E-tail took another socially positive step forward Thursday to improve its somewhat tarnished image with eBay announcing it’s planning to invest millions of pounds in creating jobs and opportunities in the UK. The scheme will target regions hardest hit by the Covid pandemic.
The initiative comes just 24 hours after a group of six major UK-based retailers, including ASOS and Boohoo, launched the UK Digital Business Association, a body that will be “deeply committed” to provide over £1 billion of economic support through job creation and investment in their businesses.
The new ‘eBay for Change’ initiative will offer training and financial support to small, community-based businesses that support disadvantaged areas across Britain. The scheme would impact “thousands of jobs and livelihoods” during the next three years, it said.
Displayed prominently on its website, eBay’s scheme will allow its 29 million shoppers to find small businesses “with a clear social mission to reinvest profits back into their communities, either in the UK or overseas”. Initially, dozens of businesses will start trading on the hub, with eBay expecting numbers to grow “significantly” as it ramps up the programme.
eBay said: “Every purchase from this hub will have a direct positive impact on supporting disadvantaged communities – whether that’s providing job or training opportunities to people with a physical or learning disability or tackling social problems like homelessness, exclusion or abandoned children, improving people’s life chances, or helping the environment”.
As part of the scheme, the online giant has partnered with Social Enterprise UK and the World Fairtrade Organisation to deliver the programme, which will offer digital skills training and marketing investments to social enterprises.
In addition to its ‘eBay for Change’ programme, the retailer has also partnered with UnLtd, a firm that offers support to social entrepreneurs to help them develop their businesses. It aims to work with at least 100 social entrepreneurs in the first year, offering training, coaching and financial support “to help them grow their businesses and positively impact their communities”.
Chris Gale, head of social impact at eBay UK, added: “While the pandemic hasn’t created the levels of inequality that we see in society, it has certainly exacerbated them both socially and economically. We want to be a part of changing that and building a fairer and ultimately more sustainable economy.
“We believe that business can be a force for positive change and social enterprises are the living and breathing example of how this can be achieved.”
Gale added: “Customers are becoming increasingly aware of the impact of where they choose to spend their money, whether it’s supporting small businesses or charities. With ‘eBay for Change’, customers will receive a great product, as well as the satisfaction that the proceeds from their purchase will make a real difference and support communities.”