Verizon aims to help 1 million small businesses, makes $10M commitment

BASKING RIDGE, N.J. - As small business owners across the country continue to face uncertainty amid the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Verizon announces a number of initiatives to support their recovery and aid in their survival through the pandemic and beyond. The company is committing $10 million to provide grants to small businesses through LISC, a national nonprofit that invests in affordable housing, economic development, health, education and jobs nationwide, and will launch a customized multi-week training program for small business owners and entrepreneurs, offering tools, technology and resources. These initiatives are part of Citizen Verizon, the company’s responsible business plan for economic, social and environmental advancement.

“For small business owners today, we know that opening a digital front door is as important as a physical one,” said Tami Erwin, CEO of Verizon Business. “This multi-year effort underscores the role financial assistance, technology and training will play in rebuilding small businesses for both short-term and long-term economic recovery.”

To kick off the program, Verizon is producing The Big Concert for Small Business, the ultimate after-party for Super Bowl LV on Sunday, February 7 at 11:00 p.m. ET. Hosted by Tiffany Haddish and featuring performances by Alicia Keys, Brandi Carlile, Brittany Howard, Christina Aguilera, Eric Church, H.E.R., Jazmine Sullivan, Luke Bryan and Miley Cyrus, the concert will be livestreamed on Yahoo, Fios, @Verizon on Twitter, Twitch, YouTube and TikTok, and broadcasted on BET, CBS Sports Network, CMT, MTV2 and MTV Live, as well as aired on iHeart and Sirius. The event is curated and produced by Roc Nation.

"Small businesses are so important and we need to do whatever we can to keep them alive; our communities can't recover without them,” said Alicia Keys. “I’m excited to be partnering with Verizon and the rest of these amazing artists to not only be able to take the stage and bring that good music and light but to do it for such a meaningful cause.”

“When we launched Pay It Forward Live, the weekly entertainment series that supported small businesses last March, we had no idea the need for help would still be so critical almost a year later,” said Diego Scotti, CMO, Verizon. “We made magic happen by collaborating with the entertainment industry and mobilizing the public, impacting thousands of businesses. We’re doing it again, in an even bigger way, with the Big Concert for Small Business, bringing people together after Super Bowl LV to help the small businesses that are the heart of the American economy.”

Verizon’s training program will provide in-depth assistance through end-to-end resources - including curriculum, mentorship, networking and incentives, such as 5G products and services and connection to affordable capital - with the goal of engaging 100,000 businesses per year. Full details will be available in May. For the latest information, please visit

To rally support, Verizon is asking the public to share what local small businesses they can't live without. From February 1-7, individuals can tag their favorite small business on Twitter using #BigConcertSmallBiz for a virtual spotlight during Verizon’s Big Concert for Small Business. Verizon is also supporting a text-to-give campaign. Wireless users on any carrier can text SMALLBIZ to 20222 to make a one-time donation of $10 to LISC.

As 5G technology continues to advance, Verizon is helping small business owners realize the potential of 5G to revolutionize the way they operate, increasing productivity and lowering operational costs. In a recent Verizon Business 5G Enterprise Report, 63% of small business decision makers felt that businesses that do not adopt 5G will fall behind their peers. Additionally, nearly a third (31%) are either currently or planning to, within the next six months, provide employees an allowance or stipend to upgrade their wireless device and service to 5G.

Coinciding with Super Bowl LV, Verizon Business has partnered with select small businesses in Tampa and other markets to empower them with connectivity, security and support with the power of Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network. This program will provide small businesses with customized Verizon Business connectivity, tools and products to digitally transform their businesses and help them navigate today’s business landscape.

These efforts to impact the long-term survival of small businesses and the kick off concert the night of the game are part of Verizon's actions to bring the Super Bowl LV experience forward with 5G built right. After a year like no other, innovation to move the world forward and bring people together safely is more important than ever.

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