Walmart’s latest “Open Call” event has gone live. The virtual event brings entrepreneurs face to face with Walmart merchants for a chance to get their product on shelves, but the company also looks to build out private brand partnerships through the meetings.
Last year’s event saw 850 companies earn a chance at a virtual meeting. This year’s event — the eighth for the retailer — is now open for submissions, accepting through April 30. Only companies that produce, grow or assemble products made in the United States are eligible. The event will be held June 30.
The Open Call event adds to Walmart’s recent commitment to spend an additional $350 billion on items made, grown or assembled in the United States, and the retailer said that amounts to supporting around 750,000 new jobs nationwide.
“Open Call is like watching the ‘American Dream’ play out in real time,” said Laura Phillips, Walmart senior vice president for global sourcing and U.S. 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.”
Walmart said attendees invited to join Open Call could secure opportunities that include promoting products in a handful of stores locally or becoming a supplier to hundreds or thousands of Walmart or Sam’s Club stores and online.
A Walmart representative told Store Brands previously that the retailer is “always looking for quality manufacturers to support our private label business” and invite suppliers to pitch to be part of a private brand line.
The event also includes educational breakout sessions for companies that join the event. Walmart, as it did last year, is using the RangeMe online product discovery platform to field the submissions.