Coalition to Back Black Businesses Grants
By Yagmur Cosar
WASHINGTON, DC—The Coalition to Back Black Business (CBBB) recently announced it has awarded $5,000 grants to three hundred twenty-four Black small business owners representing forty states, District of Columbia, and the United States Virgin Islands, delivering on its mission to advance the long-term success and resilience of America’s Black-owned small businesses.
The CBBB is a multi-year initiative founded in 2020 by the United States Chamber of Commerce Foundation with a $10 million commitment from American Express to support Black small business owners and the communities they serve as they recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and chart a path forward.
The initiative is led in partnership with four national Black business organizations: the National Black Chamber of Commerce; the National Business League; the United States Black Chambers, Inc.; and Walker’s Legacy. This year, the program also received support from Cummins, Optimum, and Shopify.
“Strong small businesses make strong communities, and we’re proud of the CBBB’s impact in helping them create jobs and opportunities,” said Carolyn Cawley, president of the US Chamber Foundation. “By combining grants, mentorship, and long-term resources, CBBB is helping small business owners create distinction from competitors, better meet customer demand, and stay current on business necessities such as rent, utilities, and payroll. We’re honored to be able to support their growth and resilience, now and in the long term.”
How CBBB Grantmaking Helps
When asked how the $5,000 grant helped their businesses, this round of recipients shared that:
Seventy percent of this round of grantees have fewer than five employees and seventy-two percent have been in business for less than five years, highlighting how CBBB is supporting businesses during their most critical time—the start-up and early-growth phases. Seventy percent of the grantees are women.
CBBB grantee Yvonne Elosiebo is the founder of Bossing Up, Inc., an online wholesale marketplace which builds relationships between Black-owned suppliers and retailers that would otherwise have little opportunity to get their products placed on new store shelves. “We had a 2022 goal of joining an incubator to get business coaching to help scale for future growth. The grant boosted our current resources to help us transform our website to streamline our customer acquisition process, plus I am really excited about the mentoring resources that come with the grant. This is helping us prepare to take the business to the next level.”
As in previous years, this group of three hundred twenty-four Black-owned small businesses are eligible to apply for $25,000 enhancement grants, which will be provided in Summer 2023. Enhancement grants have been used by past recipients to improve online presence, purchase new equipment, and expand to a new location. New this year, one hundred fifty additional Black business owners will receive coaching through CBBB partner, ZenBusiness, to help grow their businesses.
Trends in CBBB Grantmaking
To date, the CBBB has awarded more than $8.1 million in grant dollars to one thousand four hundred fourteen Black small business owners. Collectively, sixty-five percent of those are woman owned.
Trends in recent years’ top challenges for Black-owned small businesses spotlight the importance of CBBB grantmaking. In 2021, grantees reported that “reduced consumer traffic” was the top challenge affecting their business—a lingering pandemic effect—while today’s grantees note “access to capital” as the leading concern. This signals a return to historical challenges Black-owned businesses have faced outside of crises such as the pandemic and highlights there may be more disruptions on the horizon as pandemic-era government assistance (e.g., PPP loans) ramps down.
To learn more about the Coalition to Back Black Businesses and its impact on the Black small business community, read our impact report.
About the Coalition to Back Black Businesses
The Coalition to Back Black Businesses (CBBB) is a multi-year grantmaking and training initiative founded by American Express and the United States Chamber of Commerce Foundation, in partnership with the nation’s leading Black business associations—the National Black Chamber of Commerce, National Business League, United States Black Chambers, Inc., and Walker's Legacy—to help support Black-owned small businesses as they recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and chart a path forward. The initiative launched in Fall 2020 and provides grants, training, and long-term resources through 2024 to qualifying Black-owned small businesses.
About the United States Chamber of Commerce Foundation
The United States Chamber of Commerce Foundation is dedicated to strengthening America’s long-term competitiveness. We educate the public on the conditions necessary for business and communities to thrive, how business positively impacts communities, and emerging issues and creative solutions that will shape the future.
Yagmur Cosar is the Senior Director, Communications at the United States Chamber of Commerce Foundation. She leads all aspects of the Foundation’s strategic communications efforts, driving outreach to key stakeholders and media to raise awareness of major initiatives and tell the story of business for good.
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