Bentonville, AR—Walmart is ramping up its efforts to boost domestic manufacturing with the launch of an innovation fund to find solutions to challenges linked to reshoring and growing U.S. production.
The Walmart U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund, launched alongside the Walmart Foundation and the U.S. Conference of Mayors, will be open to non-profit organizations to apply for grants of $100,000 or more, funded by Walmart Foundations.
Deadline April 22
In its first year, the fund will focus on innovation in textiles manufacturing and processes applying to a broad range of consumer goods.
Research and academic institutions, think tanks and other non-profit organizations are anticipated to be among those taking part.
“Through the Walmart U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund, we hope to help remove the barriers to revitalizing and growing US manufacturing, creating jobs and building a stronger American economy,” said Cindi Marsiglio, vice president U.S. sourcing and domestic manufacturing at Walmart.
Walmart’s new emphasis on Made in USA could be based upon evidence that it has become even more important to U.S. consumers. According to Boston Consulting Group research, consumers are indeed inclined to buy products made here. That survey found that 80% of Americans say they are even willing to pay more for Made-in-USA products. When asked why, 93% say it’s because they want to keep jobs here. And while higher-income, older consumers are more likely to have those patriotic sentiments, even 75% of Gen Y, those ages 18 to 34, say they are either definitely willing (22%) or somewhat willing (53%) to pay more, Boston Consulting reported.
Part of Walmart’s commitment to buy an additional $250 billion in merchandise supporting American manufacturing, the fund will be open to applications until April 22.