When Fiserv witnessed the devastating effects the pandemic was having on the small merchants it serves, the firm immediately made a plan to help them weather the pandemic. Mia Shernoff, senior vice president of Fiserv, details the steps Fiserv took, including developing a new platform to facilitate PPP loans and offering personalized POS support.
While numerous industries and businesses have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, small businesses have in many cases been less equipped to handle this impact and implement the changes necessary to continue to operate. Fiserv serves millions of merchants of all sizes, and when we witnessed firsthand the devastating effects the pandemic was having on the 30.7 million small businesses across the country, we immediately took proactive steps to help them weather the pandemic.
Some of this support was indirect, such as the development of a platform that enabled hundreds of Fiserv client financial institutions across the United States to help facilitate more than 100,000 Paycheck Protection Program loans. Other support has been much more direct in nature, such as personally reaching out to every small business that utilizes our Clover point-of-sale platform to offer assistance, and accelerating innovation of digital-forward small business solutions like online ordering, virtual terminals and QR-code based payments via the Clover platform.
The most tangible evidence of this support, however, has been the launch of the Back2Business program from Fiserv, which addresses the disproportionate impact of the pandemic and systemic hurdles faced by minority-owned small businesses in the U.S.
According to a McKinsey & Company study, minority-owned small businesses tend to face underlying issues that make it harder to run and scale successfully, and they are more likely to be concentrated in those industries most immediately affected by the pandemic.
We are using our Back2Business initiative to provide:
- Financial Support: Fiserv pledged $10 million to strengthen and support minority-owned businesses as they operate through the pandemic and prepare for what’s next. Businesses can apply for Back2Business support from Fiserv, and each selected business will receive a monetary grant and small business technology.
- Small Business Coaching: Our Back2Business program is deploying teams of small business consultants into heavily impacted communities. These experts are meeting safely with small businesses so they can better understand their needs and identify how they can help and take action – even if that action is as straightforward as enabling contactless payments in-store, or if it involves a complex technology overhaul and infusion of capital.
- Community Partnerships: We are investing in community partnerships like local chambers of commerce and small business incubators, connecting those partners to small businesses to ensure that they have the resources they need to succeed and thrive long-term.
The impact our Back2Business program is having on small businesses across the country has been truly inspirational. And the enhanced support Fiserv has dedicated to small businesses amid a global pandemic is helping to stabilize the local communities where we all live and work.