Free Tools, Resources, and Financial Help for Business Owners Hit by Covid-19
A growing number of companies are offering their online tools, classes, and resources at no cost in response to the impact on small-business owners from the coronavirus.
Ad credits and grants
- Telecom giant Verizon is donating $2.5 million to nonprofit Local Initiatives Support Corporation for its Small Business COVID-19 Recovery Fund, which will use the funds to provide grants of up to $10,000 to struggling businesses.
- Amazon launched a $5 million Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund to provide cash grants to small businesses in and around the Seattle area that are impacted by Covid-19.
- Facebook also created a Small Business Grants Program that will provide $100 million in cash and ad credits to 30,000 businesses in the 30 countries where Facebook operates.
- To help local restaurants and bars, Yelp announced $25 million in relief in the form of waived advertising fees, free advertising, and products and services.
- GoFundMe, the social fundraising platform, has launched the Small Business Relief Initiative, partnering with Yelp to provide small-business owners with grants and resources. GoFundMe and Yelp have each donated $500,000 to the Small Business Relief Fund, and it is open for anyone to make a donation. There will also be $500 matching grants to qualifying businesses that raise at least $500 on GoFundMe.
- James Beard Foundation, the national nonprofit culinary arts organization, has launched the Food and Beverage Industry Relief Fund. The organization will draw support from corporate, foundation, and individual donors to offer micro-grants to restaurants, bars, and other independent businesses in the industry.
Legal and employment issues
- SixFifty, the tech subsidiary of law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, released free legal tools to help businesses manage employment issues related to the Covid-19 crisis, from automated policies developed by employment attorneys to questionnaires to gather employee information, manage tasks and automate important communications. The firm is also hosting free webinars to guide businesses on how to use the tools.
Gift certificates, gift boxes, and more ways to support small businesses
- Verizon has launched 'Pay it Forward Live,' a weekly charitable entertainment series, beginning at 8 p.m. ET on March 26, to support small businesses affected by Covid-19. Dave Matthews will be the first among other artists to perform concerts from their homes that will stream live on Verizon's Twitter account and on Yahoo Entertainment and encourage viewers to support their favorite local businesses.
- Keep Your City Smiling, born out of the Covid-19 crisis, sells gift boxes of products to benefit struggling local businesses. It is currently focused on Seattle small businesses, but it's expected to expand to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Portland--and more cities to come.
- Rally for Restaurants, a grass-roots movement to support restaurants through Covid-19, has made it easier than ever to buy gift cards to restaurants and encourage others to do the same. If you're a restaurant owner, you can add your business to the list.
- Presently, a group-gifting platform, is covering all credit-card fees for group gifts on its platform through April.
- Kabbage has launched an online hub to help boost gift-certificate sales for small businesses impacted by Covid-19. While the service is free, there is a 2.5 percent payment processing charge per gift certificate that goes to the third party facilitating the service.
Social media services
- Hootsuite, the social media management platform, is offering free access to its professional plan through July 1.
Search engine optimization
- Moz, the SEO software company, is offering free access to more than a dozen of its Moz Academy SEO courses through May 31, covering everything from keyword research to backlink basics and more.
- WeTransfer, the file transfer service, has opened its collaborative presentation tool Paste Pro for three months free to new teams who join the platform.
- Shopify, the e-commerce platform, is offering an extended 90-day trial for new customers. For those of you currently on a 14-day trial, you can extend it at no charge to 90 days.
- Box, a cloud-storage app, is offering a free 90-trial (you can cancel anytime, no strings attached) during the crisis to help you store and share your documents online.
WFH skills and tools
- 15Five is offering full access to its performance management software through June 15, to help companies lead remote teams.
- Igloo Software, a digital workplace solutions provider, is offering its Business Continuity Bundle for free through July 6, which includes digital workplace tools to keep employees productive and supported through the crisis.
- LinkedIn has made 16 LinkedIn Learning courses available for free, including tips on how to stay productive, build relationships when you're not face-to-face, use virtual meeting tools, and balance family and work in a healthy way.
- Cisco, the multinational tech giant whose Webex product hosts videoconferencing, online meetings, screen share, and webinars, is offering free 90-day licenses with unlimited usage.
- Jamm, a voice and video collaboration tool for remote teams, is offering its service free to any team for four months.
- Zoho Remotely has opened up its complete suite of web and mobile apps for free to small-business owners through July 1, to help remote teams communicate, collaborate, and be productive.
- Align Technologies has made its Huddle Tools software available for free to small businesses to help teams improve the flow of communication and manage updates and tasks through the coronavirus crisis.
- Software giant Atlassian, which offers productivity and collaboration tools, is offering its cloud products for free to small businesses with teams of up to 10 people.
- Cloudflare, a web-security company, is offering its Cloudflare for Teams free for small businesses through September 1. The product makes it easier for your team to securely access internal applications remotely without a VPN.
- 1Password is offering its 1Password Business service free to small-business owners for six months, so your remote team can securely share passwords and create custom groups, vaults, and permissions.
- To protect your team from phishing attacks and malware while they're working from home, DNSFilter is offering its advanced DNS security service free for businesses through July 1.
- PandaDoc, the document automation startup founded in 2013, is offering a new free eSign plan to securely send an unlimited number of documents for signatures and collect payments.
- Ping Identity, the identity and security company, is offering free cloud single sign-on (SSO) and multi-factor authentication (MFA) for unlimited apps and identities for six months.
- Headspace is offering a variety of guided meditations and exercises (including new ones) for free to all businesses and their employees.
- Fitness startup ClassPass has launched livestream classes for studios, with all proceeds going back to studios through June 1. The fitness startup is encouraging members to donate to their favorite studios, and it plans to match those donations up to $1 million. ClassPass also offers free access to 2,000 on-demand workouts.
- Unmind, a workplace mental health platform, has started a free and open #GreatUnminds channel on Slack, where you can make connections, learn tips, and share advice on mental well-being in the workplace.
- Les Mills, whose fitness brand started in 1968 in New Zealand, is offering more than 100 of his virtual fitness classes for free until the coronavirus crisis is over.
- If yoga is more your speed, DoYogaWithMe is offering two months of free access to its premium content.