• Market Crumbs

Lowe's Tries Its Own "Shark Tank"

Image via Frank Busch on Unsplash

Since the coronavirus outbreak began earlier this year, Lowe's has stepped up on a handful of occasions to help individuals and businesses in the communities it operates.

In March, Lowe's announced $25 million in coronavirus aid, including $10 million to provide PPE to medical professionals, while also issuing $80 million in special payments to its employees. Lowe's also has committed $55 million in grants to assist minority-owned businesses, women-owned businesses and rural small businesses since May.

Lowe's even offered drive-in movie screenings in its parking lots and took donations for local small business, matching all donations 2-for-1 up to $50,000.

As part of its latest move to support communities and small businesses affected by the coronavirus, Lowe's is taking a page out of the TV show "Shark Tank." After receiving more than 800,000 applications for the grants since May, Lowe's wanted to give small businesses a chance to get their products on Lowe's shelves via its "Making It… With Lowe's" contest.

"The demand from this program led us to understand that there’s a lot more that we should be doing," Lowe's CEO Marvin Ellison said. "So we came up with an idea to try to get more products on our shelves and on Lowes.com that originate from diverse entrepreneurs."

Lowe's will invite small businesses to pitch their products to a panel judged by Lowe’s executives and hosted by Daymond John of "Shark Tank." Lowe's is aiming to help up to 375 small businesses by offering shelf space, marketing or mentoring.

"Although we're a big company, we're fortunate to be classified as an essential business, we understand that the success of our broader macro economy is going to be the small businesses and the ability for small businesses to continue to grow and thrive," Ellison said. "We understand that Covid-19 has created an incredible strain on the economic viability of many of these small businesses. We are, as a large company, doing our best to help."

The biggest difference from "Shark Tank," however, is that Lowe's won't be taking a stake in the businesses that end up getting their products on store shelves. Registration for the competition is open now and closes on September 25. Leftover Crumbs

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