In 2020, Aurora James shook up the business world with a disruptive idea. As previously reported by AfroTech, the designer founded the Fifteen Percent Pledge following the murder of George Floyd to demand corporations to commit 15 percent of their shelf space to Black-owned businesses.
Now, nearly three years later, it appears that James’ call for action has paid off.
Forbes reports that the Fifteen Percent Pledge and its partners have “created the potential to shift over $14 billion to Black entrepreneurs and businesses.” What’s more, to date, over 625 Black-owned businesses have been supported by the 29 companies — including Nordstrom, Macy’s and Sephora — that have taken the pledge.
What’s the next intended milestone for James’ nonprofit? Driving $1.4 trillion of wealth generation by Black entrepreneurs, and increasing Black business representation by 14.6%, the outlet details.
“It’s really about continuing to build on what we’ve already started and taking it to the next level,” James told the outlet. “There’s been so much progress made, but there’s still work to do — I never want to rest on our laurels. We’ve put more than 600 Black-owned brands on the shelves with Pledge takers, which is super exciting, but there’s still a lot more shelf space to be had. And even when we look at access to capital, less than 1% of all VC dollars are going to Black women.”
Another one of James’ feats is the launch of the Friends and Family Collective on Juneteenth. For the project, she teamed up with investment firm VMG Partners. Together, they hope to “tap into an $850-million VC fund that will focus on founders of Black-owned businesses.”
Additionally, the Fifteen Percent Pledge joined forces with Google for the Business Equity Community, which directly connects Pledgers with more than 5,000 Black entrepreneurs online.