Amazon Unveils Small Business Academy to Help Third-Party Sellers Build Their Ecommerce Presence

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(Photo GeekWire)

Amazon today announced a new set of courses and programs to help small businesses make money selling goods online, at a time when the tech giant is cracking down on outside groups claiming to have the formula for success on its e-commerce platform.

The new Amazon Small Business Academy includes in-person seminars, community college classes, and webinars. Amazon is hosting its first Small Business Seminar today in Southaven, Mississippi, near Memphis, a free event where it will give sellers information and best practices on starting and growing e-commerce businesses.

Amazon said the next seminar will be in December, but it didn’t give a location. Through grants, Amazon is supporting the launch of digital business courses in February at Houston community colleges; Boston; Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Elyria, Ohio; Fresno, California; and Lakewood, Colorado.

“Small businesses make up 99.9% of American businesses, employ nearly 60 million people, and are the backbone of our economy. Many of them have told us they want help and advice on leveraging the power of the internet and digital business, especially in rural areas,” said Nicholas Denissen, Vice President of Amazon Small Business, in a statement. “Amazon Small Business Academy is focused on accelerating the digital capabilities of small businesses, whether it’s a brand new business or one that’s been in business for generations.”

Third-party sellers, many of which are small businesses, account for about 58% of Amazon’s online store sales. In the third quarter, Amazon’s online stores brought in more than $35 billion in revenue.

Amazon said it was spending $15 billion this year alone on initiatives to help third-party sellers boost their businesses. The company released over 150 tools in 2019 designed to boost small and medium businesses on the platform.

Amazon has invested significant time and resources in preventing several groups from offering expensive seminars that the tech giant has called “get-rich-quick schemes,” allegedly scamming aspiring sellers out of thousands of dollars. Last month, Amazon sued a group of e-commerce “coaches” teaching seminars to help businesses earn “passive income” on Amazon. In the past, Amazon has partnered with the Washington State Attorney General and other government agencies in cases against groups that claimed to have insider knowledge of best practices for selling on the giant’s platform. technology.

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