Amazon knows that small businesses are critical to the success of the American economy. In fact, 99.9% of all U.S. businesses are small businesses, and they employ more than 60 million Americans. These businesses drive innovation, create jobs, and are leaders within their communities. While we are optimistic that the economy is recovering, we know that small businesses need our support now more than ever.
Amazon remains absolutely committed to helping our third-party selling partners grow and thrive. Last year, Amazon invested more than $18 billion in logistics, tools, services, programs, and people to help small and medium-sized businesses succeed. We offer resources, such as the Amazon Small Business Academy and the recently launched Amazon Black Business Accelerator, to help aspiring sellers from all backgrounds learn how to build their businesses online. And, we are proud to support the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Week Virtual Summit again this year by sharing our knowledge and resources with thousands of small business owner attendees.
Today, there are more than 500,000 small and medium-sized businesses selling on Amazon in the United States alone. We are proud to be a part of their success and are committed to their continued growth. This year’s Prime Day was the biggest two-day period ever for Amazon’s third-party sellers. These businesses are growing almost twice as fast as Amazon’s own retail business.
Take the example of Melissa Horvath of Sweet Water Decor, a home goods brand based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Melissa started her company, which sells mugs and candles, in her basement in 2014. When COVID-19 hit, she was initially worried about her company’s future. Like many other multi-channel retailers, however, her sales on both her own ecommerce site and on Amazon actually soared during the pandemic. She even hired 25 more employees to meet customer demand and donated 100% of the proceeds from her Stay at Home-themed candle to the World Health Organization. Hers is one of many stories of American small businesses using Amazon to grow, support local hiring, and make a positive impact.
We stand ready to work with Congress to support small businesses and lower the barriers to entry for selling products online in three key ways:
- Enhance access to capital and training. We know that small business owners face significant challenges accessing capital from traditional lending sources. That is why Amazon supports making the Minority Business Development Agency permanent and increasing resources for Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers, and Veterans Business Outreach Centers. We also support efforts to make the Small Business Administration’s Community Advantage Pilot Program permanent before it expires in 2022.
- Increase access to digital connectivity. Many small businesses struggle to access reliable and affordable broadband. Congress should continue to prioritize the deployment of communications infrastructure and wireless connectivity, particularly in rural areas and other underserved communities. Greater broadband buildout would make it possible for small businesses to reach a global customer base and grow.
- Ensure a stable United States Postal Service (USPS). Congress should leverage the strong bipartisan support among lawmakers to pass postal reform legislation to provide the USPS with financial stability and ensure reliable performance. Small businesses, especially in rural communities, rely on the USPS to reach customers at least six days per week and at affordable rates—particularly in the last mile. Strengthening the USPS will ensure small businesses are able to continue meeting key operational demands.
These initiatives are just a start, but they address some of the most important needs small businesses have today. Between private and public support, we can work together to help small businesses in the United States continue to grow and succeed.