The company is still working out the finer details of the program. For now, it has confirmed the program will be open to 30,000 small businesses in more than 30 countries.
The money will come in the form of cash and ad credits. Facebook said the grants would be intended for paying staff, rent and other operational costs, as well as connecting with more customers.
The social network is encouraging interested parties to sign up on a dedicated microsite and promised more details will be shared in the near future.
“Small businesses are the heartbeat of our communities, and many of the people who run these businesses are heavily affected by the crisis – especially as more and more people sensibly stay home,” said Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, in a Facebook post.
“The longer the crisis goes on, the greater the risk to small businesses and to the livelihoods of their owners and employees. We’ve listened to small businesses to understand how we can best help them. We’ve heard loud and clear that financial support could enable them to keep the lights on and pay people who can’t come to work.”
Additionally, Sandberg said Facebook is creating “new virtual training to support businesses operating in this new and unsettling environment” and working to host this through its free e-learning platform, Blueprint.
The company has also opened up access to its Business Resource Hub. This features content such as the ‘Business Resilience Toolkit’ and ‘Quick Action Guide’.
While representing a fraction of its multi-billion-dollar turnover, the program is a significant step into the waters of non-profit-generating purpose for the blue giant.
“People across the globe are stepping up, rising to the enormous challenge in front of us,” said Sandberg. “We want to do our part too.”