Maui Business

Walmart seeks Hawai‘i Entrepreneurs for 2021 Open Call, Deadline is April 30

March 30, 2021, 4:34 PM HST
* Updated March 30, 3:38 PM
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Image courtesy of Walmart US.

Walmart invites Hawai’i entrepreneurs to participate in its 2021 Open Call for products, grown or assembled in the US. The deadline to register for the Open Call is April 30 with event day scheduled for June 30.

The company invites Hawaiʻi entrepreneurs dreaming of landing their products on Walmart shelves and online to apply for the opportunity to meet with Walmart buyers on June 30, 2021, via virtual pitch meetings.  

The application and additional information about the event are available online.

On March 3, Walmart announced a new commitment to spend an additional $350 billion on items made, grown or assembled in the United States. It’s estimated that this spend will support more than 750,000 new American jobs. Walmart’s Open Call is one way in which the company supports this commitment.  

The June 30 virtual event will include similar programming to last year. In addition to one-on-one pitch meetings with Walmart merchants, participants will have an opportunity to hear directly from Walmart executives at the hour-long kickoff of the event. Smaller breakout sessions will be available throughout the day where suppliers can learn more on valuable topics and about resources available to them.

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“Open Call is like watching the American Dream play out in real time,” said Laura Phillips, Walmart senior vice president for Global Sourcing and US Manufacturing. “You see on full display the spirit and energy of new ideas and the hope of what could be – founded on creativity, hard work and self-belief. It’s inspiring. Walmart’s announcement earlier this month to spend an additional $350 billion on products made, grown or assembled in America makes Open Call even more exciting and important. We know how much this opportunity means to small businesses, and we can’t wait to see the new product submissions from potential new suppliers.”

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This year’s Open Call attendees could secure opportunities that range from promoting products in a handful of stores in local markets to supplying products to hundreds, even thousands, of Walmart stores, Sam’s Clubs and online. 

“Walmart makes it easy – they really do,” Henry Johnson, who owns Le’Host Hair & Wigs with his wife, Haith, said about their experience at Walmart’s 2020 Open Call. “They sent us a video that they send to everyone who’s going to present to buyers and said, ‘This is what we’re looking for.’ … We found out what was important to Walmart as a company, in the community. What’s important to Walmart is their customers. To us, our customers are No. 1. So, when we saw that was the mindset of Walmart, we knew it was a good marriage.” 

Earlier this year, Walmart began expanding Le’Host products into some 300 stores across the Southwest and Southeast regions of the United States.

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