Black entrepreneurs start their businesses with about $35,000 of capital, while white entrepreneurs start with 3x more. As a partial consequence, Black-owned businesses report higher levels of debt relative to revenues.
Too often, these and other barriers lead to shortfalls: just 4 percent of Black-owned businesses are still in operation after three and a half years, compared with an average of 55.5 percent for all businesses.**
Over the past two and a half years, the Fifteen Percent Pledge has been working alongside major corporations to re-evaluate their organizational structures, funding streams, and supply chains with the goal of creating greater equity for Black businesses. To date, 29 corporations have made long-term contractual commitments to support this work, creating the potential to shift more than $10B to Black businesses.
Still, there’s much more work to do to create supportive ecosystems for Black entrepreneurs, who continue to face tremendous hurdles when it comes to accessing capital to grow and thrive. We are busy activating a network of partners, including banks, investors, foundations, and corporations, to address this problem at scale.
In the meantime, we’re providing a $200,000 grant to unlock the next horizon of growth for a Black-owned business. Two additional finalists will also receive $35,000 and $15,000. Awardees will be announced in person at our 2023 Benefit Gala in February.
Deadline: December 9, 2022 at 11:59pm ET
Applicants must first create, update, or complete their business profile in our Business Equity Community in order to access award application questions. The application will consist primarily of video responses, and it will be open for four weeks. A review committee will select semi-finalists, and the winner will be selected through public voting.
- Member of the Fifteen Percent Pledge’s Business Equity Community [Click the ‘Apply’ link below to join]
- Business sells a product and has annual revenue of $250K or more
- Black-owned: At least one self-identifying Black person with 50% or more equity in the company
- Has between 3-15 employees, including the founder
- Fosters inclusivity and showcases community impact by pushing against systemic infrastructures that have not prioritized unique consumer needs