30 November 2023

Amazon’s New Program Boosts Black-Owned Businesses

By Ronald Smith

I’ve got some exciting news to share with you. Amazon has just kicked off its Black Business Accelerator Program, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it.

Now, you might be wondering what this program is all about. Well, let me break it down for you. The Black Business Accelerator Program is a special initiative by Amazon designed to support and uplift Black-owned businesses. It’s all about giving these businesses the resources and tools they need to thrive in today’s competitive market.

So, how does it work? Great question! Amazon will provide dedicated support and coaching to Black entrepreneurs, helping them grow their businesses and reach new heights. This includes mentorship from industry experts, access to capital, and assistance in marketing and advertising.

One of the coolest things about this program is that it will also help Black business owners gain exposure to millions of Amazon customers. Through partnerships and promotions, Amazon will help these businesses shine and connect with a wider audience.

I find it truly inspiring to see a major company like Amazon taking steps to empower and uplift the Black community. By providing these resources, Amazon is not only supporting individual businesses but also driving economic growth and creating more opportunities for Black entrepreneurs.

As I wrap up, I encourage you to keep an eye out for the incredible Black-owned businesses that will be part of Amazon’s Black Business Accelerator Program. By supporting these businesses, we can all contribute to building a more inclusive and vibrant economy.

Amazon's New Program Boosts Black-Owned Businesses

Guess what? Amazon just made a big announcement! They’re starting a super cool program called the Black Business Accelerator, and it’s worth a whopping $150 million! Can you believe it?

You know, most of the businesses that sell stuff on Amazon are small or medium-sized. Actually, almost 60% of all the things you buy on Amazon come from these third-party sellers. And you know what else? These sellers had a really great year in 2020, with lots of sales and success.

Now, Amazon wants to make sure that Black-owned businesses get to experience that same kind of success. How awesome is that?

Get Ready for the Black Business Accelerator!

So, here’s the deal: Amazon’s Black Business Accelerator is all about helping Black business owners like you succeed. They’re offering things like money (which they call capital), guidance on how to run your business, mentorship from experienced professionals, and even help with marketing and promoting your brand and products. Sounds amazing, right?

Oh, and here’s a fun fact: this whole program was made possible by Amazon’s Black Employee Network and a group of awesome partners who all teamed up to make it happen.

Selling things online, especially on Amazon, can be a really great way for people to make money, says Brandi Neloms, who works at Amazon. This program gives entrepreneurs the chance to be really successful at selling things online.

We’re helping Black-owned businesses get involved with and take advantage of the opportunities that Amazon offers, Neloms added. This has been a tough time for a lot of small businesses, but selling on Amazon has allowed many of them to keep making sales and even grow, despite the COVID-19 crisis.

We want to make sure that Black-owned businesses also have the chance to do well on Amazon, Neloms said.

How does Amazon’s Black Business Accelerator work?

I’ve got some awesome news for you – Amazon’s BBA program is here to help you, whether you already have a small business or are dreaming of starting one. With BBA, you’ll get access to all kinds of support to grow your business and make the most of selling on Amazon. Let me break it down for you:

Financial Assistance

As a BBA participant, you can take advantage of services and grants that will give your business a boost. You’ll get Amazon credits and services worth $3,900, including free product imaging services and advertising credits. These will help you jump-start your growth and attract new customers.

Cash Grants of $10,000 Available

Guess what? In partnership with Hello Alice, Amazon is offering cash grants of $10,000! Hello Alice is all about helping entrepreneurs like you launch and grow their businesses. This initial round of grants is just the beginning.

Business Education Mentorship

You can now get one year of free strategic advisory services to help you improve your business. I believe it’s crucial for black entrepreneurs to have access to mentorship and networks that can open up growth opportunities. That’s why we have partnered with experts who have a proven track record in this field. They will provide you with coaching, training, and insights to take your business to the next level. Additionally, you will have the chance to connect with a network of business mentors, including Amazon experts and small business thought leaders, who will continue to support and guide you as you accelerate your business growth.

Marketing Promotion

Shopping for products from Black-owned businesses can sometimes be a challenge. It’s not always easy to find exactly what you’re looking for. But that’s where initiatives like the Black-owned business storefronts come in. They’re designed to make it easier for both regular customers and Amazon Business customers to discover and purchase products from these businesses. When you’re shopping, you’ll come across promotions and features that highlight Black-owned businesses, making it simple to support them.

But that’s not all. Recently, Amazon has made some changes to help you find products from minority-owned businesses. When you search for something, you’ll see results that include products from these businesses. This way, you can easily find and buy from certified businesses that may not have shown up in your search before.

To make all of this happen, Amazon has joined forces with the Minority Business Development Agency and U.S. Black Chambers Inc. These organizations will not only provide support and resources, but they’ll also offer mentorship, business development, training, and educational tools to help these businesses thrive.

Right now, my focus is on helping Black business owners succeed, Neloms said. I’m excited to work with our partners to develop similar programs for other groups of business owners who also face barriers.

Ron Busby Sr., the President and CEO of the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc., expressed his enthusiasm for the partnership.

We admire Amazon’s commitment to addressing the racial inequalities that have caused numerous Black-owned businesses to close amid the pandemic, said Busby. By providing financial support, education, and mentorship through the Black Business Accelerator, Amazon is empowering businesses affiliated with the USBC and Black entrepreneurs to not only survive but thrive in a world after the pandemic.

Challenges Faced by Black Entrepreneurs

It’s hard for Black entrepreneurs to get what they need to succeed. They don’t have as much money to start their businesses or people to guide them. And there are not enough Black-owned stores for people to shop at. The U.S. Census Bureau says that only 6% of retail businesses are owned by Black people, even though Black Americans make up 14% of the adults in the country.

Recently, Amazon tried a test program called BBA with Black-owned businesses that were already selling on Amazon. Some people who took part in the program had this to say:

Toyin Kolawole, CEO, Iya Foods: I love how Amazon welcomes everyone with open arms. It’s like they leave the door wide open for us to step in. Thanks to Amazon, we have access to a massive group of customers, giving us the chance to offer our unique products directly to millions of potential buyers. We value the honest reviews and feedback from our customers. It helps us improve, understand what our customers like, come up with new ideas, and grow our business.

Karen Blackwell, founder and CEO, Kanda Chocolates: Ever since I joined the Black Business Accelerator pilot on Amazon, my business has taken off. I’ve been able to improve my product listings by strategically optimizing them, using imaging services to make them look even better, and tapping into Amazon’s advertising tools to create more awareness for my brand.

An Interview with Brandi Neloms from Amazon

Want to find out about the Black Business Accelerator? Well, guess what? I had an amazing conversation with Brandi Neloms from Amazon, and she spilled all the tea! You won’t want to miss it. Set your clocks for 2 p.m. (EDT) today and head over to the USamerica.US Facebook page. We’ll be going live!