Alibaba just launched its second annual grants program to support small and medium-sized businesses. The Alibaba.com Manifest Grants Program will provide grants and logistics support to 50 businesses, with a focus on those offering innovative products.
The Alibaba.com Manifest Grants Program will provide $10,000 cash grants and up to $5,000 in logistics support to 50 small businesses. Then one of those 50 winners will also receive additional funding and a feature at Alibaba.com’s next major event in February.
This is the second year for the Manifest Grants Program. The program also awarded grants to 50 small businesses in 2021. More than 12,000 businesses applied for the $10,000 grant. Of those who were awarded grants, nearly 80 percent were owned by entrepreneurs of color. And 78 percent were women founded.
The number of grants and amount of cash awarded will remain the same for the 2022 funding cycle. However, Alibaba is also offering $5,000 in logistics support to recipients who source using Alibaba.com. The company identified this as a major pain point for businesses in 2022. Other perks for winners include a one-on-one mentorship session with FUBU and Shark Tank’s Daymond John and crowdfunding campaign consultations with Indiegogo.
Stephen Kuo, President of Alibaba.com North America said in a company statement, “We believe there are three ways to help SMBs stay competitive: reducing costs, simplifying the sourcing process, and building brand equity. That’s why we designed this year’s Alibaba.com Manifest Grants Program to highlight the creativity of small business owners and provide the tools for them to strengthen the competitiveness of their products. We are proud to offer not only increased cash grants but also unique opportunities for our grant recipients to access more capital and join Alibaba.com’s thriving community of small business owners.”
In addition to the Manifest Grants Program, Alibaba also aims to support small and medium-sized businesses by making it easy to access resources and products from around the world. In fact, the launch of the grants program coincides with the site’s Super September promotion. The event offers various features to business customers. This year’s lineup includes digital sourcing tools like virtual reality, live streaming and more options to ensure smooth procurement.
How to Apply for the Alibaba Manifest Grants Program
To qualify for the program, businesses must be a registered business in the U.S. and have an innovative product or product idea. Those with existing products can apply. But the program is also open to those with ideas that could be viable within six months.
The Manifest Grants Program is run in partnership with Hello Alice, Indiegogo, AMZScout, and Black Entrepreneurs Day. Hello Alice will manage the application process. So interested businesses can apply on the Hello Alice online portal now. The deadline to apply is October 31.
A committee from Alibaba, Hello Alice, and other partners will review applications. They’ll select winners based on eligibility criteria and innovation of the product idea. They will then notify recipients and publicly announce winners in mid-December.
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