Retail Revival: Empowering Small Businesses, Adding New Jobs in Baton Rouge
By: Steve Wymer, Senior Vice President & Chief Communications Officer and Chair, eBay Foundation
Baton Rouge is rising. Home to advanced manufacturing, a growing array of professional services, world-class engineering, and a truly entrepreneurial spirit; the city stands out as a place of opportunity. This foundation for economic growth is immersed in a dynamic and diverse culture where the extraordinary cuisine and art is matched only by the incredibly friendly nature of Baton Rouge’s residents. It’s exactly the kind of place eBay wants to be.
An iconic global brand, eBay is a purpose-driven company built on connecting people to do business together. Our platform powers millions of small businesses, allowing them to leverage cutting-edge technology to compete globally and grow locally. eBay is unique in that we don’t compete with our sellers – we bring the world within reach. Our success and growth is intertwined with theirs.
This past May, eBay’s President and CEO, Devin Wenig, and I had the chance to visit with Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome and other local leaders as we toured this dynamic community. Our time in Baton Rouge overwhelmingly confirmed what we already suspected to be true; Baton Rouge is a tremendous city with a rich history surpassed only by even more promising future. Through Mayor-President Broome’s leadership, Baton Rouge has cultivated one of the most diverse economies in the U.S. The city is transforming into a sustainable, equitable community for local residents and businesses alike, attracting millennial talent and applying innovative thinking and technology to better serve its residents.
It is for these reasons and more that eBay is investing in Baton Rouge. Our interests in the Capitol Region are very simple; we want to play a role in the bright future ahead. We are drawn to the entrepreneurial spirit and could not be more enthusiastic to plug the small businesses of Baton Rouge into the eBay platform to sell their products to buyers around the world.
After months of preparation since our initial visit, our eBay Retail Revival program officially launched this week in Baton Rouge. The program consists of comprehensive ecommerce business training, one-on-one coaching and marketing support for participants. Ultimately, we help small businesses find their place and thrive in a global economy by introducing their unique inventory to our 182 million customers around the world.
In addition to our support of small business in Baton Rouge, we also see exactly why the city is a leader in job creation – a distinction we are proud to support with the growth of our eBay@Home program. Through this work-from-home program, we are creating hundreds of remote, full-time customer service positions nationwide, including 40 right here in Baton Rouge. We’ve already filled over half of these positions, and recruiting is underway for an additional 20 hires, so job seekers are encouraged to apply. We’re excited to welcome our first Louisianans to the global family of eBay employees and we know their perspectives and experiences will make us a better company.
Ecommerce doesn’t have to be a disruptive force – it can in fact strengthen small businesses and communities. Our eBay Retail Revival program has become an exemplary model for how local municipalities and the private sector can work together to leverage technology as a driver of sustainable economic progress. We are immensely proud to be a technology platform that can supplement and enhance brick and mortar small businesses in local communities.
Sellers already participating in the program in the three other cities in the U.S. where we have launched are now shipping to all 50 US states and 151 countries, pointing to the staggering export opportunities eBay enables. Just 1 percent of small businesses in the U.S. export their products, reaching an average of four foreign markets a year; on eBay, fully 96 percent of small businesses export each year to an average of 17 foreign markets. In Louisiana, specifically, less than 1 percent of traditional local businesses export, reaching an average of just three markets, but 94 percent of Louisiana-based eBay small businesses are exporters, reaching an average 13 markets per year. This is a true win-win: small businesses dramatically expand their customer base, and our shoppers discover unique products from Louisiana and across the globe.
eBay introduced the world to ecommerce nearly 25 years ago. This bold vision was rooted in a bigger purpose – leveraging technology to create economic opportunity. We’ve grown into the world’s most empowering managed marketplace by staying true to our founding principle of championing small business and creating economic opportunity for anyone. We enable brave entrepreneurs who breathe life into their local economies. The opportunity to play an important role in Baton Rouge realizing your bright future is incredibly meaningful to our company. Let’s Geaux!
Applications to participate in Retail Revival are now open. Learn more and apply by Wednesday, August 21, at ebayinc.com/BatonRouge.