Giving Small Businesses the World--While Keeping Jobs Close to Home

by Chris Librie, Head of Global Impact and Giving, eBay
Mar 29, 2018 9:45 AM ET
Campaign: Retail Revival

Originally published on Sustainable Brands

"It means more jobs. People can live where they work. People can enjoy their community–and also make money–while being part of a global community and economy that’s never been possible before." That’s how Grace Kontur, founder of Kontur Wood Works, describes the impact of complementing the brick-and-mortar businesses she owns with her father and brother with selling on eBay.

Grace’s family business is one of more than a hundred small businesses participating in an economic development pilot we call Retail Revival. It’s an initiative that aims to harness the power of technology and eBay’s global marketplace to support and grow local business communities.
Through Retail Revival, we are working with the city of Akron and other partners to identify promising local retail businesses and onboard them to eBay, providing store set-up support and ongoing training. The Akron pilot is our first in the U.S., but it builds on similar–and highly successful–programs we’ve executed in communities in Europe.
Selling online isn’t new. eBay has been making it happen for more than two decades. Today millions of active sellers and 170M+ active buyers transact on eBay. Technology makes it possible for people from anywhere in the world to connect with people from everywhere. This people-to-people connection is the secret sauce.  
As eBay President and CEO Devin Wenig says it, "We have a humanistic vision of what technology can do. It isn’t about the drones and the robots. It’s about people. It’s about small businesses. It’s about using technology to make people competitive and vibrant and to put life into communities, and not take it out."
And that brings us back to Akron. A city known for its rich manufacturing history, particularly in rubber tires, has a burgeoning entrepreneurial community and strong downtown revitalization plan. Retail Revival aims to strengthen both, keeping people living, working and playing in Akron, while bringing Akron’s offerings–like Grace’s custom wood furnishings–to the world.
I hope you’ll join me at SB’18 Vancouver where I’ll be sharing more about how these already great local businesses are becoming even better local + global businesses—and in the process, redesigning a good life for themselves and for the people in their community.