Facebook on Tuesday announced a $100 million program to help small businesses as governments throughout the country urge gyms and restaurants to close their doors to slow the coronavirus pandemic.
In a blog post announcing the grants, Facebook said, "We know that your business may be experiencing disruptions resulting from the global outbreak of COVID-19. We've heard that a little financial support can go a long way, so we are offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits to help during this challenging time."
Facebook said the grants will be available for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries. That would be an average of $3,333 per business. It could help businesses experiencing a sharp drop in traffic, but it's a fraction of Facebook's typical revenue. The company generated $21.08 billion in the fourth quarter of 2019 alone.
Facebook will begin accepting applications in coming weeks. The company said the program can help businesses with rent and operational costs, maintaining workforce and connecting with customers.
Facebook has long prided itself on being a place where small businesses can market their services at an affordable price by targeting a small, relevant group of users. In an interview with Bloomberg News on Monday, Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said the marketing industry is bound to take a big hit as a result of the coronavirus fallout.
"This is not going to business as usual, and the marketing industry is certainly going to see a real impact. I don't think anyone knows how big," she said.
Sandberg said on her Facebook page Tuesday that the company is looking at ways to expand virtual training "to support businesses operating in this new and unsettling environment." Sandberg said Facebook will have more to share over the next few weeks.