Noted in the company’s press statement is the underrepresentation of Blacks in retail, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, with only 6% of U.S. retail businesses are owned by a Black. This is in comparison to Black Americans making up 14% of the U.S. adult population. In addition, the U.S. House Small Business Committee identified Black-owned businesses as being disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. These compelling statistics strengthened Amazon’s decision to act, funding Black entrepreneurs with $150 million over the next four years.
“We applaud Amazon’s leadership in responding to the racial inequities that led to a significant number of Black-owned businesses closing during the pandemic. The financial, educational, and mentoring resources Amazon will invest through the Black Business Accelerator will enable USBC-affiliated businesses and Black entrepreneurs to not only survive but thrive as they adapt to operating in a post-pandemic world,” said Ron Busby Sr., president and CEO of the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc.
Amazon is very proud of how well their small and medium-sized third party sellers do as nearly 60% of the store’s product sales that had record sales growth in 2020. They believe both Black men and women entrepreneurs can benefit from the program and be successful with the right support.
BBA participants will have access to range of support. In addition to grants for black entrepreneurs they will assist with customer acquisition and marketing. It will include Amazon credits and services valued at $3,900 such as free product imaging services and advertising credits. Amazon teams across the U.S. and its cloud computing division Amazon Web Services (AWS) will help fund an initial round of $10,000 cash grants in partnership with Hello Alice, an organization dedicated to helping entrepreneurs launch and grow their businesses.
Strategic partners include the Minority Business Development Agency and the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. (USBC), driving community engagement for BBA and assisting in mentorship, business development, training, and educational resources for the participants. They also will serve in an advisory role for BBA in the support of Black entrepreneurs and small business owners and the creation of similar programs for other underrepresented populations of business owners.
Applications for these grants will open on July 1, 2021, and be awarded on September 2, 2021.
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