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Pinterest Announces New Support Program for Female-Owned Businesses as Part of Women’s History Month



Pinterest Announces New Support Program for Female-Owned Businesses as Part of Women's History Month

March is Women’s History Month, and Pinterest is marking the occasion with a new support announcement that will see ten female-owned businesses receive funding, training and more as part of its Pinterest Elevates program.

The funding will also be focused on those from underrepresented communities – as explained by Pinterest:

Stemming from our core mission to create a platform that builds a sense of belonging, Pinterest Elevates offers both monetary and strategic support to help uplift business owners of color, with disabilities, or part of the LGBTQ+ community.”

In line with this, Pinterest has selected a range of female-run businesses that will each get a share of $100,000 in total funding.

The selected businesses are:

  • Alder New York – Clean, vegan skincare for all skin types and genders
  • B.serene – Handmade crystal jewelry and accessories
  • Bison Star Naturals – Native-owned body care including lotions and soaps
  • Brown and Coconut – Minimal, vegan, plant-based skincare
  • Candid Art – Artisanal jewelry, Kids lifestyle brand influenced by the modern African Diaspora and cosmic geometry
  • Cocoacentric – Handmade and uniquely curated statement jewelry
  • Golde – BIPOC-owned superfood healthcare business
  • Hotsy Totsy Haus – Deaf-owned, woman-owned luxury bath and body brand specializing in handmade and small batch products
  • KLUR – Eco-inclusive botanicals made in California
  • Passport Polish – Latina-owned business selling unique nail polish

Each program participant will be given ad credits, while they’ll also be assigned a personal business coach to help guide their strategic development. Participants will also be offered platform-specific training, audience insights and more.

Pinterest first launched its Elevates program in 2020 to assist Black business owners that had been impacted by the pandemic. It’s since been able to provide assistance to over 55 brands, helping to improve equality and representation, and ensure minority-owned businesses are able to maximize their on-platform opportunities.

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You can learn more about the latest program participants, and the Elevates program more generally, here.


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Meta Announces WhatsApp Cloud API to Provide Hosting Support for SMBs



Meta Announces WhatsApp Cloud API to Provide Hosting Support for SMBs

After previewing the option back in 2020, today, at its first-ever ‘Conversations’ messaging conference, Meta has announced that it’s launching the WhatsApp Cloud API, which will provide free, secure cloud hosting services for businesses.

As it sounds, the WhatsApp Cloud API will essentially host your conversation data on Meta’s servers, which will improve connection and speed, but will come with a degree of privacy trade-off.

The main benefits will be improved speed in messaging response, while it’ll also help to eliminate server expenses, which could be a big benefit to smaller businesses, in particular. It’ll also facilitate faster access to new WhatsApp business features as they become available.

The downside is that it will mean more reliance on Meta, while you’ll also need to dilute WhatsApp’s messaging security measures:

As Meta described in its original announcement:

If a business chooses to use a third-party vendor to operate the WhatsApp Business API on their behalf, we do not consider that to be end-to-end encrypted since the business you are messaging has chosen to give a third-party vendor access to those messages. This will also be the case if that third-party vendor is Facebook.”

As such, WhatsApp will include new notifications on consumer-to-business exchanges conducted through Meta hosting.

WhatsApp message prompts

How you feel about such trade-offs will come down to your personal perspective, but the offering could be highly valuable for smaller businesses looking to build out their tech stack, without having to sign on to a third-party hosting vendor, or buy their own hardware.

But again, that does also mean increasing your reliance on Meta, which has notoriously changed the rules on businesses in the past, leaving many in the lurch.

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The real benefit, however, will likely be in developing regions, where WhatsApp is the dominant messaging platform, and many small businesses are looking for ways to maximize their reach and transactions in-app. If Meta can assist them in building their business, that could be a big step in making WhatsApp a more critical utility, for many more users, while also, eventually, providing a direct revenue pathway for the messaging platform.

Though it does feel like a bit of a honey trap. Meta has already flagged that it will eventually introduce charges for these additional elements, without specifically outlining what those costs will be. Once businesses are reliant on such, it’ll be too late to back out, and Meta could ensnare them via incremental increases, that may eventually become a big earner for the company.

On another front, Meta also announced Recurring Notifications on Messenger, which will enable businesses to re-engage people within a messaging thread. The feature is only available to premium users at present, which doesn’t cost more to be part of right now, but will in future as Meta looks to incorporate new charges for its messaging and hosting tools.

You can check out replays of the Conversations conference presentations here.

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