Following recent social upheavals across the U.S over racism and police killings of unarmed African-Americans, several big corporations are reflecting on ways to invest in black communities and black-owned businesses.
In this regard, Google recently announced that it was committing $2.3 million to fund black-owned tech companies in Atlanta, Georgia. The donation forms part of wider support to black business startups launched by Google called Black Founders Fund. Through this initiative, Google will give selected black tech founders between $50,000 and $100,000 in the capital along with hands-on support to help their startup grow.
“We are committed to helping Black founders who have been deeply impacted by COVID-19 and who are disproportionately locked out of access to the funding they need to succeed,” said Jewel Burks Solomon, who serves as Head of Google for Startups in the US, according to BET.
“By combining cash awards with Google for Startups mentorship and programming, we hope to help create a more level playing field for these founders, who are building amazing companies and making an impact on their communities.”
According to the Harvard Business Review, Black founders receive less than 1% of venture capital, therefore the Black Founders Fund was created to address challenges with VC funding for black-owned businesses. More than 30 of the 76 recipients of the fund are based in Atlanta.
They include tech firms such as Healthy Hip Hop, Just Add Honey, Portrait Coffee, Origyn, Laine London, Jax Rideshare Rentals, Mar Dat, TruDiary, Vibe Ride and LVNGbook. Others include SOILS, PRAISE, Staat, TQIntelligence, TruDiary, U Scope and Technologies Vibe Ride.
In June, Google committed $175 million on racial equity programs to finance black-owned businesses, startup founders, job seekers and developers. The funding, made known by Google CEO Sundar Pichai, also include changes aimed at curbing racism against black people as well as supporting Google employees and their families. The funding has been categorized under four areas.
Google says it will commit $50 million in financing and grants for small businesses, focused on the Black community and in partnership with Opportunity Finance Network. Also, $100 million will be put into Black-led capital firms, startups and organizations supporting Black entrepreneurs while $15 million will be directed toward training to help Black job seekers grow their skills.
In addition, Google’s CEO said more than $10 million will be channelled toward improving Black community’s access to education, equipment and economic opportunities in its developer ecosystem, and increase equity, representation and inclusion on all Google platforms.
“We are honoured to work with Google for Startups to bring our expertise of providing business connections to accelerate growth, mentoring, peer-accountability, best practice sharing, and a community for founder support,” said Joey Womack, CEO of Goodie Nation, according to Hypepotamus
Beyond Google’s initiatives to support black businesses, other notable ones include Beyonce’s “The Black-Owned Small Businesses Impact Fund.” The initiative was launched in partnership with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to assist small businesses negatively impacted by COVID-19.