Mastercard kicks off Strivers Initiative multi-city educational road show and Fearless Fund grant effort, reinforcing commitment to Black women-owned businesses across the U.S.March 12, 2021 | Purchase, NY
To Celebrate Strivers, GRAMMY® Livestream Concert Event Features Ella Mai, Ari Lennox, and Tierra Whack Performing from Black Women-Owned Businesses
As an extension of its Strivers Initiative, Mastercard kicks off its virtual, multi-city educational road show in partnership with Create & Cultivate, the women’s online community and digital platform, to drive awareness on the state of women and minority-owned businesses in four cities across the U.S. and launched a grant contest in collaboration with Fearless Fund, a venture capital fund built by women of color for women of color, to award grants to Black women-owned businesses with an emphasis in road show cities.
The Strivers road show will stop in four cities, starting with Los Angeles on Saturday, March 13th, and continue in Atlanta, New York and New Orleans. Each event will include local small business experts, community members and small business owners to drive a dialogue around the needs of Black women business owners in that city, closing with a virtual shopping segment highlighting local businesses.
“We’ve heard firsthand from many Black women-owned businesses of the devastating effect of the pandemic, forcing them to close doors or suspend business for months on end. Couple that with the systemic barriers they’ve had to overcome in the first place to get to where they are and it’s clear this is an issue that needs to be addressed,” said Cheryl Guerin, EVP Marketing and Communications in North America for Mastercard. “We’re committed to fostering dialogue and taking action to support the economic progress of Black, female business owners in cities across America ensuring they have access to the funding and digital resources needed to grow and thrive.”
In Los Angeles, Fearless Fund, in partnership with Mastercard, awarded two local Black women business owners, Megan Smith of Megan Renee and Angela Stevens of Conscious Curls, each with a Priceless Surprise of $10,000 grant to help support and grow their business. From a sustainable clothing line that embodies strength, confidence and unapologetic femininity, to a high-quality hair extensions line that empowers and educates women on the beauty of hair, while donating to various organizations, these women are not only running businesses, they are giving back and supporting their communities.
Pictured left to right: Megan Smith of Megan Renee and Angela Stevens of Conscious Curls, recipients of Fearless Fund and Mastercard's Priceless surprise of a $10,000 grant.
To further underscore their commitment to this community, Fearless Fund, in partnership with Mastercard, also launched the Fearless Strivers Grant Contest* to provide Black female small business owners across the U.S. who’ve been hit hardest by the pandemic with additional grants and tools to help grow their business.
“Our mission since day one has been to support women and minority-owned businesses across the country and we are thrilled to continue those efforts through the Strivers Road Show”, says Arian Simone Co-Founder and General Partner of Fearless Fund. “Now more than ever, women of color entrepreneurs need financial support, guidance, and access to tools that will help their businesses get off the ground. This is still only the beginning of our work to create actionable change.”
These efforts build on Mastercard’s sustained efforts to build a more inclusive digital economy and previously announced half-billion-dollar commitment to support Black communities over the next five years. Specifically, in Los Angeles, Mastercard has made progress against this commitment by partnering with Accion Opportunity Fund, a Community Development Financial Institutions, to provide capital, access to credit, and support securing PPP loans to hundreds of Black small business owners.
Through mastercard.com/smallbiz visitors can learn more about these efforts, as well as shop Black Women-owned businesses, share their stories on social media and support their work.
GRAMMY® Week Celebration and Live Stream Event
Mastercard will continue the conversation and celebration around Black women entrepreneurs during GRAMMY week. On Saturday, March 13, Mastercard will hold FEARLESS: A Celebration of Strivers, a livestream concert event that spotlights the contributions of Black women in music and business, featuring performances by three artists who will take the stage at women-owned small businesses. This includes:
- Ella Mai performing live from The Braid Bar: Los Angeles, CA
- Ari Lennox performing live from iwi fresh: Atlanta, GA
- Tierra Whack performing live from Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse: Philadelphia, PA
Viewers will not only experience a truly unique musical event, but will also have the opportunity to hear from small business owners from across the country, make a contribution to Fearless Fund and learn how to apply for the grant contest if they are a Black, female business owner.
*Fearless Strivers Grant Contest Rules
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. THIS IS A SKILL BASED CONTEST. Void where prohibited. Open to black females who are legal U.S. residents (including DC), 18+ and the principal owner of a U.S.-based small business (as described in the Official Rules). Ends 5/23/21. For Official Rules & complete details, Click here.