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RICE Center Recieves $1M Grant To Create PayPal Retail Academy

The Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs received a $1 million grant from PayPal to launch a PayPal Retail Academy designed to help Black businesses get off the ground.

According to a press release, the grant is a continuation of PayPal’s Southern Communities Initiative, launched in April 2021, to address the racial wealth gap. MSN reported the initiative is set to launch in January 2024. 

RICE President and CEO Jay Bailey shared the implications of the program.

“Beyond education, this partnership symbolizes growth for our entrepreneurial community,” Bailey said.

“We recognize the paramount importance of harnessing retail avenues and embracing digital transformation. The PayPal Retail Academy will serve as a conduit for this knowledge, empowering RICE Stakeholders to navigate the complexities of retail with resilience and innovation. Every facet of the academy is meticulously designed to elevate entrepreneurs to new heights.”   

PayPal is allowing RICE to manage and facilitate the formation of the academy, which will be open to all companies and businesses in the group, focusing on underrepresented communities served in the Atlanta metro area. Academy participants will receive grants from $2,500 to $10,000, along with mentorship and coaching from PayPal employees. 

RICE’s hub is the largest in the country dedicated to providing resources to Black-owned businesses. It supports over 360 Black-owned businesses at different stages of development, ranging from ideation to scaling up.

PayPal previously awarded the RICE Center a $5 million grant in 2020 to help Black-owned businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the press release, PayPal’s CEO Dan Schulman said that the grant fits into PayPal’s mission of supporting a diverse financial system.

“Empowering entrepreneurs and helping strengthen small businesses are key to PayPal’s mission to make our financial system more accessible and inclusive,” Schulman said.

“Through invaluable partnerships with organizations like RICE, we can create greater economic opportunity and build thriving communities.”

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