American Express Launches $2.5M ‘100 for 100’ Program to Invest in Black Businesswomen’s Futures
Photo Credit: Christina Morillo from Pexels
In conjunction with fundraising platform IFund Women of Color, global finance company American Express has announced another commitment to the Black community — this time targeting Black women.
This week, American Express revealed the 100 Black women entrepreneurs it hand-selected to participate in its “100 for 100” program, designed to provide women with adequate funding and business resources.
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According to a press release, the program specifically consists of $25,000 grants and 100 days of access to business education, mentorship, marketing, virtual networking, WorkSpaces by Hilton hotel reservation credits and more.
American Express partnered with IFundWomen of Color — the leading platform for women of color to raise capital — to create a program made to offer support for Black businesswomen looking to jump start and grow their entrepreneurial ventures.
“American Express is proud to support the highly talented and innovative entrepreneurs selected for our 100 for 100 program, as they kick start their ventures and keep the momentum going so their businesses can continue to evolve,” said Clayton Ruebensaal — EVP Global B2B Marketing at American Express — in a statement. “The Black women entrepreneurs selected for the program have created many types of innovative, early-stage businesses across the country, inspiring and carving new paths for others to follow. Their business plans demonstrate that great ideas often come out in times of hardship, and American Express is committed to continuing to back small businesses and advance equal opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs, particularly during these challenging times.”
The new initiative is aligned with American Express’ recently announced $1 billion action plan to invest in solutions for racial and gender equity for its colleagues, customers and communities.
Black women-owned businesses were growing at unparalleled rates prior to the pandemic, yet still pulling in less revenue than their counterparts. Black women entrepreneurs still to this day do not have equal access to resources needed to help them succeed, and American Express wants to change that.
“Through our years of experience with businesses in need of funding, we have found $25,000 can truly change the trajectory of an emerging business. It could be the difference between one month of rent or five months, between being able to develop a decent prototype or a prototype that’s really not-so-great, and between doing real consumer testing or no testing at all,” Karen Cahn, Founder/CEO of IFundWomen, shared in a press statement. “It means a business can do marketing to promote their product or service to drive more revenue and they can afford more payroll. We are thrilled to work with American Express to provide a meaningful difference for these inspiring 100 Black women-owned businesses, so they can grow and succeed.”
The “100 for 100” program will kick off for these businesswomen via an online event — hosted by Amex Virtual Campus — in January 2021, according to a news release. A special curriculum will be taught by seasoned industry experts and fellow entrepreneurs who will also serve as mentors to the 100 women.
Topics for the program will focus on subjects of early-stage companies such as managing cashflow and growth, securing and maintaining customer relationships and finding balance.
For more about the “100 for 100” program and the full list of Black women entrepreneurs, click here.