Visa grant program to boost Black women-owned businesses in Detroit, U.S.
Visa on Thursday announced a program aiming to boost Black women-owned businesses in six cities across the country, including Detroit.
As part of the effort, Visa is committing $1 million to extend its grant and mentorship program to Black women entrepreneurs in the city and five others with a high concentration of Black-owned businesses: Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and Washington, D.C.
Grant applications open Thursday ahead of International Women’s Day on Monday, the company said in a statement.
In those cities, there is also a multi-million-dollar marketing campaign to steer customers to support Black and women entrepreneurs, according to the release.
“The pandemic has impacted all small businesses — but those run by women and people of color have been disproportionately affected,” said Kimberly Lawrence, head of U.S., Visa. “With this hyperlocal focus on some of the hardest-hit cities, Visa aims to make a meaningful difference, quickly, for the communities and their business owners who need it most.”
Meanwhile, in a new partnership with Black Girl Ventures, Visa "will work with local organizations and influencers to reach small businesses, identify their most pressing technological needs and provide them with the products and education they need to thrive," the company said.
“Black Girl Ventures is proud to partner with Visa on both not only financially assisting these entrepreneurs, but on providing a megaphone to each community’s most pressing needs,” said Shelly Bell, the group's founder. “While the Black Lives Matter movement elevated consumer support of these businesses, the movement must continue to lift up these neighborhoods financially and spiritually.”
The initiative builds on another Visa effort, She’s Next, which targets women-owned small businesses.
It also comes after a report from Visa this month found that 71% of Black women-owned businesses estimate they cannot survive another year under pandemic conditions.