Brands Address Equity Gap for Black Business Owners and Entrepreneurs

Apr 16, 2021 10:30 AM ET
Blog

Black Americans make up 13.4 percent of the U.S. population, but own only 2.2 percent of overall businesses, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This data shines a light on the existing equity gap in the business world today – and the opportunity for companies to close the gap through supplier diversification as well as by creating access and opportunities for Black makers, entrepreneurs and business owners to thrive and flourish. Today, we explore how three companies are launching initiatives to build racial equity.

  • With social media apps continuously flagged for lack of diversity or having hostile environments, Pinterest is course-correcting by establishing a $500,000 Creator Fund. In addition to policy changes to better protect its users, the Fund focuses on uplifting creators from minority communities by offering consulting, ad credits and compensation for content creation. Alexandra Nikolajev, Creator Inclusivity Lead for Pinterest, explains that this Fund is part of the brand’s overall “journey to build a globally inclusive platform where Pinners and Creators around the world can discover ideas that feel personalized, relevant and reflective of who they are."
  • Hornitos Tequila has teamed up with The Black List to create the ‘Take Your Shot' program that will spotlight underrepresented filmmakers. The project kicks-off with a contest to identify five emerging producers to support through funding and mentorship – ultimately turning their screenplays into proof of concept short films. This campaign aims to empower diverse creatives to create content that can inspire future generations and break through the historic marginalization of creators of color in media production.
  • Target is taking large strides in its commitment to racial equity by pledging to spend over $2 billion with more than 500 Black-owned businesses by 2025. Through this initiative, the retail company will focus on shelving wide-ranging products from Black-owned companies, as well as bolster Black entrepreneurs by assisting them with product development and scaling their production for mass retail. This drive for equity is part of Target’s ongoing dedication to social justice led by its REACH committee. 

As brands continue to “do the work,” it is important to keep in mind that external efforts are just as critical as in-house JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion) strategies. Indeed, 74 percent of Americans believe that companies should not only address internal inequalities, but also engage and take action in the broader societal movement. As more brands focus on how they can support Black communities, they must go beyond their ‘four walls’ and statements of support and start to create extrinsic opportunities within communities and throughout broader business sector.