Since announcing American Express’ $10 million commitment to support Black-owned small businesses through the Coalition to Back Black Businesses (CBBB), the program has helped small businesses meet critical needs and invest in long-term growth through a series of grants and resources, including mentorships and trainings.
Co-founded by American Express, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, and four leading national Black business organizations, the CBBB has awarded grants to more than 1,000 Black small business owners across the country. As reported in the Coalition to Back Black Businesses’ 2021 Impact Report, 50% of businesses who received this grant saw an increase in sales revenue in the second half of 2021.*
Black-owned small businesses are invited once again, during Black Business Month, to apply to the 2022-2023 grant program. Applications are now being considered through September 6, 2022.
The program, now in its third year, will award $1.3 million in total grants to over 270 Black-owned small businesses as part of the 2022-2023 cohort. Each business will receive a $5,000 grant, customized training, and one-on-one mentoring to help them with new and persistent challenges including inflation, labor shortages, access to capital, and supply chain disruptions.
Past grant recipients share below how they have used the program to grow their businesses and remain an active part of their communities:
Photo: Courtesy of Nekia Hattley
Nekia Hattley, founder of My Daddy’s Recipes, a plant-based food and wellness company based in Inglewood, California, says, “I started My Daddy’s Recipes with a mission to enhance the quality of life for people of color through health, wellness and healing. After my dad passed away from diabetes, I took a good look at my family tree and my community, and realized that there is a need for better education and food options when it comes to what we consume each day. My apron is my opportunity to help improve generational health by teaching and bringing healthier options to my community. With the CBBB grant money, we’ve been able to accomplish so much for the business including producing our YouTube cooking show, Veganize It, and creating new packaging that has allowed our products to soon be available in our first-ever grocery store in Los Angeles for purchase!”
Photo: Courtesy of Dr.Artika Tyner
Dr. Artika Tyner, founder of Planting People Growing Justice (PPGJ), a Black woman-owned children’s book publisher and social enterprise based in Saint Paul, Minnesota, notes that a staggering percent of Black fourth graders are reading below grade level – leading to them being less likely to graduate. “I started my business to create books where Black children can see themselves in the stories and that empowers them to find joy in reading. This is something that’s really lacking in the industry, and so our focus has been on making these stories more widely available to children, and the CBBB grant has made this possible. We’ve used the funding to invest in the development of new products including e-books and audiobooks, and we’ve also been able to print more books and increase inventory for distribution across national retailers.”
Photo: Courtesy of Dr. Ché Raquel Ward, PsyD
Grant recipient Dr. Ché Raquel Ward, PsyD, owner of Hurt and Healing Behavioral Health and Wellness PLLC in Havelock, North Carolina, shared,“As a wife to a U.S. Marine, I relocated to a small coastal town in North Carolina. Upon moving, there were few therapists and no Black psychologists. When the pandemic hit, I felt an obligation to begin my own private practice and opened an office adjacent to Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in order to provide military families from the base, along with those from the surrounding community, access to affordable therapy, psychological assessment, and other wellness services. The CBBB grant has allowed us to move to a group practice and acquire more clients by providing us with the funds to hire more staff and to support credentialing and training. Additionally, we’ve used the grant to fund free educational and therapy groups for the community and to provide pro- bono and subsidized services to clients who would otherwise be unable to engage in mental health services. We’ve been able to offer more than half of our clients from underserved communities a complimentary or reduced service thanks to the CBBB enhancement grant.”
Photo: Courtesy of Kesha Aycock
Kesha Aycock, founder of Catering By Design LLC in Henry County, Georgia, says, “I started the business because growing up, I saw first-hand how much joy the southern cuisine prepared by my parents and my grandparents brought to my community. Even during difficult times, one of their meals could brighten a mood. Now that they are gone, I want to be able to continue on this delight for the community. My business offers personalized dishes and menus made with quality food and fresh ingredients from local suppliers and growers, created to bring together families, neighbors, friends, church members, and others. The CBBB grant money is being put towards plans to open our first-ever restaurant, ‘Southern Vittles.’ Once the restaurant is up and running, I’d also like to allocate any remaining funds to help provide food for a local shelter which will hopefully encourage other vendors and organizations to work together to improve the lives of our local community.”