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Amazon introduces education initiative for smaller sellers

School is in session for independent businesses trying to grow sales on Amazon.

Amazon is launching Amazon Small Business Academy, a U.S. initiative that aims to help thousands of small-to-mid-sized businesses (SMBs) succeed online through in-person seminars, live webinars, and community college classes.

The e-tail titan is hosting its first Amazon Small Business Academy event on Friday, Nov. 1 in Southaven, Miss. The free seminar will feature special guest speaker U.S. Sen. Roger F. Wicker (R-Miss.) and provide more than 100 attendees with insights, best practices, and how-to skills to start and grow a business online, or expand an existing business on the internet. The company’s next Amazon Small Business Academy seminar will be held in December, with more events planned for 2020.

The Amazon Small Business Academy program also includes a grant to the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) to help fund curriculum development and instruction of digital business courses in community college classrooms around the country. The classes will cover the fundamentals of online business strategies, marketing, merchandising, inventory management, and more. 

The curriculum will provide sixteen hours of beginner, intermediate and advanced content, created in collaboration with NACCE and the program’s lead schools: Lorain County Community College in Elyria, Ohio and North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Classes will begin in February 2020 at the lead schools, as well as Bunker Hill Community College in Boston; State Center Community College District in partnership with Fresno City College, in Fresno, Calif.; Houston Community College in Houston; and Red Rocks Community College in Lakewood, Colo.

The Amazon Small Business Academy program also offers webinars to help current and aspiring small business owners throughout the country gain digital skills. The online seminars will provide best practices for successful selling in Amazon stores and include live Q&A with experts.  Registration is open for an initial webinar here.

“Small businesses make up 99.9% of U.S. businesses, employ almost 60 million people, and are the backbone of our economy,” said Nicholas Denissen, Amazon VP of small business. We’ve heard from many of them that they want help and guidance to take advantage of the power of the internet and digital business, particularly in rural areas. Amazon Small Business Academy is focused on accelerating small business’ digital capabilities, whether they are a brand new company or one that has been in business for generations.”

Since the beginning of 2019, Amazon says it has launched 150 tools and services as part of more than $15 billion it is on track to invest this year to better support SMB sellers in its stores. The e-tailer is making this investment as it reports SMBs made up 58% of all physical gross merchandise sold in Amazon’s stores in 2018, and SMB sales exceeded $2 billion on Prime Day in July 2019.

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