Shaquille O'Neal has joined forces with American Express to launch the "Coalition to Back Black Businesses" fund. The initiative will provide $10 million in grants to Black-owned businesses negatively impacted by the pandemic.
”Small businesses play a crucial role in our communities, and when the pandemic hit, Black-owned small businesses were hit the hardest,” Anré Williams of American Express stated.
As of July, more than 400,000 Black-owned businesses have closed during the pandemic. Research from the National Bureau of Economic Research and the University of California, Santa Cruz found that 41% of Black businesses have been negatively impacted or closed during the pandemic.
“The Coalition is aimed to provide eligible Black-owned small businesses with much-needed capital to help recover from the devastating impacts of the pandemic and help them rebuild their businesses," Williams added.
While O'Neal and American Express are leading this initiative, there are a number of other organizations providing funds and other resources to this partnership. The National Black Chamber of Commerce, the National Business League, the U.S. Black Chambers Inc., and Walker’s Legacy are stepping in to support the "Coalition to Back Black Businesses." In addition to monetary support, O'Neal and company pledge to supply a variety of resources to help businesses take their next step
“We’re not only giving money but also guiding them and helping them with what they need to get to the next level," O'Neal added.
Approximately 280 businesses with between three and 20 employees will be eligible for a $5,000 grant. Applications for the "Coalition to Back Black Businesses" fund are now open through September 21.
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