Recently, The home improvement retailer committed $55 million towards small business grants to support minority-owned and women-owned businesses and rural small businesses. Now, they are once again lending their support to these businesses – many of which have struggled as Covid-19 spread, shuttered stores, and created economic uncertainty.
Lowe’s CEO Marvin Ellison said that they are teaming up with Daymond John, (one of the stars of ABC’s “Shark Tank”) to give small businesses an opportunity to get their products on its store shelves and website. John will mentor entrepreneurs across diverse backgrounds. He will listen to their pitches, and narrow the pool to those that stand out. The “Shark Tank” style competition will culminate in a one-day pitch competition hosted by John and judged by Lowe’s executives. The competition differs from “Shark Tank” in a notable way: Lowe’s will not take a cut of the company like they do on “sharks Tank”.
Lowe’s is calling the competition “Making it… With Lowe’s.” The application window launches Tuesday and is open through Sept. 25. The goal is to give minority-owned small businesses an opportunity to have their products on the home-improvement retailer’s shelves and website.
Lowe’s will identify an initial 375 small businesses. They will then narrow the selection of 75 businesses who will be invited to submit more in-depth stories via video. These businesses will glean mentoring, advice, and support from a FORTUNE® 50 retailers. Applicants will be narrowed down to five finalists.
According to Daymon John, hosting this contest will be different from his role on “Shark Tank,” since he is not offering up his own capital to make an investment in exchange for company equity and a role in helping the company grow. Instead, he said he is able to approach it more as a consumer.
I don’t have to think about the personal manner on how I should operate it, how I’m going to get income from it. All I can do right now is care about, does this solve a problem? Does this have empathy for a customer? Is it making it lighter, faster or stronger, or saving time for somebody? … I already know distribution is there.”
Marvin Ellison said that when they introduced their grant program for minority, women- and rural-owned small businesses impacted by the pandemic last May, they received over 800,000 applications.
We were humbled by the overwhelming response for the grants and we were impressed by the creativity, passion and vision from hundreds of thousands of applicants – and we instantly knew we wanted to do more. Offering our customers greater access to products being created by diverse small business owners allows Lowe’s digital and physical shelves nationwide to better reflect the diverse communities we serve and ensures our customers have access to the most innovative and valued home improvement products in the marketplace.”Lowe’s President and CEO Marvin R. Ellison.
The “Making it… With Lowe’s” initiative will help small businesses reach a mass market, one of the major hurdles for entrepreneurs as they start out and try to scale. Lowes is expecting millions of applicants.
Additional small business grants are listed here:- https://www.grantwatch.com/grants-for-small-business