Business

eBay to invest in small businesses which support disadvantaged communities

eBay UK has today announced a three year multi-million pound training and finance support package for retail businesses within the social enterprise sector. 

The ‘eBay for Change’ programme aims to create jobs and opportunities in marginalised and vulnerable communities which have been hardest hit socially and economically by COVID-19 by helping to grow community based businesses.

To deliver the programme, eBay has partnered with Social Enterprise UK and the World Fairtrade Organisation to give global shop fronts to small businesses who reinvest their profits back into their communities here in the UK or abroad. 

‘eBay for Change’ will be a hub on eBay UK connecting its 29 million UK shoppers with these small businesses each with a clear social mission. As the programme ramps up in the coming months, up to 50 businesses will start trading on the hub with this number expected to grow significantly as it scales.

Every purchase from this hub will have a direct positive impact on supporting disadvantaged communities – whether that’s providing job or training opportunities to people with a physical or learning disability or tackling social problems like homelessness, exclusion or abandoned children, improving people’s life chances, or helping the environment. 

The social enterprise sector has seen huge growth over the last few years and accounts for 2 million jobs in the UK, bringing in over £60 billion to the UK economy. 

Through an in-depth package of support, including zero fees, one to one digital skills training and a significant marketing investment to bring buyers to these businesses, eBay aims to positively impact thousands of jobs and livelihoods across the UK over the next three years. 

Mandy Powell, founder of The Goodwash Company, a social enterprise selling luxury soap and wash products that will be joining the eBay for Change platform said: “Social impact is at the heart of everything we do at goodwash. We use our profits and our business model to support local sustainable projects that make a real difference. For example during the first lockdown, Goodwash donated over 20,000 wash packages for staff and patients to the NHS trust in England and Wales.  

“The more people buy, the more good we can do – with eBay’s reach, we are excited about what this means. 

“We wanted to create a product that would look good in the finest of washrooms from Port Talbot to New York, feel good on the most sensitive of skin, hair and fur all while doing good by improving the lives of animals and people in our local communities.“

Chris Gale, Head of Social Impact of eBay UK said: “While the pandemic hasn’t created the levels of inequality that we see in society, it has certainly exacerbated them both socially and economically. 

“We want to be a part of changing that and building a fairer and ultimately more sustainable economy. 

“We believe that business can be a force for positive change and social enterprises are the living and breathing example of how this can be achieved.  With 300,000 small businesses successful trading on eBay UK we have proven technological expertise to bring millions of shoppers to these. 

“Customers are becoming increasingly aware of the impact of where they choose to spend their money – whether it’s supporting small businesses or charities. With eBay for Change, customers will receive a great product, as well as the satisfaction that the proceeds from their purchase will make a real difference and support communities.”

Peter Holbrook, CEO of Social Enterprise UK said: “There has never been a greater imperative for businesses to step up and achieve their potential for positive social and environmental impact and recognise the power and influence they can have in building a fairer, more sustainable economy.

“We are delighted to be working with eBay to use their scale and reach to help social enterprises to grow and continue to drive positive change across communities both in the UK and around the world.”

Alex Sobel MP, Chair of the APPG on Social Enterprise, said: “It’s great that such a major player in the tech industry is rightly recognising the value that social enterprises can bring. As the country looks to recover from the pandemic, this initiative will help ensure that e-commerce delivers the most positive impact possible on society through Britain’s social entrepreneurs. Alongside other MPs, I look forward to promoting the opportunities that this initiative will bring – as well as the learnings it will provide – that will help even more social enterprises to thrive”.

In addition, eBay UK is investing in growing the social enterprise sector through a new partnership with UnLtd. 

UnLtd are specialists in supporting social entrepreneurs to develop their business and impact models. The partnership will be establishing the very first dedicated social enterprise ecommerce start-up programme for early-stage social entrepreneurs across the UK.   

eBay UK and UnLtd will work with at least 100 social entrepreneurs in the first year, providing training, coaching and financial support to help grow their businesses and the impact they have on the communities they serve.

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