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06/02/2021

Walmart selects 8th annual Open Call finalists

The retailer has invited more than 1,000 entrepreneurs to attend the June 30 virtual pitch day for a chance to get a product on shelves or a private brand partnership.
Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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a zoom call

More than 1,000 small and medium-sized businesses received notice that they are a Walmart Open Call finalist. The businesses will pitch their product innovations to Walmart merchants on June 30.

Walmart opened submissions in March for its eighth Open Call event that brings entrepreneurs face to face with Walmart merchants for a chance to get their product on shelves, including via private brand partnerships. This year’s event includes the highest number of finalists, topping last year’s event that had 850 companies earn a chance at a virtual meeting.

The new crop of suppliers represent each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, preparing 30-minute pitch meetings for an opportunity to get their products onto a few store shelves or across Walmart, Sam’s Club, Walmart.com and the Walmart Marketplace.

The call is part of Walmart’s commitment to spend an additional $350 billion on items made, grown or assembled in the United States. More than 4,300 businesses applied for a chance to pitch. RangeMe managed and streamlined the online submission process.

“We’re thrilled with the growth we’ve seen in our Open Call event, as we’ve seen time and again its power to support new and existing jobs and help small businesses and entrepreneurs,” said Laura Phillips, Walmart senior vice president for global sourcing and U.S. manufacturing. “We know that U.S. manufacturing matters a lot to our shoppers. Programs like Open Call serve to bolster communities, provide more value to our customers and improve the way we do business.”

Walmart surprised select applicants with their Open Call invitations via a Zoom meeting where they were told they would receive “updates and important information” about their Open Call application. The unsuspecting business owners joined the Zoom meeting expecting to hear about next steps in the application process and were surprised with the news that they had already secured a spot at this year’s Open Call event instead.

Additionally during the event, 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.