Support For Business, Wealth Building, Career and Education

Black Business people are meeting
Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

Facebook business grants
Black-owned businesses have until August 31 to apply for Facebook’s Small Business Grant program designed specifically for Black-owned businesses. Facebook has committed to invest $100 million this year in the Black community to help businesses keep their workforce going strong, help with rent and operational costs, connect with more customers and support their community. 

In order to apply and receive a grant from the program, your business must be a majority Black-owned for-profit business; be legally registered in a U.S. State or the District of Columbia (U.S. territories are excluded); have between one and 50 employees; have been in business for over a year; have experienced challenges from COVID-19; must plan to use the grant funds to support the business and community. Previous Facebook Small Business Grants Program applicants may re-apply, but prior grant recipients are ineligible. You do not have to use Facebook Inc. products to be eligible. The business owner must be at least 18 years old. The application period ends on August 31. Apply at https://www.facebook.com/business/black-business-grants

Women entrepreneurs
The Women’s Center for Entrepreneurship Corp. (WCEC), a nonprofit funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) that supports start-ups and existing businesses looking to grow, is offering its PowerUp program at a reduced rate to help small businesses overcome financial and other hardships brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. The program is offered as individual groups of 8-12 business owners and provides business advisory leadership and mentoring in 3-hour monthly meetings.

In addition to PowerUp, the WCEC has a slate of educational webinars focused on how businesses can pivot and grow in this climate with classes focused on public relations and marketing; how to transition from brick and mortar to e-commerce; funding for minority-owned businesses; cybersecurity; and Covid-19 relief loan and grant opportunities.

Doing business in the MEASA region
The U.S. Department of Commerce will host a free webinar on September 14 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time to provide critical information for U.S. companies interested in taking advantage of World Expo in Dubai to develop their business in Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region. The Expo, which runs from Oct. 1, 2021, to March 31, 2022, s the first World Expo to be held in the region and the largest event ever held in the Arab world. Participants include more than 190 nations as well as businesses, multilateral organizations, and educational institutions.  More information and registration at: https://emenuapps.ita.doc.gov/ePublic/event/editWebReg.do?SmartCode=0QKX

Wealth building
The dfree® Financial Freedom Movement (mydfree.org) said its Billion Dollar Challenge money management tool (www.billiondollarpaydown.com) has aided more than 10,000 African-Americans to pay off $25,513,888 of consumer debt.

The Billion Dollar Challenge is the lead marketing initiative of the dfree® Movement to help people pay off consumer debt in an effort to transfer those payments to build insurance, investments and savings. The organization plans to hit the $27 million debt pay down mark by the end of 2020. Users can determine the date they will be out of debt, or they determine the date they wish to be out of debt and the tool calculates payments to meet that goal.

A rewards program allows users to get paid for paying down debt. Celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, the dfree® movement is used by more than 4,000 churches and organizations worldwide, and more than 200,000 individuals.

Boosting employment
CEOs from 27 of the largest employers in the New York area are launching the New York Jobs CEO Council in collaboration with \educational institutions, community organizations and nonprofits to hire skilled workers, meet employer needs and connect New Yorkers with the skills that they need for today’s and tomorrow’s workplace. Focusing on low-income and Black, Latinx and Asian communities, the member organizations aim to hire 100,000 traditionally underserved New Yorkers by 2030, a goal that includes job opportunities and apprenticeships for 25,000 CUNY students. Gail Mellow, Ph.D., who most recently served as president of LaGuardia Community College, will lead the New York Jobs CEO Council.

Career development
The New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) launched Career Discovery NYC (nyc.gov/careerdiscovery) to assist New Yorkers with career discovery and training. The portal provides free online trainings that prepare New Yorkers with the necessary skills to pursue a pathway for an in-demand career.

It also provides information on and resources to learn about a career, including skill requirements, industry demand and salary expectations; take an introductory course to discover the skills required for the job and determine whether the career is a good match; prepare for a rigorous job-training program; and join an intensive training program. SBS will also provide information on where to obtain low-cost or free Internet access and support services. This portal launches with information about careers in web development and will add careers in tech, healthcare, media, industrial and manufacturing.

HBCU scholarship program
The William & Lanaea C. Featherstone Foundation and Morgan State University  unveiled the Featherstone HBCU Scholarship program to provide opportunities for students to attend Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The Foundation awards $30,000 merit-based scholarships to 14 exceptional students who are traditionally underrepresented in higher education and first generation college students.

This year’s honorees will attend Morgan State University, University of Baltimore and St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Each award winner will receive $2,000 to $3,000 scholarships. To date the Foundation has awarded more than 40 merit-based scholarships to 34 award winners from 12 countries. State Farm, Wells Fargo and Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. support the Featherstone Foundation’s economic empowerment initiatives.

Ivy League affirmative action
The U.S. Justice Department accused Yale University of discriminating against Asian-American and white applicants in its undergraduate admissions process. The finding that Yale had violated civil rights law came after a two-year investigation, the department said. It ordered Yale to suspend the use of race or national origin in its admissions process for one year. At the end of that year, Yale will need to seek clearance from the government to begin using race as a factor again, the department said in a news release.

Yale pledged to fight the order, saying Thursday that it would hold fast to its admissions process. The federal finding comes as a federal appeals court is preparing to hear a challenge against the use of race in admissions at Harvard College; Harvard’s system was upheld by a lower court.

Partnership for TV content
Award winning executive producer Tamra Simmons, CEO of LA Productions, and actor, director, producer and filmmaker Tray Williams, CEO of Pioneers Collective, are jointly developing new content for television, with projections to release three new projects by the end of 2020, including a social injustice documentary.

The partnership aims to give voice to those otherwise overlooked due to race, gender, or lack of economics. Simmons has received multiple awards for her non-scripted projects (Surviving R. Kelly parts 1 and 2). Tray is considered a top millennial filmmaker for creative scripts and development (President of Media Room 360 and PUMA). The epiMediaGroup will serve as the partnership’s PR team.