If you’re an entrepreneur whose small business happens to use Ball brand home canning products, here’s a way to earn a little extra cash during difficult times.
A new Ball-sponsored campaign called the Made For More Small Business Fund is offering $10,000 to 10 businesses who can describe, in 500 words or less, how they are giving back to their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how they have incorporated Ball products in their business. The brand is known for its rustic glass jars that are a favorite among bakers, cooks, and craft-makers everywhere. In addition to the cash, selected businesses will also receive promotion through social media and additional access to the brand’s executives.
To help spread the word, Ball has enlisted the help of Christina Tosi, founder of Milk Bar, who said it was one of the more “meaningful” funds she’s been involved with this year. “It’s a pretty cool program, especially during a season of gifting and craftiness,” Tosi tells Fast Company.
Although the grants are modest, Tosi notes that even a few extra thousand dollars can go a long way to help a small business get through challenging times. She should know. When she founded her dessert company in November 2008, the world was plunging into the what was then the worst economy since the Great Depression. “It was right middle of the economic crisis that was,” she says. “Now it’s a different type of battle scar.”
While trying to keep a business open during a global pandemic presents challenges that are unique to this moment, Tosi says the entrepreneurial drive to forge ahead in the face of overwhelming obstacles is similar in any crisis, and that determination will often manifest in whatever way the moment demands. As an example, she cites how restaurant owners in New York City responded to indoor dining restrictions by building seating areas on the sidewalks and streets—often employing creative design solutions to make the spaces workable and comfortable.
“It’s that gritty lens you have to have to succeed as an entrepreneur,” Tosi says. “A lot of things I did during the early days of Milk Bar with the team were just whatever it took to stay alive and keep the doors open.”
The Made For More program launched this week and continues through January 31. It’s open to any U.S. small business owner with 99 employees or less. You can check out the full details here.