WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation announced the Coalition to Back Black Businesses has awarded 20 Black-owned small businesses from CBBB’s 2021 grant program an additional $25,000 enhancement grant to support their growth and long-term success.

Among the 20 recipients – 45% of which started their business during the pandemic – 80% are women-owned small businesses and 85% have six or fewer employees.

Now in its second year, the CBBB initiative was established in September 2020 by the U.S. Chamber Foundation, founding partner American Express, and four leading national Black business organizations – the National Black Chamber of Commerce, National Business League, U.S. Black Chambers, Inc., and Walker’s Legacy – to provide immediate financial assistance and mentorship opportunities to help strengthen the Black business community. Since its launch, CBBB has awarded grants to 1,091 Black-owned small businesses in 40 states to help cover essential needs as they navigated the pandemic, from covering rent and payroll expenses to expanding their online presence and marketing efforts.

(Photos from Coalition to Back Black Businesses)

“We proudly back small businesses because they are the backbone of communities across the country,” said Madge Thomas, head of corporate sustainability and president of the American Express Foundation. “In the second year of this program, we welcome the chance to continue to help Black-owned businesses recover from the pandemic, innovate, and grow.”

According to a survey conducted in January 2022, Black-owned businesses hit record levels of lower sales, with more than half reporting lower sales than in the previous year. Meanwhile, CBBB grantees report being optimistic about the future of their business, with 50% of them experiencing increased revenue in the second half of 2021. After more than two years into the pandemic, reduced consumer traffic, access to capital, and employee availability remain top obstacles to business growth.

Additional funding from ADP, AIG, Altice USA (parent company of Optimum and Suddenlink), Dow, and the S&P Global Foundation, along with programmatic support from Stanley Black & Decker, Shopify, and Firefli, will provide $14 million in grants and other critical resources, like mentorship, to support Black small business owners across the country through 2024.

For more information about Dr. Che Ward’s business, click here.

For more information about CBBB, click here.