Amazon is launching a startup accelerator for Black entrepreneurs that could help fix one of the biggest problems in venture capital
Amazonis launching a Black Business Accelerator that includes education and mentorship for founders.
- The company says it's aiming to "help build sustainable equity and growth" for Black businesses.
- Black founders only receive about 1% of all
venture capitalfunding, studies show.
Amazon announced Tuesday that it is launching an initiative known as the Black Business Accelerator.
The company says it's committing $150 million over the next four years to give Black business owners access to "financial support, business education and mentorship, and marketing and promotion of their brands and products as third-party sellers in our store."
This new initiative was created in partnership with Amazon's Black Employee Network, the US Minority Business Development Agency, and the U.S Black Chamber. The company says it's aiming to "help build sustainable equity and growth" for Black businesses.
"Black entrepreneurs have less access to capital, mentorship, and growth opportunities. They are also significantly underrepresented in retail," Amazon said. "According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 6% of U.S. retail businesses have a Black owner-even though Black Americans represent 14% of the U.S. adult population."
Only 1% of Black founders seeking venture capital actually receive funding, according to the Harvard Business Review. The publication says the low numbers due to venture capital investors being largely white and not "good at recognizing and developing Black entrepreneurs."
Insider previously reported that only 4% of people working as venture capitalists are Black, and the number of Black people leading investments is only 3%, according to the National Venture Capital Association.
"As the fastest-growing category of small businesses, Black-owned businesses are significant contributors to the economic vitality of U.S. communities," Joann Hill, head of business development for the MBDA, said in a press release. "We are proud to partner with Amazon on its Black Business Accelerator to support the growth and global competitiveness of Black-owned businesses."
Google announced its own initiative back in March, pledging $2 million to fund Black tech startup founders in Europe.
"Selling on Amazon unlocks a powerful and proven economic engine that enables entrepreneurs to build their brands and sell their products to our more than 300 million global customers," Amazon said. "We know that customers value the wide selection and diversity of products offered by these businesses, and we are excited to see the offerings these new sellers will bring."
Are you a Black entrepreneur or founder? We want to hear about your experience. Get in touch with this reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org"
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