RALEIGH — Global tech leader Lenovo, headquartered in Morrisville, has announced details for Evolve Small, a campaign focused on providing relief to small businesses recovering from the impact of COVID-19 in cities across North America.
According to a press release Monday, Lenovo’s commitment includes $1 million in grant funding and support to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color-owned (BIPOC) small businesses. In partnership with Microsoft and Intel, Lenovo will provide mentorship and community engagement, that is designed to help small businesses rebuild and achieve long-term success.
Additionally, The NFL’s Carolina Panthers will support Lenovo’s Evolve Small campaign in the Carolinas by awarding 10 small businesses with technology upgrades and providing one small business with a $100,000 advertising sponsorship during the upcoming NFL season.
According to a National Small Business Association member survey, three out of four small business owners were very concerned about the economic impact of COVID-19 as soon as the pandemic hit. Almost half had already seen reduced customer demand, and 38 percent were not confident in the financial future of their business. Through the Evolve Small program, Lenovo will provide support to more than 60 companies throughout 2021 in seven geographically diverse cities, including: Austin, Tex.; Chicago, Ill.; Minneapolis, Minn.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Seattle, Wash.; Raleigh, N.C. and Toronto, Canada.
“Small businesses are the heart of our local communities. They are there to feed us, connect us and bring us joy, yet many have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said John Bischof, executive director, North American Commercial Category at Lenovo. “We are amplifying our contributions through ‘Evolve Small’ to reinvigorate economies and help small businesses grow, and we encourage everyone to join us in supporting small. Whether it’s a reoccurring visit to their store or tag on social media, let’s champion our neighbors – because when they thrive, we all thrive.”
In fulfilling the program’s mission to “advance equity and increase economic mobility in North America,” Lenovo has partnered with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a U.S. non-profit community development financial institution. “It’s impossible to overstate the importance of small businesses to the nation’s economic recovery,” said Lisa Glover, LISC president and CEO. “Especially in communities where discrimination has long impacted the outlook, entrepreneurs have faced steep barriers to business financing, as well as to relief funding during COVID-19. Companies like Lenovo are using their capital to help bridge that gap, protecting jobs and local incomes, while helping entrepreneurs build for the future.”
Company officials say Lenovo’s technology consultants will offer guidance to BIPOC-owned small businesses, providing them with solutions and advice on how to better leverage technology to grow and evolve their companies. Three of Lenovo’s small business consultants will provide technology solutions advice to six Black-owned businesses in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul and their guidance will be captured in season six of an original television series by Deluxe called “Small Business Revolution,” airing this November. “Deluxe and Lenovo share a common goal to use technological and digital advancements to drive meaningful growth for small businesses,” said Amanda Brinkman, Chief Brand and Content Officer for Deluxe and creator and co-host of the series. “Through the Small Business Revolution, Deluxe is shining a light on the incredible power small businesses have in helping their communities thrive. As a Trusted Business Technology™ company, Deluxe is eager to work with experts from Lenovo to advance how we support small businesses across the country.”
In addition to the $1 million in grants, Lenovo will donate $5 for every unique use of the hashtag #EvolveSmall via Instagram, up to $50K incremental funds for the LISC support funds. Visit Lenovo.com/EvolveSmall to learn more about the Evolve Small efforts, resources and technology solutions.