Fearless Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Fearless Fund, the first venture capital fund built by women of color, for women of color, has partnered with Amazon’s Black Business Accelerator for a multi-phase grant program that will bolster Black women-owned, consumer product-based businesses.
Seventy-five Black women-owned businesses are receiving grants in amounts between $10,000 – $20,000, in addition to enrollment in Amazon’s Black Business Accelerator, which is dedicated to providing growth opportunities for Black-owned product-based businesses selling in Amazon’s store.
This marks a significant opportunity for greater representation in retail as only 6 percent of US retail businesses have a Black owner, despite Black Americans representing 14 percent of the US adult population as of data from 2020.
Where there’s Hope, there’s always Faith
Hope (on the right) and Faith Rivers, twin sisters and owners of Moa Zen Jewelry in Charlotte, North Carolina, spoke to The Black Wall Street Times about what it’s like to operate a Black women-owned business.
As twin sisters, artists & visionaries, the Lowcountry natives and Queen City transplants, the Rivers twins seamlessly blend their love of art, culture, and community into a grassroots brand with a luxurious feel.
Hope says, “the biggest challenge for being a Black entrepreneur, not just female, is the constant cycle of having to prove that your quality is not subpar. So we’re all working harder at our business than our peers who may not be melanated.”
Despite the uphill hardships faced by Black entrepreneurs, Hope finds community as the emotional sustenance for herself and Faith.
“The reward comes from people who really appreciate the value that we bring, I think they appreciate the fact that we go the extra mile with our service and the quality of our products, Hope explained. “It’s just nice to be appreciated and to get that support, especially from our community.”
“I’m less concerned about whether other communities support us or understand what our vision is. But I am beyond elated when I receive encouragement or a compliment from an older Black woman or from a Black couple who understands what we’re doing and how it impacts our community,” Hope says.
She concluded, “I just really appreciate the people who pour into our spirit because they see that we are trying to contribute to a much bigger picture.”
Contributing to the bigger picture and reinvesting in community is a common thread woven into the fabric of Black-owned businesses.
From Moa Zen in Charlotte to Venita Cooper’s Silhouette Sneakers & Art in Tulsa, Oklahoma to California’s licensed firearms instructor and dealer, Brandi Joseph, owner of Fortune Firearms which teaches gun safety, Black women are consistently helping communities to feel safer, represented, and liberated.
Amazon says BBA will target systemic barriers “to create sustainable pathways”
On Thursday, it was announced the Fearless Foundation, a 501(c)(3) philanthropic arm of Fearless Fund, the first venture capital fund built by women of color, for women of color, has partnered with Amazon’s Black Business Accelerator for a multi-phase grant program that will bolster Black women-owned, consumer product-based business.
“We are excited to enroll business grant recipients in Amazon’s Black Business Accelerator, giving each brand access to an unparalleled network of mentors that will allow them to reach their professional goals,” says Arian Simone, Co-Founder and General Partner of Fearless Fund.
By participating in Amazon’s Black Business Accelerator, founders will access a suite of resources, including financial assistance, business education and coaching, and marketing support.
BBA supports the success of Black-owned businesses by providing a place for their businesses, to start, scale, and create a community to encourage and inspire them along the journey.
“We stand firm in our vision to target systemic barriers and leverage our entire community to create sustainable pathways to equity that build generational wealth for not only Black-owned businesses and Black women-owned businesses, but all underserved businesses,” says Danyel Surrency Jones, Director, and Head of Amazon’s Black Business Accelerator.
Through strategic partnerships, grant programs, educational programs, and college scholarships, the Fearless Foundation will create opportunities to encourage and aid those who are in need of equitable and sustainable support.