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      35 Resources That Will Empower Black Business Owners to Thrive


      Black entrepreneurs and inventors have brought us some of the world’s most important innovations, from blood banks to color PC monitors. The history of Black entrepreneurialism stretches back centuries, and our lives would not be the same without it.

      There’s no denying that today’s Black business owners have hurdles to overcome, from accessing capital and mentorship opportunities to the instability and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, however, there are many grants and resources that can help you and your business thrive.

      Keep reading as we explore the impressive legacy of Black entrepreneurship, along with 35 resources to help support you as you launch and grow your company.

      Black Entrepreneurship Deserves to be Celebrated

      The importance of celebrating the legacy of Black entrepreneurship throughout Black history cannot be understated.

      The National Negro Business League, founded in 1900, predates the United States Chamber of Commerce. Its existence points to a long history of Black business ownership and a community spirit that saw Black Americans supporting each other in the face of racial inequality and discrimination.

      Black entrepreneurs have helped shape our modern world, and they have done so despite a history of racial segregation and discrimination. And today, Black-owned businesses help narrow the racial wealth gap, strengthen local economies, and create jobs within the community.

      Resources That Will Enable Black Business Owners to Succeed

      Whether you’re just getting started or looking to expand your already successful company, the right support can enable your business to thrive. We’ve gathered 35 resources — from grants and equity investments to training and mentorship — listed in alphabetical order below.

      resources for black-owned businesses

      Resources for Black Business Owners in the United States

      Accion Opportunity Fund (AOF)

      The nonprofit AOF offers loans from $5,000 to $100,000 in size, as well as interactive learning, business coaching, and mentoring. Ninety percent of its clients are diverse, with a focus on people of color and women.

      Amazon’s Black Business Accelerator

      U.S.-based businesses who are certified Black-owned and ready to sell products via Amazon (or are already doing so) can access a variety of support through this initiative. This support includes cash grants, advertising credits, free imaging services, and a year or more of advisory services to help your Amazon business succeed.

      After enrolling in this program, you can then sign up for BBA Connect: an initiative that gives you access to further training and mentorship, as well as networking opportunities with other Black Amazon sellers.

      Backstage Capital

      Venture capital firm Backstage Capital works with underrepresented entrepreneurs, including people of color, women, and the LGBTQ+ community. The company funds businesses within all industries. Backstage Capital is primarily focused on U.S.-based enterprises, although it will consider international applications.

      Black Business Alliance

      The nonprofit, U.S.-based Black Business Alliance offers workshops and training, loans, mentoring and coaching, technical assistance, and events and networking. Many of these initiatives are free and targeted at small and medium-sized businesses within the United States.

      Black Connect

      The not-for-profit organization Black Connect is centered around networking opportunities for Black people across the United States. However, it also has some members in the Caribbean, Africa, and the U.K.

      Black Connect also provides funding through pitch competitions, while its Business & Entrepreneur Assessment program is a mentorship-based scheme that helps Black entrepreneurs launch their businesses.

      Coalition to Back Black Businesses

      Coalition to Back Black Businesses provides grants of $5,000 to$25,000 along with coaching for Black-owned businesses in economically vulnerable communities across the U.S. Launched in 2020. It is currently programmed to run until 2024 to help businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Although businesses must be in economically vulnerable communities, at present, this includes 80% of U.S. zip codes.

       

      DivInc Accelerators

      Nonprofit DivInc provides three-month accelerator programs for early-stage tech founders who are people of color and/or women. The programs are full-time and include coaching and strategy sessions, networking, legal consulting, and a customized curriculum designed around your company’s needs. Many of the accelerator programs also provide a grant on completion.

      The organization also provides Validation Bootcamps for entrepreneurs with potential business ideas and runs the Startup Sistas networking group for female entrepreneurs of color.

      Elevate Together

      Elevate Together is a nonprofit initiative that supports Black and Hispanic businesses with five or fewer employees. It runs business workshops, provides technical assistance, and connects entrepreneurs with a small business mentor. It also gives access to professional networks and platforms, including ones for nontraditional lending sources. Finally, Elevate Together offers cash grants and donates products and services, such as office furniture and printing services.

      Foundation for Business Equity

      The Foundation for Business Equity supports Black and Latinx entrepreneurs by facilitating their access to growth capital and corporate and large public contracts. It also provides strategic advisors, direct service specialists, and peer-to-peer support.

      Goldman Sachs’ One Million Black Women

      As part of their One Million Black Women initiative, Goldman Sachs provides investment capital for Black female entrepreneurs. The program will run until 2031, and you can apply through Hope credit union.

      Hello Alice Black Business Center

      Via its Black Business Center and in partnership with the NAACP, Hello Alice provides business guides, a funding database, and a community for Black entrepreneurs to network in. The funding database includes grants and loans from various organizations and grants offered directly by Hello Alice.

      Lemon-AID Foundation

      The Lemon-AID Foundation provides loans, equity investments, and grants to support small businesses. It is primarily serving minority- and women-owned companies.

      Minority Business Entrepreneur Magazine

      This magazine publishes a wide range of business management articles targeted towards minority business owners in the U.S. What’s more, its classifieds page shares adverts from businesses looking to work with minority-owned suppliers and subcontractors.

      National Black MBA Association (NBMAA)

      For Black entrepreneurs with or working toward an MBA, the NBMAA provides networking opportunities and training, scholarships, pitch challenges, and potential connections with venture capitalists.

      National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC)

      The NMDSC certifies minority-owned suppliers and connects them with larger corporations looking to diversify their supply chain. As well as operating within the U.S., it partners with international organizations to facilitate global trade. It’s worth noting that there is a fee for the certification process while paying further subscription fees gives businesses access to more opportunities.

      The organization also provides scholarships and grants, including ones targeted at young entrepreneurs (aged 19 to35).

      National Urban League

      The National Urban League provides counseling, training, mentorship, and support in accessing funding for people of color in the U.S. Additionally, their digital Advancing Black Entrepreneurs program is focused on business growth and sustainability.

      Small Business Administration 8(a) Business Development

      The 8(a) Business Development program is designed to help majority-owned businesses controlled by socially disadvantaged groups, including Black Americans. It helps these businesses gain government contracts, as well as provides mentoring, training, technical assistance, procurement assistance, and more. The 8(a) status lasts for nine years, with no need to reapply during that time.

      US Black Chambers (USBC)

      The USBC offers training, mentorship, free certification as a Black-owned business, entry into a Black-owned business directory, and more. In addition, it runs frequent events to support Black entrepreneurs, from boot camps to networking opportunities. It also partners with many large brands, including Google, Amazon, and Verizon, to ensure business owners are aware of upcoming opportunities and how to access them.

      US Department of Transport (DOT)’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program

      The DOT’s DBE helps businesses that are majority-owned by disadvantaged Americans apply for federally funded transportation projects, such as highway construction. Black Americans are automatically considered disadvantaged and are therefore eligible to apply.

      US Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)

      The MBDA has various programs and initiatives to help minority-owned businesses and entrepreneurs. For example, business and industry-specific centers across the U.S. provide advice from experts. The MBDA also has diverse grants available and programs to help connect entrepreneurs with lenders and investors.

      United States Minority Chamber of Commerce (US MCC)

      The U.S. MCC is open to members across the U.S. and Latin America. It facilitates networking, provides regular business training, and hosts numerous events, including Women Leadership Summits. Plus, it shares information about potential loans and grants.

      Additional Resources for US-Based Business Owners

      Accompany Capital

      Women, immigrants, and refugees in New York can access small business loans and microloans via Accompany Capital, in addition to workshops and webinars.

      Grants.gov

      Grants.gov contains a database of all available federally funded grants, along with information and educational resources on how to apply. It is also available as a mobile app.

      Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)

      LISC provides small business relief grants, digital-ready grants, and regional grants for small business owners. It also shares information about mentorship schemes, and business owners can go to their local LISC office for more advice and information on resources.

      National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE)

      NASE members can apply for growth grants for your business and yearly scholarship grants for college for dependents. The organization also provides advice on business law, strategy, IT, marketing, tax, and B2B leads and discounts on various business services from partners, ranging from payroll providers to various health insurance plans.

      Operation HOPE

      Operation HOPE provides a series of programs to support communities across the U.S. in achieving financial dignity and empowerment. Aspiring and/or new business owners can sign up for their eight-week Entrepreneurship Training Program, specifically designed for individuals lacking capital or access to funding and business education.

      The HOPE Business In A Box Academies (HBIABA) also provides middle and high school students with business training, mentors, and even start-up grants. s.

      USDA Rural Business Development Grants

      If you live in a town or rural area and employ fewer than 50 people, you are eligible to apply for a grant for technical assistance, training, and economic development. This covers everything from land acquisition to feasibility studies, with a full list of allowed uses on the website. There is no maximum limit for the grant amount.

      United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC)

      Latinx Americans will find that the USHCC has many programs and resources available. These include Avanzar, an eight-month business accelerator program; procurement matching events and supplier boot camps; networking opportunities; technical assistance; and more.

      US Small Business Administration (SBA)

      We previously discussed SBA’s 8(a) Business Development program, but that’s not all the SBA offers. You can also access free business counseling and resources to help you plan, launch, and manage your business, as well as business loans.

      Your Local Chamber of Commerce

      In addition to Black and minority chambers of commerce, signing up to your town or state’s local chamber of commerce may grant you access to training, funding opportunities, and more.

      We Support Your Dream

      Whatever your online goals, we’ll be right there with you, making sure your site is fast, secure, and always up. Plans start at $1.99/mo.

      Resources for Black Business Owners Around the World

      Accion International

      Similar to Accion’s U.S.-based Opportunity Fund above, Accion International provides services on a global scale. Applicants can receive advisory services, targeted coaching, and financial investments. In addition, online toolkits are readily available for all businesses.

      Currently, the organization operates in the Americas, Asia, Africa, and the United Kingdom.

      Black Business Network

      Black Business Network provides support for U.K.-based small and medium enterprises. This includes mentoring and skills development, events, and networking. The organization also recommends funding channels and releases reports on Black British entrepreneurship.

      Black Entrepreneurship Program

      The Government of Canada’s Black Entrepreneurship Program provides mentorship, training, and loans for Black-led businesses in the country. Some of these are only available for nonprofit businesses. The program also leads research into Black entrepreneurship within Canada.

      Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce

      Via the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce, business owners can be matched with mentors, receive free business advice, attend workshops, and bid on corporate and government contracts. There are also entrepreneur programs for women and youth.

      Kiva

      Nonprofit organization Kiva allows entrepreneurs across the world to access microloans while enabling ordinary people around the world to crowdfund them. Borrowers in the U.S. pay zero percent interest rates, while borrowers in other countries may pay interest rates to a local organization partnering with Kiva.

      The Tools You Need to Succeed as a Black Business Owner

      Launching a business is an act of passion and hard work. The right resources can support you in achieving your goals, yet it’s your dedication that will lead you to success.

      Here at DreamHost, we believe our job is to help set you up to thrive. That’s why we created our Ultimate Small Business Resource Guide —  for comprehensive tips on everything from building a website to creating a marketing strategy, be sure to check it out!



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      Get Ready for Black Friday With a Highly Available Infrastructure


      How to Join

      This Tech Talk is free and open to everyone. Register below to get a link to join the live stream or receive the video recording after it airs.

      Date Time RSVP
      November 2, 2021 11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. ET / 3:00–4:00 p.m. GMT

      About the Talk

      Is your eCommerce website ready for the holiday rush?

      Just a few minutes of downtime can cost you, especially during the highest grossing days of the year.

      See how you can prepare your infrastructure in time for Black Friday and the holiday season, scale sales, and grow your business along the way.

      What You’ll Learn

      • Updating your online store with no downtime
      • Preparing your infrastructure for large traffic spikes
      • Balancing speed, security, and scalability to increase profits

      This Talk is Designed For

      • Magento/Adobe Commerce developers
      • Technical leads for online shops
      • eCommerce managers

      Resources

      Adobe Commerce DevDocs
      Bunnyshell for eCommerce
      eCommerce software solutions on DigitalOcean

      Presenters

      Austin Black, Solutions Engineer, DigitalOcean
      Austin is a technical expert in software development, information security, and disaster recovery. He loves finding creative solutions to complex problems.

      Roxana Ciobanu, Chief Technical Officer, Bunnyshell
      As a tech enthusiast, she is continually expanding her expertise in cloud technologies and development lifecycle. She helps Bunnyshell’s clients to increase reliability and maximize uptime for their websites, especially during promotional season.



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      Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2020: What to Expect and How to Score the Best Deals


      To say everything has been different in 2020 is an understatement. Ever since COVID-19 hit, life has been turned around, from work to school to play. That goes for the upcoming holiday season, too. You might have to carve the turkey over Zoom this Thanksgiving.

      And the typical shopping sprees that follow on Black Friday and Cyber Monday will be different too.

      The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) even posted a guide on how to safely celebrate Thanksgiving during the pandemic, including the holiday shopping season. They advise staying close to home and skipping the in-store doorbuster deals in favor of bargain hunting online.

      But just because things have changed doesn’t mean you still can’t get into the holiday shopping spirit to nab the best deals of the year. The good news is you can still score major bargains while staying safe. We consulted the experts to help you do just that!

      Create a Budget

      “Given the economic impact of COVID-19, some Americans’ budgets will be tighter this holiday season,” says Sara Skirboll, Shopping & Trends Expert at RetailMeNot. “Nearly a third of Americans impacted by COVID-19 (30%) say they will have less money to spend on holiday gifts this year.”

      There’s a good chance COVID-19 may have impacted your budget, so the first step should be assessing exactly how much you have to spend, which may be a very different number than last year. Even if wallets are a little slimmer this season, many families are forging ahead, as usual, to create a bright spot for the holidays after a tough 2020.

      “Consumers are searching for normalcy this year,” Skirboll says. “In fact, 66% of Americans will spend the same amount or more on holiday shopping this year to create normalcy for their family.” Decide what’s reasonable and responsible for your own family.

      The Crowds Will Be Online

      Unsurprisingly, data shows that most people will be shopping online instead of in-store this Black Friday.

      “While we expect the same amount of people to be shopping during Black Friday, online traffic will be significantly higher than in-store traffic,” says Jon Vincent, founder of EarlyBlackFriday.com. “This is due to the fact that retailers will be pushing their customers to shop online and avoid a potential COVID-19 liability in their stores. The last thing retailers want to hear is that a super spreader event happened during their in-store Black Friday sale!”

      EarlyBlackFriday.com predicts a 25% increase in online shopping during Black Friday compared to Black Friday 2019. Traditionally, retailers offer their best Black Friday deals exclusively in stores, but now retailers will be putting their best doorbuster deals online.

      “This will limit the reasons for people to shop in stores,” Vincent says. “In fact, we highly recommend you do not go to the stores at all this Black Friday because every deal can be grabbed online safely from your home.”

      Know There Are Still Deals

      It’s no secret that many retailers are hurting after a tough year. While you might assume that means they’re less likely to slash prices, surprisingly, the opposite is true.

      “Retailers will be very aggressive this year,” says Jeff Rosenblum, co-founder of digital agency Questus. “They are facing pressure to generate revenue to offset the decrease in traditional retail sales and maximize the performance of their digital storefronts. Shoppers can capitalize on this pressure by taking advantage of attractive discounts and promotions.”

      This could be one of the best years ever for Black Friday bargains.

      Make a List

      Man sitting at a desk writing in a notebook.

      Retailers have always offered doorbuster deals that were too good to turn down to get people in stores with the plan that people make impulse buys while there.

      “By shopping online, it helps cut down on those last-minute impulse purchases,” Vincent says. “We suggest you do your research ahead of time by viewing the Black Friday ads in advance and creating a shopping list. By having a well-researched shopping list, you’ll feel better about sticking to it instead of being tempted by a different deal that you might see online.”

      Determine if the Price Is Right

      Just because something says “Black Friday deal” or “Cyber Monday sale” doesn’t mean its price has been significantly slashed. It’s up to you to do some detective work to determine if you’re actually getting a good deal.

      “There is a two-step process that consumers should follow to ensure they are getting the best deals,” Vincent says. “First, on EarlyBlackFriday.com, each retailer’s Black Friday ad is leaked weeks in advance. Take your shopping list and visit the retailer’s website that day to see what the current price of the item is. This will give you an indication of how hot a Black Friday deal is. For example, if the current price is only $10 more than the Black Friday price, the deal might not be that great. Finally, compare prices with other retailers, starting with Amazon.com. If Amazon’s price is significantly higher than the price being offered during Black Friday, you know it’s a great deal.”

      Learn Where to Shop — and When

      “Take advantage of key retail holidays like Cash Back Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Prime Day, and Free Shipping Day,” Skirboll says. “You can score deep discounts on everything from apparel and electronics to beauty, toys, home goods, and more. Shopping on these occasions will help stretch your dollars further. Scour the internet for what’s on your shopping list as some retailers might offer it at a better price or have better offers. Don’t assume you’re getting the best deals until you have searched for coupons and cash-back offers. Do your research and price compare.”

      Take a two-step approach by searching for a sale or coupon code and combine that with a cash-back offer to stack your savings.

      Often, the bigger the retailer, the better the deal. “Traditionally Target, Walmart, and Best Buy have been the best places to find deals during Black Friday, and we expect that trend to continue this year,” Vincent says.

      Even DreamHost will have a Black Friday sale.[a]

      Go Big This Black Friday Weekend

      Our automatic updates and strong security defenses take server management off your hands so you can focus on generating sales.

      Search Online to Your Advantage

      Hands holding a smartphone while shopping online.

      Getting a pop-up ad online for something you just searched for can be annoying, not to mention a little creepy. But that can actually be connected to you landing the best price.

      “There is great value to be garnered by letting brands know you are in the market for a specific product,” Rosenblum says. “When shoppers go on search and social media for specific products, their data is shared with retailers who will then target shoppers with advertisements and promotions. While most of the press and conversation we hear is about data privacy, it’s important to note that data can be a valuable tool. When shoppers search for products, the data signals are analogous to walking into a retail store and asking a salesperson for assistance finding specific products.”

      Practice Online Safety

      Technology can work for and against you. “Beware of email phishing,” cautions Skirboll. “It’s best not to click on links from senders you don’t recognize. Be sure to hover your mouse over links without clicking to see if the address is really taking you to where it says it will. Before sending any personal information over the internet, make sure the website has ‘https://’ at the beginning of its web address. The ‘S’ at the end of HTTPS indicates that the website is secure and your information is encrypted, which makes it safe to enter a credit card number or other personal information.”

      While it’s fine to look up reviews or compare prices using public Wi-Fi, avoid logging on to any sites with sensitive personal information, warns Skirboll. Public Wi-Fi is often vulnerable to people who are looking to steal your info. To ensure your computer and personal information are safe, use anti-virus software on your computer or mobile device, and keep it up to date.

      One last tip: Always buy with a credit card when you can.

      “A credit card provides additional protections over a debit card in case of fraudulent transactions,” Skirboll says. “If your card number is compromised, it’s easier to dispute any charges that you didn’t approve. Using a card also decreases the transference of germs compared to shopping with cash.”

      Be Social Media Savvy

      If you don’t already follow your favorite brands on social media, now is the time to do so, and sign up for their email newsletters as well. They sometimes will post special sales and offers exclusively for their followers on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

      “Shoppers should monitor Twitter and Facebook feeds from major retailers to look for announcements on when the Black Friday deals are live,” Vincent says. “However, their announcements are sometimes hours after the sales have gone live and the most popular items have sold out. We suggest that you also follow earlyblackfriday.com on Twitter (@EarlyBF) and Facebook. We monitor each retailer’s website in real-time to look for when the deals are live and we will be announcing these sales on our social media feeds.”

      And don’t forget to use apps to your advantage. “Be resourceful—check apps like RetailMeNot to find the latest sales, deals, and cash back offers from thousands of retailers,” Skirboll says.

      Put Your Health First

      Black Friday was built on doorbusters and fleeting in-person deals. But to make adjustments during the COVID-19 era, you can get the same bargains without having to leave your house.

      “There is no reason to visit the physical stores on Black Friday this year,” Vincent says. “While the in-store shopping experience will be made as safe as possible, all of the same deals will be available online, so we do not feel that it’s worth the potential health risk to visit the stores. If customers do end up going to the stores on Black Friday, they can be comforted by the fact that retailers will be making social distancing and mask-wearing mandatory in all stores. Extra staff will be wiping down high-touch surfaces to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Wearing a mask, practicing social distancing while shopping, and using hand sanitizer once you are done shopping are the best practices you will want to follow.”

      If you’re nervous about shopping in-store this year, you’re not alone.

      “Most Americans have concerns when it comes to holiday shopping this year during COVID-19,” Skirboll says. “Nearly nine in 10 (87%) are concerned about COVID-19 when thinking about holiday season shopping. Among those concerned, top concerns include other shoppers not following CDC guidelines (57%), being around other shoppers (57%), being around crowds during Black Friday shopping (54%), waiting in long lines due to reduced store capacity (50%), or shopping in stores with others (47%).”

      For those reasons, Skirboll says 75% of shoppers will prefer online shopping for holidays, and 18% plan to complete holiday shopping online only. A whopping 88% of consumers say they will not shop the traditional in-store doorbuster deals this year, and Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping will occur mostly online as more retailers choose to close on Thanksgiving.

      “In-store will continue to have an important role,” Rosenblum says. “A lot of people have quarantine fatigue and are excited to get back to stores, and there are some categories where it’s really important to touch and feel products.”

      Those who still feel the need to shop in person: Ensure retailers take health and safety precautions seriously. Before going to the store, Vincent advises visiting the retailer’s website, going to the store locator page, and selecting their local store location. There should be information on that page that lists the steps the retailer is taking to make their stores safe to shop in.

      Next, when you visit the store, look for signage at the entrance that indicates that social distancing and mask-wearing are mandatory. If you don’t see those signs and there are customers without masks, avoid the store. Any time you see unsafe practices, the best thing to do is simply leave and stick to stores that respect their customers’ health.

      Support Small Businesses 

      Mom-and-pop shops have been hit especially hard this year, with many of them forced to permanently shutter their doors. That’s why it’s crucial to support small businesses as much as you can during the holiday season.

      “Small businesses have to follow the same restrictions as larger retailers, which limit the amount of shoppers they can have in the store at once,” Vincent says. “To safely support your local small business, see if they have a website where you can place an order online or by phone. This will help them limit their in-store traffic so that other shoppers can shop in their stores. Finally, do not expect small businesses to match the extremely low prices you will find at a major online retailer. However, even if you have to pay a little more, it’s good to know that a local small business is benefiting from your sale.”

      You’re Cordially Invited

      Join DreamHost’s Facebook group to connect with like-minded website owners and get advice from peers and experts alike!

      Are You Ready for the Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals?

      While 2020 may have been a dumpster fire wrapped in a trainwreck, Cyber Week should deliver some solid discounts (along with much needed holiday cheer).

      Whether you decide to shop sales in-person or stick to online-only deals, taking the time to budget, create a wish list, and price check before you shop can help you get the most bang for your buck this holiday season. And no matter the time of year, it’s always important to practice online safety.

      So tell us: Do you have any holiday sales hacks? Follow DreamHost on Twitter or Facebook and share your best tips for saving big on Thanksgiving weekend.

      Above all, have fun, stay safe, and happy shopping!





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