Lowe’s and Shark Tank star want entrepreneurs to “Make it”
Lowe's and Daymond John, star of ABC's Shark Tank, have formed a new partnership aimed at creating opportunities for diverse small businesses.
Making it… With Lowe's is inviting hundreds of entrepreneurs to break through traditional processes and pitch their products directly to Lowe's for a chance to be sold on Lowes.com and in Lowe's physical stores.
From Sept. 15 through Sept. 25, diverse small business owners can apply on Lowes.com/MakingItWithLowes. After Lowe's identifies an initial 375 small businesses, the pool will narrow to 75 who will be invited to submit more in-depth stories via video.
The search will culminate in a one-day virtual pitch challenge hosted by Daymond John where five diverse small business owners will pitch their product "live" to Lowe's President and CEO Marvin Ellison and other executives for the chance to become a Making It… With Lowe's small business partner.
John will mentor the group as they prepare for their big pitch.
Lowe's is encouraging innovative, startup suppliers who offer retail products in both home improvement and non-traditional home improvement product categories to apply.
Categories being considered include farm and ranch equipment, microban or antimicrobial products, accessible home, touchless products, home gardening, home décor products, and more.
"Making It... With Lowe's is giving these minority-owned businesses a much-deserved chance to shine while uncovering unique, smart products that will make Lowe's shelves even more appealing to customers," said John, who is also New York Times best selling author. "The pandemic has created a situation where business owners are constantly pivoting and deepening their creativity and problem-solving abilities, especially minority-owned businesses who have more at stake, more to lose. I can't wait to get started."
Lowe’s said that today's announcement builds its commitment to diversity and inclusion.
In July, the home improvement retailer more than doubled its small business grant program to $55 million, providing much-needed financial relief to minority-, women-owned and rural small businesses. The donation has fueled emergency grants in historically underserved communities to help small business owners navigate challenges during the pandemic.
"When Lowe's introduced our grant program for minority-, women- and rural-owned small businesses impacted by the pandemic earlier this year, we were humbled by the overwhelming response for the grants and we were impressed by the creativity, passion and vision from hundreds of thousands of applicants – and we instantly knew we wanted to do more," Ellison said. "Offering our customers greater access to products being created by diverse small business owners allows Lowe's digital and physical shelves nationwide to better reflect the diverse communities we serve and ensures our customers have access to the most innovative and valued home improvement products in the marketplace."
The finalists will be announced and featured on Lowes.com later this year, and the Making It … With Lowe's results will be revealed on Lowe's social channels in early 2021.