Amazon is announcing an ambitious plan that aims to drive economic equity for Black entrepreneurs across America.
The tech giant has shared that it’s launching its own Black Business Accelerator (BBA) — in partnership with the Amazon Black Employee Network (BEN) and a coalition of strategic partners — to target the barriers created by systemic racism that prevent access, opportunity and advancement for Black business-owners in the U.S.
According to a company blog post, the $150 million initiative strives to both generate sustainable equity and promote growth for these Black-owned businesses over the next four years by providing financial assistance, business education, mentorship as well as marketing and promotion of their brands as third-party sellers in their online store.
“Selling online, particularly through Amazon, is a powerful economic opportunity for entrepreneurs,” Brandi Neloms — Manager at Amazon — said to Small Business Trends. “This program unlocks the full opportunity of e-commerce success available through selling on Amazon. We’re providing a springboard for Black-owned businesses to participate in and capitalize on the economic engine that is Amazon.”
“This has been a challenging time for many small businesses yet selling in Amazon’s stores has enabled hundreds of thousands of smaller companies to sustain and even grow their sales despite the COVID-19 crisis,” she adds. “We want to be sure that Black-owned businesses have access to this opportunity, too.”
By collaborating with strategic partners like Minority Business Development Agency and the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. (USBC), Amazon is committed to ensuring the success of Black-owned businesses.
The major retailer has even piloted a few benefits from its accelerator program for Black-owned businesses already on the platform to better understand how they can effectively support them in their growth in a way that adds more value.
“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,” Ron Busby Sr. — president and CEO of the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. — said in an announcement. “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.”
Amazon is eager to kick off this exciting program that will champion and boost the value of Black entrepreneurship moving forward. Its latest commitment is part of the company’s ongoing pledge to support Black communities in leadership and business.
“We are thrilled to embark on this journey to welcome many more Black business owners to the opportunities of selling on Amazon,” the company wrote in a blog post. “We are optimistic about the potential to help them generate wealth for themselves, their employees, and their communities.”
For more information about Amazon’s Black Business Accelerator, click here.