10,000 in funding and education resources.
These grants build on eBay’s long-standing commitment to small businesses and expand the company’s Up & Running initiative that was launched in March 2020. This global program began as an accelerator to help Main Street retailers get online and thrive, despite the pandemic.
“Small businesses have never been under more pressure, and eBay is finding new ways to offer the support they need to succeed,” said Andrea Stairs, VP of Seller Community. “As the home of small business, we are proud to recognize these 50 Up & Running Grants recipients and provide funding and resources to propel them forward.”
About the Program
eBay announced the Up & Running Grants in November 2020 in partnership with business accelerator Hello Alice and received more than 13,500 applications. To apply, sellers shared details of their small business and how they planned to use the grant to fuel their growth. Following a comprehensive review, 50 sellers were chosen to each receive $8,000 in cash and $2,000 worth of eBay credits, along with premium access to Seller School — eBay's new e-learning platform — and direct training and coaching.
Of the 13,500 applications, 89% said COVID-19 had impacted their business. About 12% of applicants had to close their office or storefront and 18% had to furlough employees, while 9% of applicants admitted to starting a new business during the pandemic.
“There were so many incredible applicants across a wide range of backgrounds. Some were forced to close their brick and mortar operations while others found their supply chains impacted — all encountered barriers.” Stairs said. “But, we were also able to find so many inspirational stories: sellers who are persevering despite the challenges and bringing unique inventory to eBay. Under difficult circumstances, these recipients remain committed to learning and growing their online businesses.”
All small business seller applicants will be encouraged to take advantage of the free courses available through eBay Seller School and to join the eBay Community for additional support.Through Hello Alice, all applicants will be enrolled in an online community of similar businesses for peer-to-peer networking and will also have access to their COVID-19 Business Center.
“We are thrilled to be working with eBay to provide this program for their small business sellers. Small businesses need our support more than ever, and given that they employ over 60% of Americans, it’s important that they be afforded the resources and tools to not only survive the pandemic but thrive over the long term,” commented Elizabeth Gore, Co-Founder and President of Hello Alice.
Making an Impact
New data1 from Small Business Majority shows nearly half (47%) of small businesses are struggling to establish or grow their business online. For more than 25 years, eBay has helped launch and grow hundreds of thousands of small businesses. eBay reports it has seen a 54% increase in new business user registrations in the U.S. in 2020.
To learn more about the Up & Running Grants and the recipients, watch this short video.
Meet Some of the Recipients
Sandra Gustard, Fountain Pimento Oil, Brooklyn, New York
Sandra makes herbal pain relief and hair care products from organic, clean ingredients primarily sourced from Jamaica. The pandemic severely impacted Sandra’s normal means of selling at in-person events and festivals, and she has worked hard to find other ways to make up the sales. Sandra will use the grant money to expand her product line and to purchase necessary supplies for her business. “I make all of my products in my basement. My supply chain was interrupted last year and as I usually sell a lot in-person at festivals etc, things have been tough.”
Victor Rivera, Plant Street Collectibles, Winter Garden, Florida
Victor was laid off from his regular job and decided to follow his passion and start his own business selling sports trading cards on eBay. A longtime eBay shopper, he has seen early success with his business and is committed to helping others in the community flourish. Victor is going to use the grant to grow his inventory and to help motivate others. “I want to continue to build a good, positive culture in sports cards.”
Yinka Ogunsunlade, Fashionably Legal, Silver Spring, Maryland
Yinka turned his love of fashion into a thriving e-commerce business selling clothing and shoes. He quickly evolved his inventory to better meet the demands of buyers during the pandemic - expanding his inventory to include fitness attire and equipment when demand for business clothing waned. Sourcing and housing inventory have been major pain points during the shutdown, and he is planning to use the eBay grant to address both issues: “There’s no cap on how big or how great I can be on eBay.”
Sarah Drobnick, All is Well Period, Tacoma, Washington
Sarah’s company sells healing items including crystals and stones. Having built her business from the ground up following a serious illness, Sarah has supported her family on her income as an eBay seller for years. The pandemic significantly disrupted her supply chain; with cost of living high and her business taking a hit, Sarah is relying on the grant to keep her business afloat in the near term.
Full List of eBay Up & Running Grants Recipients
- Matthew Drebert, Swanky Barn, Anchorage, AK
- Brian Cloud, Marley Motorsports, Columbia City, IN
- Matthew Miller, Chiefs Military Surplus, Sumter, SC
- Ericka Beam, Noteworthy Notables, Burton, MI
- Jessica Hindsley, The Rhinestone Exchange, Westminster, CO
- Melisa West, Rad Rebellion, Dalton, GA
- Victor Rivera, Plant Street Collectibles, Winter Garden, FL
- Jennilynne Kemp, Grove 6 Collective, Jacksonville, FL
- Felicia Wilson, Bargains by Bambi, St. Cloud, MN
- Alexis Solis, Red’s Fifty Fancy Finds, Homestead, FL
- Shelia Walker, Dragonworkz, Collierville, TN
- Michelle Gruben, Grove and Grotto, Dallas, TX
- Ryan Muetzel, Crusade Sports Cards, Austin, TX
- Calvin Terry, Midnight Bee Supply, Vass, NC
- Nicholas Singer, Setter Sports, Hilliard, OH
- Dennis Goychuk, meremart (Vintage Magazines, LLC), Grand Rapids, MN
- Rhea Lusk, NY Luxury Closeout, Maybrook, MI
- Collin Litteken, FNS Parts, Magnolia, TX
- Fabio Benassai, Becro Food, Brooklyn, NY
- Marcia Schels, Art-by-Marcia, Bolton, VT
- Joseph Sorrentino, The Junk Juggler, Brookfield, CT
- Christian Swanson, rustdustpatinaverdigris (Estate Rescuers), Pilesgrove, NJ
- Sean Chang, Glam Addict Beauty, Bradley Beach, NJ
- James P. Rodman, Clock-Watch Parts+Steampunk Supply, Nazareth, PA
- Monica Henderson, Fresh Finds, Lake Worth, TX
- Trong Nguyen, trongo (Homebrewer LAB), Sacramento, CA
- Lesley Nakanishi, Peaches Are Nice Vintage, Braintree, MA
- Sarah Drobnick, All is Well Period, Tacoma, WA
- Andrew Havens, Arnett Supply, Sherwood, OR
- Dawn Ambrose, Heated 4 U - Heated Clothing, Street, MD
- Nick Manning, Manning Ventures, Sherwood, OR
- Joseph Martens, Retro Reclamation, Windsor Mill, MD
- Daniel McCray, 9teen6ty2, Flagstaff, AZ
- Elizabeth O'Kane, Colorado Re*Worn, Colorado Springs, CO
- Johnathan Mitchell, Happy Jack Apparel, Sierra Vista, AZ
- Otto Wong, American Costumes, Hayward, CA
- Chris Hice, little.lion (Simon Sells), Placitas, NM
- Laura Smith, blueprinter1995 (Sunday Historical), Cape Charles, VA
- John Acheson,altshot (Altered Shot), Hillsboro, OR
- Matthew Hague, Hague Insights, East Jordan, MI
- Stephanie Wells, EverythingOldisNewAgain, St. Germain, WI
- Yinka Ogunsunlade, Fashionably Legal, Silver Spring, MD
- Christine Jarvis, Christinegreywolf (Love This!), Grand Junction, CO
- Denver Moses Jr, choose.oasis3 (Oasis Quail Farms), Denton, NC
- Marisa Torres, Fastwrecks SportsCar Salvage, Rootstown, OH
- TA Ewart, The Value Comics, Brooklyn, NY
- Sandra Gustard, Fountain Pimento Oil, Brooklyn, NY
- Akashkumar Patel, Maavdi Wholesale, Coraopolis, PA
- Ricardo Castro, The Lofty Collector, Sacramento, CA
- Tomasz Lodowski, Imperial Time Co, Garfield, NJ
About Up & Running
In 2020, born out of the pandemic and an extension of the acclaimed Retail Revival program, eBay launched its Up & Running small business accelerator initiative. eBay pledged up to $100 million to help small businesses get and grow their businesses online — providing fee discounts, special guidance, resources and grants to run their business on eBay. To learn more, visit ebay.com/upandrunning.
About eBay Seller School
eBay Seller School is a new virtual learning platform offering on-demand lessons, videos and more to help every eBay seller thrive in our marketplace. Seller School offers both beginner-level and more advanced courses to help all sellers accelerate and scale their eBay business, regardless of their time and experience on the platform. Seller School is available anytime, from anywhere, and is 100% free. More information is available at ebay.com/smallbusiness.
About Hello Alice
Hello Alice is a free, multichannel platform that helps businesses launch and grow. With a community of more than 320,000 business owners in all 50 states and across the globe, Hello Alice is building the largest network of owners in the country while tracking data and trends to increase the success rate for entrepreneurs. Our partners include enterprise business services, government agencies, and institutions looking to serve small- and medium business owners to ensure increased revenues and promote scale. Founded by Carolyn Rodz and Elizabeth Gore, we believe in business for all by providing access to all owners, including women, people of color, veterans, and everyone with an entrepreneurial spirit.
Download the media kit here.
1 Recent study from Small Business Majority