The wait is over for entrepreneurs who submitted their applications for Walmart’s seventh annual Open Call event as approximately 850 small and medium-sized businesses received their official invitations to pitch Walmart merchants at Walmart’s annual merchandising event on Oct. 1.

This year, more than 4,800 businesses representing 49 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Canada, Australia and Mozambique applied for the chance to pitch a Walmart merchant, a 44% increase in submissions from last year. The businesses selected to participate in Open Call will now start preparing for their 30-minute virtual one-one-one pitch meetings and their chance to realize the American Dream.

“As a female entrepreneur, who has been blending yummy spices for customers on the internet for years, I am excited to be selected to participate in Walmart’s Open Call,” said Sylvia Kapsandoy, CEO of Amboseli Foods, a specialty food seasoning manufacturer based in Utah. “This is such an incredible opportunity to potentially introduce more people to USimplySeason seasonings. It’s the opportunity I’ve been dreaming of!”

Participants in this year’s first-ever virtual Open Call event could secure deals ranging from a handful of local stores to supplying hundreds of stores and Sam’s Clubs as well as Walmart.com and Walmart Marketplace. In addition to the pitch meetings, the one-day program includes a series of breakout sessions designed to inform, empower and encourage business owners of all sizes. Many of the sessions will be open to the general public as the virtual nature of this year’s event makes the program accessible to more businesses and convenient for them to participate regardless of location.

An extra-special surprise

Walmart surprised several dozen unsuspecting applicants with their Open Call invitations in an extra-special way: Applicants were invited to join a Zoom meeting for their state on Friday morning, August 28, 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 their spot at this year’s Open Call event instead. The reactions ranged from stunned to enthusiastic, as the big break these companies have been looking for was suddenly within reach.

Some of the businesses invited to this year’s Open Call include:

  • Freedom Deodorant, Las Vegas, NV – Sanitizing wipes with essential oils
  • Backyard Brine, Cutchogue, NY – Garlic Dill pickles
  • Amboseli Food, LLC, Layton, UT – Tangy Sumac Spice Seasoning
  • Semper Fi Veterans, LLC, Exton, PA – Free Range Duck Eggs
  • Lick You Silly Pet Products, Glen Ridge, NJ – Premium All-Natural Beef Liver Dog Treats
  • Cat in a Box, Ashland, MA – Cat furniture

A commitment to American jobs

In January 2013, Walmart announced its commitment to help boost job creation and U.S. manufacturing through buying an additional $250 billion in products supporting American jobs by 2023. Walmart’s Open Call is one way in which the company continues to invest in this commitment.