Black Americans are faced with two pandemics — COVID-19 and racism. Due to this, a lot of businesses have been forced to close or currently face the brink of extinction.
Elisse Douglass and Trevor Parham are two entrepreneurs that have decided to give back during this time by helping local business during the pandemic. In June, they established the Oakland Black Business Fund which was created to aid Black-owned businesses in the Bay Area with a goal of $10 million.
Their relief efforts also include a $1 billion investment fund that will help other Black entrepreneurs nationwide survive the economic fallout from the pandemic, Crunchbase reports.
The fund first started after Douglass created a community-oriented crowdfunding site for businesses that had been affected by the Black Lives Matter protests.
According to Crunchbase, after bringing in $100,000 in less than a week and a half, Parham shares that they had more money than they originally set out to make.
“We immediately realized that there was more we could do. We knew that the overall approach could be a bigger impact with much bigger dollars,” Parham told Crunchbase.
Parham’s hope is that the fund will bridge the gap between Black entrepreneurs and the mainstream funds who often shut them out.
“There is a disconnect between mainstream capital markets and the value of Black businesses, especially if they are not doing a tech product that falls within the mainstream of other tech products,” Parham said, according to Crunchbase. “What I have seen is that there are two factors: bias and racism, and that is valid, but another part is interest and intention. Investors might not truly know how to find them or plug-in in a way that is financially sound or feel like they are steering too much.”
We love to see all the support and efforts to push Black businesses forward and hope it continues after these uncertain times.