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Mark Cuban's buy-American push on Amazon

'I'm a big believer in buy-American, invest in America'

A Mark Cuban-backed company called Cultivate helps online shoppers find American-made products available to purchase online.

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"I'm a big believer in buy-American, invest in America," Cuban told FOX Business. "Cultivate can be a big step forward."

Mark Cuban visits "Mornings With Maria" at Fox Business Network Studios on November 14, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images)

Harsh Khurana, founder and CEO of Cultivate, said he was inspired to create the website after seeing how the coronavirus pandemic affected small businesses selling "tangible goods" throughout the United States and in his own community.

"Mark is a true visionary," Khurana said. "He invested in us before the product was even a proof of concept. He's the only person I reached out to as a VC, and within a couple days, he said, 'Let's do this.' Without his support, we wouldn't have this."

The coronavirus pandemic has refocused the need for Americans to buy U.S.-made goods, especially critical medical supplies, because the virus has limited international trade and shuttered businesses throughout the country, which highlighted American dependence on Chinese-made products and supply chains.

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Using Cultivate's website, online shoppers can browse American-made products directly from the platform's search feature or add Cultivate's browser extension, which will show users shopping for a specific product online a number of American-made alternatives available on Amazon.

For example, if a user is shopping for a women's shirt on Kohls.com, the Cultivate browser extension will show American-made women's shirts available to purchase on Amazon.com.

"Loans are not the answer at all times, he said. "Revenue is the answer. And we just thought, 'How can we make that happen?'"

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Amazon is the one place businesses still appear to still be generating revenue during the pandemic, he said, which has allowed them to stay operational, retain or hire more employees and improve infrastructure.

"So we realized, to make a big impact almost right away, we had to focus on Amazon," Khurana said, adding that a lot of small businesses look to the e-commerce platform first when they are trying to build an online presence for customers. "If we can start to make that happen and, perhaps, let them grow a little bit, maybe they can branch out and be even bigger."

Amazon logo appears on smartphone screen (iStock)

More than 1,000 U.S. businesses, including small mom-and-pop shops and individual entrepreneurs, and the feedback has been positive overall, Khurana said. Business owners want more products featured on the site, and consumers have expressed interest in supporting the U.S. economy directly through Cultivate.

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Companies that produce U.S.-made products can contact Cultivate to be featured on its website if their products fit Cultivate's criteria.

"This really resonates with communities," Khurana said. "This is the land of opportunities. ... America is full of hungry, genius entrepreneurs."

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Additionally, more than 1,000 people have installed the Cultivate extension, and the site sees about 5,000 unique visitors each day, he said.

Cultivate states on its website that it does not rely solely on labels or company profiles to determine whether brands meet their criteria; Cultivate uses various databases and uses "a mix of technological and manual research to build our proprietary product catalogue [sic]" from which users can see U.S.-made products, its website reads.

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