Austin’s Waterloo Helps Pandemic-Affected Local Businesses

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( ENSPIRE Business ) Austin-Based Waterloo Sparkling Water Helps Small Businesses With Employee Benefit Program

ENSPIRE Contributor: Abby Ladner

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought big changes for many businesses and their employees. As new restrictions go into place and more people stay home, more and more businesses have had to close their doors or lay off employees. While many have been affected by these changes, small businesses have been hit particularly hard by the impact of COVID-19. Now, Austin-based company Waterloo Sparkling Water is helping to revitalize their small business community with their new employee benefit program.

Waterloo’s benefit program, created by CEO Jason Shiver, gives all Waterloo employees an allowance of $200 a month to support local small businesses of their choice. Through this program, Shiver hopes to support other business owners in the area and their employees while encouraging a stronger camaraderie between the small businesses of Austin.

Shiver was inspired to start this program because of his close relationship with other business owners and employees in Austin. When he heard about The Barstool Fund, a program by Barstool Sports that supports small businesses, he wanted to make a personal contribution. That idea soon grew into a company-wide decision to support local businesses for the entire year of 2021 and to give their employees the choice to help the businesses of special value to them.

“Small businesses are such an important part of the fabric of our nation and drive innovation,” says Shiver. “We admire that entrepreneurial spirit, and this is the year for us to pay it forward. We want to rally our communities around small businesses and give them hope that the tide will turn for them.”

Waterloo’s 35 employees are now helping small businesses across 11 states. Shiver hopes that impact continues to spread and that Waterloo’s program inspires other companies to take similar action. He aims to encourage other business owners to start their own benefit programs, make a donation, or use their platform to share the importance of supporting small businesses in this time.

“Through no fault of their own in this COVID time, small business owners are facing dire challenges. As an entrepreneur myself, it has been heartbreaking to see so many members of our community, many I consider friends, watch their livelihoods evaporate. Austin is a city of entrepreneurship and independent thinking, and we lean hard into doing the right thing—the foundation that Waterloo has been built upon. In this spirit—staying true to Waterloo’s brand value—we encourage other business leaders in Austin and beyond to lock arms with us to help the small business community. It is a vital sector of our economy and essential to driving innovation, so we urge you to donate, fundraise, or simply use your voice to raise awareness of this important need.”

With their employee benefit program, Waterloo Sparkling Water is helping small businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic while creating a larger community of Austin small businesses. Through this program, Jason Shiver is supporting other entrepreneurs who are struggling during this time, and he encourages them to follow in his footsteps by implementing their own programs. By fostering a spirit of solidarity among Austin small businesses, Shiver and Waterloo are helping turn the tides and allow businesses to prosper through the challenges of the pandemic.

To learn more about Waterloo Sparkling Water and its employee benefit program, you can visit their website here. More information about The Barstool Fund, including videos and donation links, can be found on their website.

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