Retail giant Amazon and minority-led community development financial institution (FI) Lendistry on Tuesday (Sept. 21) announced a joint pilot program focused on helping small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) selling on Amazon’s platform grow more quickly.
Amazon Community Lending is a business financing platform through Amazon Lending that will give U.S.-based Amazon sellers — almost all of whom are SMBs — short-term loans of up to $100,000. Lendistry typically focuses its lending on urban and rural small businesses in socially and economically distressed communities, with most of the money given to those with low to moderate income, including African Americans, Hispanics and Latinos.
“We are thrilled to launch the Amazon Community Lending pilot program in the U.S. to provide greater access to critical working capital and make the opportunity of selling in Amazon’s store more accessible to even more U.S. small businesses,” said Dharmesh Mehta, Amazon’s vice president for worldwide consumer trust and partner support, in the joint announcement.
“Lendistry shares our commitment to championing underrepresented populations of business owners, knowing they often lack access to traditional methods of accessing capital and similar economic opportunities,” he said.
As part of Amazon Community Lending, Lendistry will offer term loans from $10,000 to $100,000 for up to two years with annual percentage rates between 8% and 9.9%. Amazon sellers can use the money to grow their businesses and pay for staffing and operations costs, product development and manufacturing and marketing.
“Amazon came to us with this incredible idea,” said Everett K. Sands, founder and CEO of Lendistry, in the joint announcement. “They’re on a mission to support and empower minority-owned businesses, just like us, so it was a great fit. The Amazon seller community is the perfect place to make these kinds of financing programs available that can truly make a difference for a lot of businesses.”
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Amazon has about 1.3 million workers across the U.S., making it the second-largest private employer in the country behind Walmart.
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