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Bringing support to small business

Bringing support to small business

Capgemini colleagues help local businesses adapt to COVID-19

Operating a small business is an ambitious endeavor. It takes bravery to build your own future, and this bravery is what brings innovation and growth to our communities.

That’s why it’s important to keep these businesses afloat. During the pandemic, however, small business owners are finding it difficult to do just that. Yet, they are adapting and finding new ways to operate during the crisis. With support, they can come back even stronger than before.

Capgemini recognizes how critical it is to protect small businesses and is making the most of its talent to offer pro-bono support during the pandemic. We spoke with three colleagues about the work they’re doing to help local businesses adapt during this time; Tom Abraham with The Innovator’s Response, Richard Lyons and Adam Grohs with KeepSmallStrong, and Hans Haugli with City for City.

The Innovator’s Response

The Innovator’s Response offers strategic guidance to small business owners including how to leverage content, digital marketing, and social media to reach target audiences.

Can you tell us about the initiative you started to help small businesses?

Tom Abraham, engagement manager at Fahrenheit 212, part of Capgemini Invent: “Living in New York City, we saw firsthand how so many buildings were boarded up overnight; the big box stores and banks and chain restaurants. But the small businesses that are struggling most to stay afloat tried to keep their doors open, as they had no other options. And we just felt that we have to do something to help them.

“We spend our days doing consulting work for large companies, figuring out new solutions to unique problems that they have.

Nancy Traversy, Barefoot Books, US
Nancy Traversy, Barefoot Books, US

“But the small businesses that make our neighborhoods, like the bodega down the street or the barbershop, they would never have access to anything like a consulting agency. So, we offer free strategy support, whether that’s helping people figure out how to sell things online for the first time, or helping retail stores figure out a new business model to do curbside pickup or curbside takeout.

“We’re helping small businesses like Barefoot Books, an independent children’s publisher, to part from their traditional sales channels in order to leverage digital marketing and social media.

“The world is bigger than our neighborhood, it’s all of our neighborhoods that are affected, and we want to help keep all of our communities going during this time.”


KeepSmallStrong offers strategic guidance and also helps promote small businesses on their website and social media channels.

How did your initiative to help small businesses get started?

Richard Lyons, CEO & President at Lyons Consulting Group, a Capgemini company, and Adam Grohs, Founder at agnoStack: “We reached out to a handful of close friends, former colleagues, and former competitors, sharing the message that if we could get five volunteers from here and five volunteers from there, imagine the industry collective of support we could provide. Within 24 hours we had about a dozen people across different companies involved, and within 48 hours we had almost two dozen!

“Every one of us has fiercely competed for work against each other through the years, but we all wanted to do something to help the small businesses we all love to survive. We worked tirelessly, through the night, for a couple of days to launch KeepSmallStrong as fast as humanly possible.

Carolina Morea, L’Artisane Creative Bakery, US
Carolina Morea, L’Artisane Creative Bakery, US

“One of our success stories is a bakery in Miami. We got them up and running with a new website to sell online, plus the ability to do nationwide fulfillment for the first time. In their first weeks online, they did around 300 orders. Within a couple of weeks, they were running so many orders online that they had to bring back their entire staff. They’ve since reopened the bakery and may even need to expand to a larger facility.

“It’s been an incredible, collective effort. We’re just happy to be part of this, it’s really been amazing seeing everyone come together.”

City for City

City for City creates city-specific websites to help highlight local small businesses, amplified by their respective social media channels. Currently, they operate in OsloBergen, and Stavanger.

How does City for City help to foster a sense of community for small businesses?

Hans Haugli, creative director at Idean, part of Capgemini Invent: “One of our designers in Bergen had an idea for how to support her local shops around where she lived and worked and that turned into this platform. We invite shops to register and tell their story about what they were doing in this social lockdown period to keep on delivering their goods and services, and we highlight their company for free on our websites and social media channels.

Inger Marie Nordgård and Pierre Chinniah, Cupcake and Pie, Norway
Inger Marie Nordgård and Pierre Chinniah, Cupcake and Pie, Norway

“For example, through Oslo for Oslo, we’re featuring Cupcake and Pie. They’re a small bakery in Mathallen that makes everything from scratch with local ingredients. We’re proud to bring visibility to businesses like these.

“We want to raise awareness for local businesses, goods, and services, and to make it easy for people to choose local when they need to buy something. City for City supports healthy communities, a service with the ability to scale and become a permanent go-to place for anything local, supporting the growth and wellbeing of local businesses.”

A new chapter for small business

Interventions such as these offer an opportunity to change the trajectory of local businesses around the globe. As small business continues to change, so too will the solutions that Capgemini team members continue to explore and support, giving small businesses a better chance at success now and in the future.