In advance of Small Business Saturday, a day to celebrate and support the small businesses in your neighborhood, we reached out to Vivian Greentree, SVP, Head of Global Corporate Citizenship, at Fiserv to better understand their focus on small businesses as part of their social impact strategy. Fiserv, an active member of the Points of Light Corporate Service Council, supports small businesses in many ways and encourages other businesses and consumers to do same knowing that, when you “shop small,” a significant portion of your spend stays in that community and supports the small business owner, their employees and the local economy – making it a boon for all.
The following has been edited for brevity and clarity.
How and why does Fiserv invest in and support small businesses?
A: Fiserv views and supports small business as a vital engine to our communities both locally and globally. In order for us to provide best-in-class support for businesses from Wall Street to Main Street, Fiserv offers breadth and depth for businesses with Clover technology at the center of small business solutions. Small businesses are especially important to Fiserv, because we believe small businesses are the heartbeat of communities.
How does this work support Fiserv’s CSR strategy?
A: Fiserv’s Back2Business program is part of our commitment to be a platform for good while creating meaningful and positive impact in communities through commerce and connectivity. We have committed to investing $50 million into the small business ecosystem, connecting businesses to vital education, coaching, and capital.
How has Fiserv’s support for small businesses helped advance DEI initiatives and priorities?
A: To date, there have been nearly 1,800 small, diverse businesses that have received a Fiserv Back2Business grant. We’ve hosted pop-ups with over 90 small, diverse businesses purchasing their products and services in partnership with our employee resource group programming and events. We have also invested more than $10M in community partners who are working directly with and for small businesses. Through collaboration with community partners, we can expand our reach and create sustainable, scalable inclusive change. Additionally, we are always willing to share best practices with other organizations to ensure that we are all lifting each other up and getting better together.
How has Fiserv incorporated this work into their business strategy to “do well by doing good”?
A: We are intentional about building inclusivity and access into commerce. In addition to grants, we have expanded the B2B program to include pop-ups, where we purchase products and services from small, diverse businesses for a variety of events and functions. By doing this, we support their business holistically. And we are working with our Minority Deposit Institution (MDI) clients to addresses challenges for minority-owned banks by expanding their access capital and technology capabilities, again supporting the entire small, diverse business ecosystem and infrastructure holistically.
How have you engaged employees and ERGs as part of your work supporting small businesses?
A: All our team members have the opportunity to engage and be immersed into our small business experiences through grant events, pop-ups, marketplaces, through corporate matching campaigns, collaborative community partnerships and through internal and external meetings where we feature Back2Business partners’ products. Our ERGs host programming that incorporates small businesses though Learn and Engage sessions, virtual marketplaces, and Back2Business pop-ups. This year, for example, our Hispanic and Latino Leadership Council, Juntos, purchased t-shirts from Triple Nikel, a Veteran and Hispanic-owned business to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month while Soar, our Black Associate Council, purchased puzzles from Dope Puzzle Pieces, a Black-owned, woman-owned business to help celebrate Black Business Month in August.
What metrics and stories illustrate the impact and success of your programs?
A: We intentionally expand small business opportunities, access, and exposure through client engagement and community investment. Clover, our small business operating system, enables a fully digital ecosystem of integrated solutions with a portfolio of value-added services, open architecture, and 3rd party integrations. External and internal metrics are provided around the number of grant recipients, small business pop-ups, newsletters, marketplaces, and through surveying grant recipients. In our 2023 survey of grant recipients, we found that 100% of the grant recipients stated the grant positively helped their business and 96% are still in business.
What advice would you give to other companies that may be interested in engaging small businesses in their network as part of their CSR strategy?
A: Organizations that are considering ways to foster a culture of inclusion and create a sense of belonging for their employees should explore all the ways their team members can get involved – through ERGs, through supply chain, through clients, and through the communities they live in. The benefits of incorporating a small business engagement strategy into a CSR approach includes market expansion, employee engagement, client engagement and loyalty, increases employee engagement, improves brand imaging, attracts investment opportunities, and makes a difference for bottom-line financials. Strong community partners, like Points of Light, are crucial to building an expansive and inclusive network of support and empowerment for the entire small business ecosystem.