Starbucks starts Create Jobs for USA to aid small businesses
Starbucks has begun selling bracelets with the intent of creating jobs for the American unemployed. | Jessica Lindner/THE CHIMES
Patriotic bracelets have been showing up in Starbucks since Nov. 1 across the nation and for only $5, customers can partner with Starbucks to jump start the economy.
Private enterprise at work
Out of frustration with the government’s inability to create a healthy environment for business to grow, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz declared he would be withholding all financial contributions to U.S lawmakers in the next election. Two months after Schultz’ announcement, Starbucks rolled out the Create Jobs for USA program, intended to provide loans to small businesses.
Senior political science major, Ashley Emerson stated she thinks the program is a “smart and helpful” move by Starbucks to promote job growth.
“I really like the idea,” Emerson said. “I tend to be more of a capitalist so I would encourage private enterprise; it’s more effective than government.”
Raising funds for loans
For the program, Starbucks teamed up with Opportunity Finance Network to raise funds for the loans. The $5 from each bracelet sold is matched with $30 dollars from the OFN and put into a fund where Starbucks has already contributed $5 million to start the program. Community Development Financial Institutions take from that fund in order to give out loans to small businesses across the nation. In the five weeks since the program's launch, Create Jobs for USA has already raised $6 million to aid 13 small businesses across America.
Starbucks barista Brian Barr, who has worked for the corporation for three years, said he thinks the Create Jobs program is just Starbucks’ way of being a company that is conscientious about giving back to the community and the nation as a whole.
“The bracelet is Starbucks’ way of trying to help raise money for small businesses. Banks aren’t giving out loans. Companies are struggling because the banks are afraid if they give out money they aren’t going to get any back,” Barr said. “That’s what the the program is for, it just bypasses the banks and gives the small businesses a chance to get the loans, expand their company, expand their product, and ideally grow their work force so people can have jobs.”
Barr went on to say the company is committed to not being the best company in the world but being the best company for the world, especially in light of the bleak economy.
Stimulating the economy
Since its inception, the program has garnered support from not just the marketing world, but more importantly from those who make up 40 percent of Starbucks’ target audience, college-aged students. With unemployment at a record low, students seem pleased with Starbucks’ attempt to energize a sluggish economy.
“I love the fact they're taking the initiative to grow the economy,” junior Meg Reeser said. “I feel like we have a responsibility to take action and if they have the influence to do something about it, I think its a positive thing.”