Applications open; selected businesses will gain access to QVC, HSN, and Zulily platforms and expertise reaching millions of customers with engaging video-based content and experiences
Qurate Retail Group and the National Retail Federation (NRF) Foundation are expanding their highly successful Small Business Spotlight initiative to support 100 entrepreneurs of diverse backgrounds in 2021. Through this program, Qurate Retail Group will provide the selected businesses with on-air and/or digital exposure and various other pro-bono in-kind services.
The program builds on Qurate Retail Group's longstanding foundation of supporting small businesses and reflects the company's and NRF Foundation's commitment to increasing opportunities for underrepresented groups. Over the years, Qurate Retail Group has helped multiple entrepreneurial brands become national and even international success stories through the power of live video storytelling, discovery-driven shopping experiences, and loyal customer community-building.
"Our brands' reach across traditional linear TV, digital platforms, and social media-based livestreaming is unrivalled and gives us an extraordinary ability to bring together large communities of highly engaged shoppers around shared interests," said Mike George, President and CEO, Qurate Retail, Inc. "Through the Small Business Spotlight, we are extending our impact far beyond the many entrepreneurial businesses in our vendor base. We're proud to offer special support to local small businesses and their communities."
Throughout 2021, QVC US, HSN, and Zulily – which reach more than 90 million homes in the U.S. via broadcast channels and millions more via digital and social platforms – will promote selected small businesses during heritage and recognition months, including Black History Month (February), Women's History Month (March), National Military Appreciation Month (May), Pride Month (June), National Hispanic Heritage Month (September), and National Disability Employment Awareness Month (October). All participating businesses will be profiled on QVC.com and HSN.com and will receive PR support. In addition:
• Businesses selected for on-air exposure will be featured in several 2-4-minute live segments on QVC and HSN, with the repackaged video also shared on QVC's and HSN's social pages and streaming service. These businesses will also have an opportunity to participate in a virtual mentorship program with Qurate Retail Group team members.
• Businesses selected for digital exposure will receive social tools and resources to promote their participation.
• The Small Business Spotlight will also be amplified on Zulily's digital channels.
The application period opens today and closes February 26. To qualify, a business must meet the program's eligibility requirements, including:
- employing 100 or fewer workers,
- being 51 percent owned by an entrepreneur of a diverse background, and
- having an ecommerce capability and social media presence.
Due to planning and production requirements, featured small businesses for Black History Month and Women's History Month have already been selected. More details on eligibility and criteria, as well as the application link, are available here.
Qurate Retail Group and the NRF Foundation launched the Small Business Spotlight in May 2020 to help small businesses challenged by COVID-19. The first 20 participating businesses received on-air interview segments, repackaged video on QVC and HSN streaming services, email marketing, social posts, and website exposure. In a follow-up survey, more than 80% of businesses saw increases in online sales and new customers. The second phase of the Small Business Spotlight, conducted from August through October, featured 40 Black-owned businesses. More than half of all small businesses featured in the 2020 Small Business Spotlight also opted in to participate in virtual mentoring.
"Given the many challenges posed by 2020, the Small Business Spotlight program created a lifeline for small businesses like mine," said April McClung, owner of Emily's Heirloom Poundcakes in Birmingham, Ala. "We were able to reach millions of customers across the country, who would have never known about us, with our unique brand story. The exposure and support generated increased sales and engagement that turned our year around. During a period of so many unknowns and hardships for the small business community, it was truly inspiring to experience this support and encouragement firsthand."
"In 2020, we were inspired by the stories of small business owners across America who continue to serve as the backbone of their communities despite challenges brought on by the pandemic," said Matthew Shay, President and CEO of the National Retail Federation. "NRF and the NRF Foundation are proud to expand our partnership with Qurate Retail Group to help even more small businesses break down the barriers to growth with the program and platform that will allow them to reach new customers in 2021."