The funding is truly needed. As of late last year, it was reported Black startup founders got just $264 million of $33.6 billion in capital allocated — less than 1%. On the banking front, 57% of Black business owners were denied a loan during the formation of their business.
For its part, the Pledge is taking new steps to support entrepreneurs of color year-round.
BLACK ENTERPRISE recently connected with the Pledge’s Executive Director LaToya Williams-Belfort via email to discuss upcoming plans on how the non-profit aims to help Black entrepreneurs.
BE: Has the Pledge organized any recent events to further support Black business owners?
LaToya Williams-Belfort: We partnered with Victoria’s Secret to organize our first-ever Business Matchmaking Event this past August. Our goal was to create a space where Black business owners could gather alongside partners, esteemed suppliers, and community leaders to create Secret professionals, 68 community leaders, and 68 business owners seeking partnerships. Business owners walked away from our event with meaningful connections and knowledge on what they need to grow, scale, and do business with large corporate retailers.
BE: It recently was reported the Pledge and its partners have “created the potential to shift” over $14 billion to Black entrepreneurs and businesses.” We learned that so far, over 625 Black-owned businesses have been supported by 29 companies — including Nordstrom, Macy’s, and Sephora — that have taken the Pledge. Can you share more about that?
Williams-Belfort: Our work over the last three years has resulted in over two dozen multi-year contractual partnerships with billion-dollar corporations. This data point ($14 billion) speaks to the revenue impact that will be transferred to Black businesses based on the publicly available revenue data of the 29 companies that have taken the Pledge.
Williams-Belfort: To date, the Pledge has had 29 companies across three countries commit to multi-year contractual agreements, which can be found here.
BE: What other specific action is the Pledge taking to try to boost the number of retailers it works with?
Williams-Belfort: We are always finding new and creative ways to work with corporations to propel this collective action movement, our advocacy, and tangibly support Black businesses. Corporations like Yelp, Vogue, and Victoria’s Secret have demonstrated how companies can change their business structures to support Black entrepreneurs and increase the share of Black entrepreneurs represented in their business ecosystems.
Source: Black Enterprise