eBay announces small business grants to boost income amid cost-of-living crisis

eBay UK has announced the latest recipients of its Business Roadshow grants, aimed at helping small businesses to accelerate their growth.

In total, 138 businesses have been awarded a combined £280,000 worth of cash grants and support packages, made available to small business applicants that attended eBay’s ongoing nationwide Business Roadshows.

The announcement comes as eBay’s Global Small and Medium Business Report revealed how its British sellers are using eBay to try to navigate the cost-of-business crisis. The report found that a third of its UK sellers said they started their online business because they wanted to supplement their existing income, and more than a quarter had used income from the site to help them pay a bill or pay off debt.

One such seller, and a recipient of an eBay Business Roadshow grant worth £5,000, is Cumbria-based Handpicked Penrith. Owner Heather Cleghorn partnered with a local company that disposed of previously-worn clothing, and began to sell secondhand apparel during the first lockdown. Her eBay sales have now allowed Heather to open her first bricks and mortar store, and she is passionate about educating people on the impact of fast fashion.

Handpicked Penrith is just one of many small businesses who credit eBay with them getting off the ground, with the Global SMB Report also revealing that a quarter of its UK sellers say their business would not exist without the site.

Sarah Bryant, Director of Small Businesses at eBay UK, said: “Britain’s bustling community of small businesses play a vital role in the economy and make up the vast majority of our seller network, but there’s no hiding from the fact that many are facing an exceptionally challenging trading environment at present.

“Our Business Roadshow grants and support packages are not just about funding – we’re doing everything we can to make it easier for small businesses to succeed, including providing expert advice and one-to-one mentoring. As our research and Heather’s story show, having the right encouragement, support, and empowerment to turn your passion into a thriving business can make a real difference.”

Michelle Ovens CBE, founder of Small Business Britain added: “In the face of these extraordinary economic challenges, small businesses need all the help they can get. The UK’s recovery will be powered by small businesses, so it is fantastic that eBay is awarding this financial support to so many small businesses across the country. The wider eBay Business Roadshow and ongoing trading advice and guidance also offers invaluable support to many small businesses, allowing them to compete and win in the crucial festive retail period.”

Heather Cleghorn, from Handpicked Penrith, said: “Having started a small business on the side whilst I was employed, eBay allowed me to fully give up my job in 2019 so that I could sell full time and spend more time with my family. Lockdown initially threw me a huge curveball, with availability of my original products – toys and homewares – disappearing almost overnight. Thankfully I was able to pivot quickly to selling secondhand clothing, and this became a rapid education on the impact of fast fashion. This was only possible through eBay, and I’m so thankful that I can now help to spread this message with the wider online community too.”

Throughout 2022, eBay has brought its Business Roadshow to nine towns and cities across the UK, with three more to come in 2023. The events feature stories from inspiring entrepreneurs along with bespoke advice from eBay experts to help sellers get the most from their online businesses.