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Minority Business and Technology Initiative - FAQs


  • What is MBTI?
    The Minority Business and Technology Initiative (MBTI) is a collaboration between Amazon Business (AB) and the U.S. Department of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) that seeks to accelerate the inclusion of minority owned enterprises (MBEs) in ecommerce and to improve the use of digital technology for domestic and global sales.

    The goal of the MBTI is to provide minority-owned business sellers in the United States with the information and resources they need to grow their company online by learning how to harness the power of e-commerce on Amazon Business and reach millions of customers, build their brand, and grow sales domestically and internationally.

    The MBTI will offer in-person seminars in collaboration with the national network of MBDA Business Centers, major national stakeholder events, as well as mentorship opportunities, webinars with AB experts and access to additional resources offered by AB and MBDA.

  • Why are Amazon Business and MBDA launching this?
    We hear from our customers in Commercial, Education, Healthcare, State/Local government, U.S. exporters, manufacturers and other product driven industry sectors that supporting diverse business suppliers is a key tenet to their domestic and global supply chain strategies. After a yearlong pilot to test, gather feedback and learn, MBDA and AB launched the MBTI. This initiative will provide MBEs access to new resources and innovative tools to help promote their success with e-commerce and reduce barriers to entry to new customers. We are encouraged by the feedback from the pilot and continue to listen to participants to constantly innovate on their behalf.

  • When does the Minority Business and Technology Initiative (MBTI) program start?
    A multi-city launch is scheduled to begin this Spring. Additional information on event dates and registration may be found at www.mbda.gov/MBTI.

  • Do I have to be a client of an MBDA Business Center to apply/participate?
    Anyone can participate in the “How To” seminars and training sessions to learn more about how to become a seller. However, they must have an approved product to sell on Amazon Business. For MBEs or any other small business who would like to become a seller in the Amazon Business store, there is a standard vetting process to becoming a seller on Amazon. Learn more at www.mbda.gov/MBTI.

  • Is this program linked with some kind of “business certification”?
    No certifications are required to sell on Amazon Business (AB) but this can help when customers are trying to purchase from a specific type of small/minority-owned business.

  • What are the criteria for participating? Can anyone join the program?
    Anyone can participate in the “How To” seminars and training sessions to learn more about how to become a seller. However, they must have an approved product to sell on Amazon Business. For MBEs or any other small business who would like to become a seller in the Amazon Business store, there is a standard vetting process to becoming a seller on Amazon. Learn more at www.mbda.gov/MBTI.

  • Is this program open to sellers who offer business services as well as products on Amazon Business?
    At this time, products will be the focus.

  • What if a seller does not meet the criteria?
    If a prospective seller does not meet the criteria, they will be encouraged to visit Amazon Launchpad at www.amazon.com/launchpad where they can learn more about frequently asked questions regarding the criteria for selling on Amazon and best practices for selling in Amazon stores, upcoming interactive webinars designed for sellers and upcoming information sessions on establishing an account to become an Amazon seller.

  • Is there a cost associated with participating in the Initiative for MBEs? If so, how much and what is all included in the program?
    There is no cost to participate in the program; however, there is a cost for selling products on Amazon Business. More than 20 categories are open for selling on Amazon; products in these categories can be listed without specific permission from Amazon. Some categories only allow listings for new products. Some categories have additional guidelines that sellers must follow.

    • The professional seller plan gives the opportunity to sell an unlimited number of products for a $39.99 monthly subscription fee.
    • And, sellers pay a referral fee on each item sold. Items in several categories have a per-item minimum referral fee (i.e., sellers pay the greater of the referral fee or the per-item minimum referral fee). View details on Amazon about referral fees here.
Published on: 16/03/2020