Since eBay’s founding in 1995, we have empowered small businesses across America, helping main street stores succeed and enabling entrepreneurs to realize their dreams. To help promote the message of small business support, we recently sponsored a virtual leadership forum hosted by The Hill in September and a four-part series in October that aired on Hill.tv. All of these opportunities featured eBay executives, along with eBay sellers, and shared ways in which we’ve promoted ecommerce and economic opportunity for all.
“Throughout the past 25 years, our primary focus has been how to enable our small business partners to connect with customers around the world. eBay sellers are tough, resilient and resourceful entrepreneurs,” said Cathy Foster, eBay’s VP of Global Government Relations. “We are doing everything we can to help small businesses succeed.”
Ecommerce and the American Small Business
On Sept. 21, eBay sponsored a virtual forum with The Hill called, “Ecommerce and the American Small Business.” The event spotlighted two eBay sellers as well as Marni Levine, Vice President of Seller Operations and Engagement, eBay. Other speakers included U.S. Representatives Yvette Clarke (D-NY), co-chair of the Smart Cities Caucus, Adriano Espaillat (D-NY) of the House Committee on Small Business and Kevin Hern (R-OK) of the House Committee on Small Business.
Topics included the various ways ecommerce will continue to be a driving force for customer demand, sharing ways in which small businesses might change the way we buy and sell goods through a digital, global marketplace, as well as the types of policies that could encourage a healthy environment for ecommerce users.
Marni spoke with eBay seller Angie Nelson of eWaste Direct, whose business was created to divert e-waste from landfills by offering recycling services to businesses and commercial buildings throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Angie talked about how her eBay store lets her find a new home for electronics, providing environmental benefits as well as enabling her to reach over our 183 million buyers around the world 24/7 — especially important during the global COVID-19 pandemic. As Angie said, eBay makes a point of “keeping sellers informed and engaged on public policies that will affect us as a small business in the ecommerce platform. They want us to succeed.”
Also in the forum was eBay seller Michael Swoape of One4Silver, who discussed as part of a panel with other small business sellers, how eBay has been a key part of One4Silver’s journey, providing a strong and trusted platform for all customers.
“eBay does a fantastic job of creating a safe environment that’s good for both buyers and sellers, that does a nice job of making sure both people are protected in the transaction,” he said.
Our Small Business Ambassador Network
In October, Hill.tv also aired the four-part sponsored series titled, “Empowering American Small Businesses, How eBay has Enabled the Backbone of America for 25 years,” hosted by Emmy Victor.
The first two segments in the series featured eBay sellers and Small Business Ambassador Network (SBAN) members, Mac Griffiths of MGD Sales and Laurie Wong of Reflections of Trinity. Both sellers talked about what their partnerships with the eBay Government Relations team have meant to their business, sharing ways in which the marketplace has enabled them to succeed overall. Mac spotlighted his family, speaking to how eBay allows him to run his multi-million dollar company while maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Laurie focused on her charity work, talking about how the increased revenue she gained from selling on eBay allowed her to open her food pantry on the weekends to assist the working poor.
All of our sellers who participated in the Hill.tv forums and segments are active members of the eBay Government Relations’ SBAN group, a diverse community of sellers that advocate for policy issues affecting all small businesses. To learn more about the SBAN, please visit: ebaymainstreet.com/sban.
Creating Tools and Resources for Small Businesses
The third segment in the series featured Harry Temkin, eBay’s VP of Seller Experience, who spoke about the ways that small businesses and eBay work hand in hand — and have since the company was founded. “Our role is to create a marketplace through technology that brings people together and brings unexpected joy,” he said. “We think of our sellers as partners, it’s in our DNA, we’ve never competed with our sellers — and we never will.”
The COVID-19 pandemic just reaffirmed our relationship with our sellers, Harry emphasized. “Being a partner to our sellers means helping them in a time of need,” he said. As a result, as cash flow became an issue for many sellers, we created the invoice deferral program; Up and Running was similarly started to help brick and mortar businesses establish an online presence. Other programs, such as managed payment services, authentication services and ease of listing, helps benefit both buyers and sellers, in our goal to become the platform of choice for sellers and to create lifelong relationships with buyers by adding innovative technological features.
Advocating on Behalf of Entrepreneurs
In the fourth segment, Cathy Foster, eBay’s VP of Global Government Relations, provided insight into all of the ways we are supporting small businesses, starting with enhanced shipping tools, more sophisticated artificial intelligence technology and other capabilities that increase the safety of our platform. “First, eBay is a marketplace that is built on trust. It’s core to our platform to earn and keep that trust every day,” Cathy said.
As part of that effort, eBay works to secure government protection of small business rights. Cathy shared how eBay partners with governments around the world and encourages lawmakers to look out for small business interests with access to capital through policies, such as the CARES Act and the Payment Protection Program. Given that eBay partners, rather than competes, with sellers, “when lawmakers look at third-party marketplaces like eBay, it’s important for them to know that they’re helping thousands of small businesses to make a living,” she said. In addition, Cathy also emphasized the importance of access to reliable, affordable and universal shipping services, along with export opportunities and trade deals that help local small businesses.
Interested in learning more about our advocacy and government efforts? You can read about them and the ecommerce public policy issues of focus for eBay on our eBay Main Street website.