Mastercard Digital Doors website to help small businesses in St. Louis

Small businesses in St. Louis now have access to easier tools to help them establish an online presence.

Mastercard on Wednesday announced the rollout of a branded version of its Digital Doors website, alongside the Small Business Empowerment Center. Digital Doors helps businesses design and build websites and offers them discounts on platforms like Facebook Business and Shopify.

While all businesses can access digital doors online, engaging the Small Business Empowerment Center as a partner builds trust in the tools, said Ginger Siegel, head of Mastercard’s small business efforts in North America.

“We believe that St. Louis has a very unique relationship with its small businesses, and we believe that small businesses in St. Louis will be much more likely to want to go to organizations they know,” Siegel said.

The company estimates that at the start of the pandemic in 2020, as many as 10 million small businesses in America did not have an online presence. This number included Diversity Gallery, a clothing store and a natural hair salon in the Vandeventer district.

Gallery owner Leslie Christian used Digital Doors tools to update her website and set up online payments.

“These resources will allow me and my business to stabilize and be able to pivot from this pandemic,” Christian said. “I’ve endured a recession and now COVID, so I’m really optimistic about this opportunity to be able to take my business to the next level.”

Mayor Tishaura Jones, a close friend of Christian, said partnering with Mastercard was part of her commitment to securing economic justice.

Brian Munoz

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St. Louis Public Radio

Hoba Smith, right, owner of Floral Play, reacts as he accepts a $10,000 grant on Wednesday. Smith said the grant would be used to purchase a refrigerated truck for her flower arrangement business.

“When business owners are successful, St. Louis as a whole is successful,” Jones said. “But for too long, many small businesses and entrepreneurs have lacked resources and know-how, or simply been denied opportunities.”

Fearless Fund Grant

Also on Wednesday, Mastercard, along with the Fearless Fund, a venture capital fund for black women-owned small businesses, presented a $10,000 grant to Hoba Smith, owner of Floral Play in Maryland Heights.

Smith said she plans to use the money to help buy a refrigerated truck, which would make it easier to transport flower arrangements. She promised Mastercard executives in attendance that “greatness would come” from the grant.

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