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Video: Erica Pandey/Axios

As they've boomed, Silicon Valley giants like Uber, Google and Apple have turned into startup factories. But Amazon — with a few notable exceptions in Hulu, Instacart and Flipkart — hasn't had many cases of alums leaving to become founders.

Now Amazon is promoting entrepreneurship — even offering funding — and encouraging employees to start companies, but only if they are in service of the e-commerce giant.

What's happening: With a new program, Amazon is paying employees $10,000 plus three months of pay to quit and start small businesses that deliver Amazon packages.

  • "We’re looking to add hundreds more new businesses this year," an Amazon spokesperson tells Axios.
  • Although the incentives are only available to Amazon employees, anyone is welcome to apply to start a delivery business for the behemoth, the company says. Milton Collier, a freight broker in Atlanta, tells the AP he has 120 employees and 50 vans that deliver Amazon boxes every day.
  • A flurry of small businesses that exist solely to serve Amazon's shipping ambitions will make the giant's logistics arm even stronger. As we've reported, the company is already turning into a formidable competitor for UPS and FedEx.

The bottom line: Amazon is creating an ecosystem distinct from its Big Tech brethren.

  • The bulk of companies that are spun out of Uber, Google and others are unrelated to those firms' core businesses, but Amazon wants to fuel the creation of startups that help make it stronger.
  • While many Amazon managers and executives tend to stay with the company long term, dozens who have left have gone on to start retail consultancies that adviser merchants who sell on ... Amazon.

Go deeper

A new Washington

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Image

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said Friday that the city should expect a "new normal" for security — even after President-elect Biden's inauguration.

The state of play: Inaugurations are usually a point of celebration in D.C., but over 20,000 troops are now patrolling Washington streets in an unprecedented preparation for Biden's swearing-in on Jan. 20.

Mike Pence calls Kamala Harris to offer congratulations and help

Mike Pence. Photo: Chip Somodevilla via Getty

Vice President Mike Pence called Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Thursday to congratulate her and offer assistance in the transition, the New York Times first reported.

Why it matters: The belated conversation came six days before the inauguration after a contentious post-election stretch. President Trump has neither spoken with President-elect Joe Biden, nor explicitly conceded the 2020 election.

Updated 2 hours ago - Health

The coronavirus variants: What you need to know

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

New variants of the coronavirus circulating globally appear to increase transmission and are being closely monitored by scientists.

Driving the news: The highly contagious variant B.1.1.7 originally detected in the U.K. could become the dominant strain in the U.S. by March if no measures are taken to control the spread of the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.