American Express’ Coalition to Back Black Businesses Awards Grants to 600 Black-Owned Small Businesses
- As part of its $10 million commitment to fund a grant program to support Black-owned businesses over four years, American Express helped to award 600 Black-owned small businesses a $5,000 grant through the Coalition to Back Black Businesses.
- The Coalition to Back Black Businesses received additional contributions from AIG FoundationSM, Altice USA, Cummins Inc. and Dow to help expand the grant program and its impact.
New York, December 16, 2020 – American Express today announced the first cohort of 600 Black-owned small businesses, from distressed communities, in 33 states and 27 industries, that were awarded grants through the Coalition to Back Black Businesses. American Express established the Coalition to Back Black Businesses in September with a $10 million commitment to fund a grant program, over four years, to help Black-owned small businesses recover from the disproportionate impact of COVID-19. The Coalition is a first-of-its-kind collaboration with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and four major Black chambers, including the National Black Chamber of Commerce, the National Business League, the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc., and Walker’s Legacy.
“We’ve witnessed a devastating blow to Black-owned businesses due to pandemic-induced business closures, closing more than 40% of Black-owned businesses. As Black business owners continue to navigate the pandemic, there’s a great need for recovery aid and business resources,” said Ron Busby, President, U.S. Black Chambers. “The Coalition to Back Black Businesses has risen to the occasion of providing Black business owners with grant opportunities, mentorship, and online resources. We’re proud to be a part of The Coalition to Back Black Businesses and look forward to continuing our collective support of Black-owned businesses during such uncertain times.”
The grantees spanned many industries with the largest percentage going to those in trade and services, healthcare and medical, sales, as well as food and beverage. In addition, businesses with three to six employees – the smallest companies funded –received more than 79% of the grants and of the total cohort, 59% were Black women-owned businesses. The leading reasons for requesting a grant were to continue to pay employees, repay debts, cover rent and utility bills, develop e-commerce capabilities, fund PPE purchases and expand or pivot their business.
John Moye owner of A’s Carpet Cleaning in Pompano, Florida, a carpet cleaning company said “When the pandemic hit I had to restructure my company and go from commercial cleaning to residential and that meant new websites, new advertising, and marketing and this grant is helping me stay in business.”
Monica Blakemore-Tatum the owner of Dialogue, a bookstore that combines coffee, wine and books in Gary, Indiana, shared the impact that the grant will have for her and others, “I am honored, humbled, and so very grateful to have been selected for this grant, which is helping to save my business. I will pay it forward by mentoring other small businesses.”
“It has been a humbling experience to receive the expressions of gratitude from so many different sectors of businesses and types of entrepreneurs. It’s exciting to reflect on the reach, dynamics, and diversity represented in this display of Black Entrepreneurism,” said Harry C. Alford, President/CEO National Black Chamber of Commerce. “It is with great honor and pride that we move to the next phases of the program with mentoring and additional funding.”
As part of the program, grantees will also receive exclusive access to a mentorship program to help them grow their business with advice and guidance from industry mentors. In addition, grantees will be able to apply for a $25,000 enhancement grant, five percent of the grantees in each annual cohort will receive these additional funds. This year’s grantees will be able to apply for the $25,000 enhancement grant in the summer of 2021. These initiatives are aimed at supporting the long-term success and resilience of the grantees.
“Entrepreneurship is tribal in nature, while having a mentor or coach as part of your tribe, knowledge becomes central towards a business owner’s ultimate success,” said Kenneth L. Harris, Ph.D., National President/CEO, National Business League, Inc.
Since its launch earlier this year, the Coalition has garnered an additional $3 million in funding thanks to generous contributions from AIG FoundationSM, Altice USA, Cummins Inc. and Dow. These contributions allow the Coalition to fund an additional 325 grants in support of Black-owned businesses.
“We have seen firsthand the impact this program has had on black women-owned businesses through the gratitude-filled responses we have received when delivering the good news of funding announcements,” said Natalie Madeira Cofield, Founder & CEO of Walker’s Legacy. “We are excited for the opportunity to partner with American Express through this initiative, and can’t wait to see what the future holds together.”
Please visit WeBackBlackBusinesses.com for additional information and updates on when the 2021 application will open, currently slated for early Fall 2021.
ABOUT AMERICAN EXPRESS
American Express is a globally integrated payments company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Learn more at americanexpress.com and connect with us on facebook.com/americanexpress, instagram.com/americanexpress, linkedin.com/company/american-express, twitter.com/americanexpress, and youtube.com/americanexpress. Key links to products, services and corporate responsibility information: charge and credit cards, business credit cards, travel services, gift cards, prepaid cards, merchant services, Accertify, InAuth, corporate card, business travel, and corporate responsibility.
ABOUT THE COALITION TO BACK BLACK BUSINESSES
The Coalition to Back Black Businesses is a multi-year grantmaking and training initiative to help support Black-owned small businesses as they recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and chart a path forward. The initiative launched in Fall 2020 and will provide qualifying Black-owned small businesses with grants over the next four years. The grant program is administered by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, in partnership with U.S. Black Chambers, Inc., National Business League, National Black Chamber of Commerce, and Walker’s Legacy. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is a private sector 501(c)(3) charity affiliated with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and is not a government agency.
Source: American Express Company