follow up, email, contact, birthdays, small stuff, LinkedIn, message, conversation point

4 Black Businesses Gain $350K At Fifteen Percent Pledge Gala, Exceeding $500K In Grants

Four emerging Black small businesses gained $350,000 to spur growth through the Fifteen Percent Pledge.

Four emerging Black small businesses have gained $350,000 to spur growth through the Fifteen Percent Pledge.

The enterprises gained grant funding as the Pledge hosted its third annual benefit at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles earlier this month. The gala included a surprise visit and comments from first lady Jill Biden.

Another highlight was beauty creator Tracee Ellis Ross receiving the Pledge’s “Trailblazer Award,” which honors a trailblazer who uses its platform to amplify critical work to transform systems of injustice, helping support equality and prosperity for all.

Launched in 2020, the Pledge is a nonprofit organization encouraging retailers to commit at least 15% of their shelf space to Black-owned businesses.

The awards are aimed to help unlock the next horizon of growth for Black-owned-and-led businesses as they continue to face systemic hurdles to access needed capital to thrive.

Securing capital remains an ongoing battle for Black entrepreneurs who wrestle with the issue more often than their non-diverse peers.

Here is a glimpse of the award winners at this year’s event:

  • Abena Boamah-Acheampong of hanahana beauty won the 2nd Achievement Award, a $200,000 grant sponsored by Shop with Google.
  • Malaika Jones, founder of Brown Girl Jane, captured the inaugural Sephora Beauty Grant, a $100,000 award created with the goal of unlocking the next level of growth for the brand.

Boamah-Acheampong expressed her gratitude to Fifteen Percent Pledge founder Aurora James, Chair Emma Grede, and to the organizations for helping her grow. “Everyone who has come up on stage tonight has talked about how hard it is to be a Black founder and the barriers we go against. One thing about Hanahana is we are transparent about it—we think about sustainability, and we think about access, from our producers all the way to the people buying our products.”

“I am here because someone gave me a chance,” James said. “I know firsthand what it feels like to receive a life-changing opportunity. As most of you know, I started Brother Vellies with just $3500 at a flea market 10 years ago. And we are all here tonight, not just to get dressed up in our black-tie Black designer. We are here because someone else gave each of us a shot.  And we cannot take our privilege for granted; we have to pay it forward.”

Another focal point  was saluting the opening of the Fifteen Shop. Presented by financial services giant Citi, the Fifteen Shop included four temporary pop-up stores.

RELATED CONTENT: Black And Women Businesses Among Firms That Can Pursue $10K Grants From Citizens Bank