Amazon and IE University launch “Despega” to help 50,000 SMEs digitize

By training and coaching businesses, SMEs will overcome existing barriers to sell online in Spain and abroad.

Amazon and IE University have announced today the launch of Despega, a program designed to boost the growth and the digitization of more than 50,000 small businesses across Spain in the wake of the pandemic, with the collaboration of ICEX España Exportación e Inversiones, CEPYME and AECOC . Spanish small businesses have been significantly impacted by the health emergency, with more than 96% of them believing that the crisis is affecting their business . Furthermore, only 19% of SMEs in Spain have digital stores with most small businesses claiming that the lack of digital knowledge and training as well as the need for an initial investment are the main blockers stopping them to start and be successful selling online.

Despega will provide online learning resources and business advice for entrepreneurs interested in designing an e-commerce business plan, and for small and medium size businesses interested in selling online. Participants businesses will benefit from the following benefits, amongst others:

  • An online learning hub designed with IE University that includes a series of free online learning modules and courses that small businesses can attend whether they are completely new to the online world or in a more advanced stage of their digital journey. Small businesses will learn a range wide of topics from business strategy, funding, marketing to internationalization. The courses will be imparted by IE University professors and e-commerce experts, and will offer students a community-based learning approach.
  • Intensive bootcamps – IE University has designed an intensive, virtual week-long bootcamp to provide tailored personal training and expertise for up to 500 startups and small businesses to help them trade online.
  • Virtual Amazon Academies – live webinars organized in collaboration with ICEX, CEPYME and AECOC to introduce businesses to the world of selling and exporting online. From today, interested businesses can sign up for the first virtual academy organized with CEPYME on 22 September here.
  • Mentorship – Through the CRECEPYME growth SME program, Amazon will support a group of SMEs from CEPYME500 pool to grow and thrive in the digital world.
  • Business incentives – Amazon is currently helping thousands of small businesses across Spain with storage and removal fee waivers for new Selling Partners on Fulfilment by Amazon. Businesses participating in Despega will benefit from these discounts and get access to other existing offers to activate marketing levers and increase their chances to run a successful online business.

“With Despega, we want to support companies in developing the necessary skills to sell globally and to lay strong foundations to be successful for years, either with Amazon, alone or through other online services,” said Mariangela Marseglia, VP and Country Manager in Spain and Italy. “Small and medium-sized businesses are the lifeblood of the Spanish economy and in the current climate, we believe that going digital will be the path for many hardworking companies to recover faster.”

Together with government and industry partners, Amazon will take an active role in supporting entrepreneurs and businesses to digitize and launch their online activities by offering a wide range of on-demand educational training from creating a business plan, funding, marketing to exporting.

“With Despega, small and medium-sized companies will be able to access hands-on knowledge on brand management and online channels development to accelerate their sales. We live in exceptional moments that provide opportunities for growth. To achieve this, it is necessary to rethink business processes, especially when we see double-digit growth online,” said Teresa Martin-Retortillo, Executive President of Exponential Learning at IE University.

“At IE University, we are pleased to offer companies and entrepreneurs our 20 years of experience in online training and our practical approach to developing growth strategies.”
Teresa Martin-Retortillo, Executive President of Exponential Learning at IE University

“Collaborating with this program, we want to help businesses in the recovery and growth through the internalization and digital tools. To join both aspects, it is a good choice to learn how to sell online from Amazon, whom we have been partnering with for many years,” said María Peña, Chairman at ICEX. “This package of critical support will include tailored guidance for businesses from e-commerce experts, advice for growth and tools to help businesses navigate the current climate and come out stronger.”

“Through this collaboration, we are working to inform and support the many SMEs we are representing in Spain about the tools and learning opportunities available for them to start selling online in order to recover faster from the crisis, grow their businesses and keep generating employment,” said Gerardo Cueva, President of CEPYME.

“From AECOC we support firmly the development of digital skills for businesses, which is one of our primary strategic focus. We are collaborating on this project that will help Spanish small businesses, especially in this complex situation where a good digital strategy can determine on whether businesses survive,” said José Mª Bonmatí, Director General at AECOC.

For more information about Despega Online and register your interest, click here.