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American Express launched a brand-new Coalition to Back Black Business today, pledging $10 million for a grant program supporting Black-owned small businesses in the U.S. The $10 million will fund recovery grants awarded to Black-owned businesses that have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The coalition, launched by American Express in partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, is a collaboration between the National Black Chamber of Commerce, the National Business League, Walker’s Legacy, and the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc.
The coalition is a lifeline for Black-owned businesses with three to 20 employees that are struggling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent closures nationwide. In the early months of the pandemic’s spread in the U.S., the New York Fed found Black-owned small businesses were twice as likely to close in comparison with small businesses across the country. Further, research from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and MetLife, shows that minority-owned businesses are less likely to be approved for a loan and that two-thirds of minority-owned businesses have, in recent months, felt concern over potentially having to close up shop.
American Express has long since been an advocate for small businesses, from creating Small Business Saturday to offering redeemable shopping small offers to Platinum Card Members. Their commitment to independently owned businesses and underrepresented communities consistently comes through in actions like this pioneering Coalition to Back Black Business.
“Small businesses play a crucial role in our communities, and when the pandemic hit, Black-owned small businesses were hit the hardest,” said Anré Williams, group president of Global Merchant & Network Services at American Express. “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.”
Starting today, Black small business owners can apply for a grant from the Coalition to Back Black Business by September 21, 2020. The businesses selected—at least 25% of which will be owned specifically by Black women—will receive $5,000, funded by Amex.