Online retail giant Amazon has made a $150 million commitment to supporting Black-owned businesses on its platform through a new accelerator program.
The Black Business Accelerator, launched on June 15, aims to build sustainable equity and growth for Black entrepreneurs by enabling their success as sellers in the Amazon store, Amazon Manager Brandi Neloms said.
The company will work in partnership with non-profit organizations to provide financial assistance, business education and mentorship, and marketing and promotion to enable economic advancement for Black entrepreneurs.
“Amazon feels this was important, because history and data show us that Black-owned businesses are underrepresented in retail,” Neloms said. “Currently Black Americans represent 14% of the population yet only 6% of the sellers. So there’s a disparity there.”
$10,000 grants are available to businesses that sell products that are shippable via Amazon, not service-based businesses, Neloms said, and qualified applicants will need a professional selling account and a “Diverse Ownership” certificate.
The accelerator program was the brainchild of Tiffany Johnson, an account manager at Amazon, who noticed the disparity between the percentage of Black consumers and those that were successful sellers. In response, she developed the foundation of the program idea and championed it to the company.
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