Digital Main Street Partner Spotlight: How Mastercard is giving small businesses the tools they need
As a founding partner of Digital Main Street, Mastercard has been instrumental in helping small businesses across Ontario digitally transform.
How does Mastercard work to support small businesses?
Small businesses are the foundation of our economy and the pillars of communities around the world. Mastercard has a proud history of supporting small businesses in Canada and now, more than ever, it’s vital that they be protected. We are putting our network, insights, products and technology solutions, and partnerships to work for small businesses.
Mastercard and MLSE partnered to support local business and local front-line workers
Mastercard has committed $250 million of financial, technology, product and insight assets over the next five years to small businesses in North America and across the globe, supporting the financial security and vitality of businesses and their workers. Last year, we enabled increased contactless payment limits across the country as customers embraced safer touch-free ways to pay. We also launched resources such as the Mastercard Trust Centre to connect small businesses in Canada to cybersecurity tools and best practices to secure their digital ecosystem.
We’re also working with small business focused partners, like Digital Main Street to provide the ShopHERE program offering free of charge to small business owners to build their website and social media pages. We also understand how important cybersecurity is for small businesses, and offer support with cyber-related activities, or accessing capital, or just moving storefronts online. Whether an SME or an organization’s small business customer is going digital for the first time, or working to protect their established digital environment, our products, resources and support ensure an efficient and secure online presence.
As we move towards a time of recovery, Mastercard will continue to review how we can show up for small businesses by focusing on solutions that help with short- and long-term needs. We will continue to do our part to ensure that our small businesses are protected and come out stronger on the other side of this crisis.
What changes have you seen this year with respect to SMBs and digital adoption?
Though still challenging, starting a digitally-native small business or shifting an existing one online has never been easier, even despite economic hardships from a global health crises. As the marketplace continues accelerating its shift to digital, we are seeing technology expand to be able to support these ventures, further fueling entrepreneurial opportunity. According to the latest Recovery Insights report from the Mastercard Economics Institute that focused on small businesses, the number of businesses going online for the first time each month tripled in 2020, spiking the highest in July 2020. This reflected increased demand by SMBs for an online sales channel, as well as the slight lag post lockdowns to bring it into reality. The rate of existing businesses expanding into digital for the first time has persisted at an elevated level globally ever since.
Are there any trends you would want to make sure an SMB owner was paying attention to?
Despite digital adoption, according to the report, physical location played a huge part as well for small business recovery. Spending at retail small businesses in central business districts—which have seen fewer commuters given the rise in working from home—remains down 33% compared to pre-pandemic levels, while SMBs in the suburbs are up 8% relative to 2019 levels. However, there is definitely some widespread optimism to be had, as the number of new small and medium sized business in Canada grew by 58% in 2020 versus 2019.
What is one piece of advice above and beyond anything mentioned that you would want to provide for SMB's generally?
Since the pandemic, the way we shop, bank, socialize, and work evolved — and so did the strategies of cyber criminals. With the increased number of small businesses going online for the first time in 2020, we want to emphasize the importance of prioritizing the protection of their online operations against an increasing volume of cyberattacks. As more small businesses go digital, we are here to support and help protect their online operations with cybersecurity resources, tools and best practices so they can best secure their digital ecosystem.