SEATTLE, Washington — Amazon is launching the Black Business Accelerator (BBA) to help build sustainable equity and growth for Black-owned businesses. They are committing $150 million over the next four years to help thousands of Black entrepreneurs reach hundreds of millions of customers and become successful sellers on Amazon.
Ron Busby Sr., president and CEO of the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc., said, “We applaud Amazon’s leadership in responding to the racial inequities that led to a significant number of Black-owned businesses closing during the pandemic. The financial, educational, and mentoring resources Amazon will invest through the Black Business Accelerator will enable USBC-affiliated businesses and Black entrepreneurs to not only survive but thrive as they adapt to operating in a post-pandemic world.”
The initiative—which explicitly targets barriers to access, opportunity, and advancement created by systemic racism across America—was created in partnership with our Black Employee Network and a coalition of strategic partners.
The BBA aims to drive economic equity for Black entrepreneurs, providing them with resources to thrive as entrepreneurs and business leaders. We are inviting Black business owners to explore and participate in this initiative, which provides financial support, business education and mentorship, and marketing and promotion of their brands and products as third-party sellers in our store.
Black entrepreneurs have less access to capital, mentorship, and growth opportunities. They are also significantly underrepresented in retail. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 6% of U.S. retail businesses have a Black owner—even though Black Americans represent 14% of the U.S. adult population.
Black-owned businesses have also been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the U.S. House Small Business Committee. Third-party sellers on Amazon—almost all of whom are small and medium-sized businesses—represent nearly 60% of product sales in our store and saw record sales growth in 2020.
Amazon’s BBA will provide access to financial assistance, strategic business guidance and mentorship, and marketing and promotional support to help both current and aspiring Black small business owners grow their businesses and maximize the opportunities of selling on Amazon.
- Financial assistance: BBA participants can access services and grants to help jump-start business growth and customer acquisition. Opportunities include Amazon credits and services valued at $3,900 that include free product imaging services and advertising credits. In addition, multiple teams across Amazon and our cloud computing division Amazon Web Services (AWS) are also excited to help fund an initial round of $10,000 cash grants in partnership with Hello Alice, an organization dedicated to helping entrepreneurs launch and grow their businesses. Applications for these grants will open on July 1, 2021, and be awarded on September 2, 2021. Additional details can be found at hialice.co/amazon.
- Business education & mentorship: Participants can access a minimum of one year of free strategic advisory services to get the coaching, training, and insights needed to take their business to the next level. They can also connect with a dedicated network of business mentors, including Amazon experts and small business thought leaders, to continue to accelerate business growth.
- Marketing & promotion: In the highly competitive retail space, it can be difficult for customers to find and shop products from Black-owned brands even though customers increasingly value shopping from diverse businesses. Through initiatives like the Black-owned business storefronts for both consumers and Amazon Business customers and promotions featuring Black-owned businesses, customers can find products from these businesses throughout the shopping experience. Amazon also recently launched discoverability enhancements that highlight products from minority-owned businesses in related search results, allowing customers to easily find and buy from certified businesses.
Amazon has strategically partnered with the Minority Business Development Agency and the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. (USBC). These organizations will lead community engagement for BBA and help provide participants with mentorship, business development, training, and educational resources to empower their success. Together they will advise and enhance BBA based on their deep experience in supporting Black businesses. They will also help create similar programs for other underrepresented populations of business owners.