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Bringing support to small businesses

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.

During the pandemic, however, some small business owners had to adapt and find new ways to operate during the crisis in order to stay afloat. At Capgemini we made the most of our talent to offer our support. Here, three colleagues talk about how they participated.

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

“We spend our days doing consulting work for large companies, figuring out new solutions to the unique problems they have. But the small businesses that make our neighborhoods, like the bodega down the street or the barbershop, never have access to anything like a consulting agency. So, we decided to 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.”

The Innovator’s Response has since been 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,” says Tom.

KeepSmallStrong

KeepSmallStrong offers strategic guidance to small businesses across America, and helps them market themselves better on their website and social media channels. 
 
Richard Lyons, CEO and President at Lyons Consulting Group, a Capgemini company, and Adam Grohs, Founder at agnoStack, share one such story. 

“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 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 this time round, we all came together to do something to help small businesses to survive. We worked tirelessly, including through the night, for days, to launch KeepSmallStrong as fast as was humanly possible. Since then, it’s just been an incredible collective effort.”

One of KeepSmallStrong’s success stories is a bakery in Miami. They got them up and running with a new website to sell online, as well as sell on a nationwide basis for the first time. In their first weeks online, the bakery did around 300 orders. A couple of weeks later, 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.

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 Oslo, Bergen, and Stavanger.

Hans Haugli, creative director at Idean, part of Capgemini Invent, says: “One of our designers in Bergen had an idea for how to support her local shops – and that turned into this platform. We invite shops to register, and tell their story about what they are doing in 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.”

One example, through Oslo for Oslo, is Cupcake and Pie, a small bakery in Mathallen that makes everything from scratch with local ingredients. City for City is proud to bring visibility to businesses like these to help them survive – and prosper.

“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,” says Hans. “City for City supports healthy communities, bringing services with the ability to scale. We want it to become a permanent go-to place for anything local, in support of the growth and wellbeing of local businesses.”

A new chapter

Interventions such as these offer an opportunity to change the trajectory of local businesses around the globe. As the need for small businesses to adapt continues, so too will our efforts to bring the right solutions, and support the community in which we operate.

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