Here is a disturbing finding: Some 71% of Black women business owners across America estimate they can’t survive another year under the current pandemic conditions, a new report by payment technology company Visa shows.
To help offset that, the Visa She’s Next Grant Program announced on March 4 will provide eligible Black women-owned businesses across six major U.S. cities a shot to win one of 60, $10,000 grants and a one-year IFundWomen coaching membership.
Ten grant recipients will each come from Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, and Washington, D.C. The effort is geared to address the needs of local entrepreneurs in U.S. cities with the highest concentration of Black-owned businesses and where Black women proprietors face challenges.
Some of the program’s criteria include being a Black-owned business operating in those cities for two-plus years with at least annual revenue of $24,000 or more. Applications are open now through April 16 here.
“The pandemic has impacted all small businesses—but those run by women and people of color have been disproportionately affected,” Kimberly Lawrence, head of U.S., Visa, stated in a news release. “With this hyperlocal focus on some of the hardest hit cities, Visa aims to make a meaningful difference, quickly, for the communities and their business owners who need it most. ”
This latest action is part of an additional $1 million pledge from Visa following similar moves by the company to assist Black women entrepreneurs. In June, Visa awarded 25, $10,000 grants and one-year of coaching resources to Black women small business owners. It awarded $10,000 grants to four U.S.-based, women-led small businesses impacted by COVID-19 in April 2020.
The new drive comes as Black-owned businesses continue to play a vital role in U.S. communities, with more than a third led by women. That is reportedly the largest share by any racial or ethnic group. Still, Black women owners still struggle with lack of capital, scant cash flow, and other hurdles despite their economic contributions.
Plus, Visa has extended its partnership with Black Girl Ventures to identify pressing technological needs of small businesses and provide them with the products and education they need to flourish.
“Black Girl Ventures is proud to partner with Visa to assist these entrepreneurs and provide a megaphone to each community’s most pressing needs,” stated Black Girls Ventures Founder Shelly Bell. “While the Black Lives Matter movement elevated consumer support of these businesses, the movement must continue to lift up these neighborhoods financially and spiritually.”