Amazon is offering a new grant program to support sustainable small businesses. Recipients will get $20,000 and access to Amazon Launchpad, a platform designed to increase visibility and sales on Amazon.
Amazon Products for Tomorrow Grants
The Products for Tomorrow Awards are open to U.S. small businesses that sell a physical product. To qualify, products must be innovative, desirable, and sustainable. Judges will take look at the following criteria when selecting winners:
- Performance: how effective the product is at solving a problem for customers
- Innovation: the ability to fill a need in an interesting way, or in a way that hasn’t been done before
- Need: filling a gap in the market and providing an affordable option for consumers
- Sustainability: lessening the environmental impact over similar types of products
Product-based businesses don’t need to be active on Amazon already. The program is open to products that are new to Amazon or those that have been listed on Amazon for less than four years. Additionally, businesses must have less than $5 million in gross merchandise sales to qualify.
In addition to the $20,000 cash grant, the businesses that get selected gain access to Amazon Launchpad. The platform provides increased customer visibility for small brands that sell on Amazon. Specifically, Amazon highlights products and sellers in newsletters and special small business sections. They are also offering a sustainability certification to make products stand out to environmentally conscious consumers.
Cyrus Wadia, director of Product Sustainability at Amazon said in a statement, “We know customers want more-sustainable products, and we’ve set out to deliver this through large programs like Climate Pledge Friendly and Amazon Aware. As we grow these programs, we are constantly looking for ways to support our smaller selling partners and brands. Products for Tomorrow allows us to reward innovative products with sustainability attributes from smaller brands, and provide them additional support to connect into our larger retail shopping programs.”
Sustainability has become a major buzzword in recent years. But research shows that it’s actually making an impact on buying habits. A recent study found that more than a third of global consumers are actually willing to pay more for sustainable products. But this Amazon program goes even further. They don’t just want sustainable items; they also want those items to be useful, unique, and affordable. Applicants must weave sustainability in with these other factors to compete with others and get this grant funding.
Small Business Deals
In addition to the increased visibility, Amazon Launchpad provides marketing tools and services to help businesses market their own products. For example, Launchpad members gain access to educational resources like webinars and guides. They also gain access to a detailed dashboard to add rich content and high quality images to product listings.
If you have a sustainable product based business and are interested in applying, applications are free and available online now. The deadline to submit is August 18. Amazon and its partners will then select winners based on the outlined criteria and notify them by the end of September.
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