Fifteen Percent Pledge Initiative Will Transfer $14 Billion To More Than 600 Black Entrepreneurs

Fifteen Percent Pledge Initiative Will Transfer $14 Billion To More Than 600 Black Entrepreneurs

Potentially $14 billion will go to Black businesses and entrepreneurs three years after major retailers were challenged to add Black-owned businesses to their shelves.

Aurora James, the founder of the Fifteen Percent Pledge, has sparked a movement for more than 600 Black-owned businesses to benefit. According to Forbes, retailers have made pledges involving 625 Black companies thus far.

James told Forbes, “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.” Twenty-nine companies have already pledged that 15% of their shelves will be stacked with products from Black businesses for more than one year. Major companies across the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. participating in multi-year contracts include Ulta, Vogue, Moda Operandi, J. Crew, and Nordstrom.

LaToya Williams-Belfort, executive director for the Pledge, said, “We think about 29 retail partners and other strategic partners are coming to the table to work with the Pledge and these 5,000 businesses — you really get the collective action movement of many stakeholders coming together.” Williams-Belfort spoke about the 5,000 Black businesses that are a part of the Pledge’s online Business Equity Community (BEC), which brings together entrepreneurs and companies taking pledges.

In the next seven years, James aims to improve representation for Black businesses by 14.6%. She also plans to bring out $1.4 trillion in wealth for Black entrepreneurs. Williams-Belfort said the team also aims to provide in-person opportunities for Black entrepreneurs to commune. The in-person opportunities will allow Black entrepreneurs and business owners to exchange ideas, collaborate, share insights, and grow.

BLACK ENTERPRISE previously reported that Black-owned brands had seen growth due to the Fifteen Percent Pledge.