Walmart isn’t exactly synonymous with “made in the U.S.A,” but the world’s largest retailer may be looking to temper its reputation. Walmart president Bill Simon revealed Thursday that the company has created a $10 million fund to bolster manufacturing in the United States. Simon, who outlined some of the details of the fund at the United States Conference of Mayors’ winter meeting in Washington, D.C., explained that Walmart and its philanthropic arm, the Walmart Foundation, will provide funds for the five-year program in the form of grants to American innovators. “If we want to grow manufacturing and help rebuild America’s middle class, we need the brightest minds in our universities, in our think tanks, and in our towns to tackle obstacles to U.S. manufacturing,” said Simon. “The $10 million fund will identify and award leaders in manufacturing innovation and help us all work together to create opportunity.”
PREVIOUSLY ON ECOUTERRE: Walmart Pledges to Add $50 Billion in American-Made Products
RED, WHITE, AND BLUE-LIGHT SPECIALS
In 2013, the retailer pledged to purchase an additional $50 billion in American-made products over the next 10 years in an effort to grow domestic manufacturing and encourage the creation of U.S. jobs.
In 2013, Walmart pledged to purchase an additional $50 billion in American-made products over the next 10 years.
Walmart estimates that its pledge, in the 10th year, will result in the company buying an additional $250 billion cumulatively over the following 10 years, an investment that the Boston Consulting Group predicts will create one million jobs when you include jobs in manufacturing and related services.
Walmart supplier Kent Bicycles announced at the same meeting its plan to move production from China, Taiwan, and Portugal to Clarendon, S.C., where it expects to add at least 175 jobs and assemble 500,000 bikes annually by 2016.
“We look forward to bringing production to South Carolina,” said Arnold Kamler, owner of Kent Bicycles. “Our company moved all manufacturing overseas in 1990 because it was so much more cost effective. When Walmart made its commitment to U.S. manufacturing last year, it opened our eyes to restarting some manufacturing here. We attended Walmart’s August manufacturing summit and were able to focus our efforts quickly and make things happen with South Carolina.”
Walmart also announced that it will host its second U.S. manufacturing summit in Denver, Colo., in August 2014, where it will focus on connecting manufacturers in need of component parts to factories with excess capacity.
Walmart’s U.S. manufacturing summit in August will focus on connecting manufacturers in need of component parts to factories with excess capacity.
“Many factories aren’t operating at full capacity. By working together, we have an opportunity to repurpose or help add production to some of these communities,” said Simon. “This will help rebuild the American supply chain to support U.S. manufacturing and create more jobs.”