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Top COVID19 Resources for Black-Owned Businesses



Due to the initial round of the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP) dollars being disproportionately given to those with the right connection rather than the businesses with the greatest need, Our Fair Share was created. This initiative will help minority-owned companies learn about the PPP and help get them connected to approved Small Business Administration (SBA) lenders that can process applications for these potentially business-saving loans.

Apply for funding:

Thanks to a $1 million grant from Sam’s Club, LISC will provide the emergency assistance that small businesses desperately need to stay afloat. We will deploy grants to help them bridge the financial gap, and deliver technical assistance to help them navigate the intricate web of public and private resources now available. LISC will focus these efforts on historically underserved communities—especially those enterprises owned or led by women, minorities and veterans, which often lack access to affordable capital.

Grants of up to $10,000 each to small business owners to help meet their most immediate needs. Eligible expenses include: Paying rent and utilities, meeting payroll, paying outstanding debt to vendors, upgrading technology infrastructure, and other immediate operational costs

Apply for funding:

Tory Burch is a fashion label in the United States founded by female business owners. This foundation has been helpful to women in a multitude of ways. It offers resource libraries, virtual information sessions, and many tips and tricks to decipher different government relief programs. This foundation also helps female entrepreneurs with finding funding through CommunityDevelopmental Financial Institutions. These institutions are local lenders that offer Women entrepreneurs affordable loans. As an added bonus they offer personal tips for self-care and various work-at-home techniques to be more efficient. To qualify the business needs to be sustainable, have a satisfactory credit rating, it must be at least two years in business and generating revenue, and it must have a passion for growth.

Additional resources:

Apply for funding:

This relief fund, known as IFW COVID-19 provides female-owned businesses small grants during this crisis, otherwise known as microgrants. IFundWomenalways places women at the forefront and their number one goal is to support these women before, during, and after the Pandemic. IFundWomen allows donors to make their contributions directly making the giving process easy and straightforward. Additionally, they are cultivating the sense of community by allowing Women-led businesses to apply for grants and their community to rally around them by donating to their campaigns. Therefore, qualifying is as easy as starting a campaign. As if that wasn’t extraordinarily helpful already, IFundWomen also offers words of encouragement daily on their slack channel as well as wonderful workshops free of charge. 

Apply for funding:

Free workshops:

Red Backpack Fund

Sara Blakely is the founder of Spanx Inc. as well as the co-owner of the Atlanta Hawks. She is incredibly inspiring and says, “Human beings can be quarantined, but the human spirit can not be contained”. She is donating five million dollars to female entrepreneurs that are needing assistance during this pandemic. The goal is that 1,000 different small businesses that are female-owned will receive $5,000 each in order to offset the economic disruption they have faced and pay their employees. To qualify businesses must be majority women-owned, annual revenues need to be less than five million, there must be at least one additional employee but fewer than fifty, businesses must be in good standing, and be identified as a legal entity. Most importantly, the business needs to provide evidence that COVID-19 is causing financial depravity. Sole proprietors are ineligible for applying. Applications are currently closed, but you can be notified when the next round opens up as they are being taken monthly basis.

Get notified here:

Council of Fashion Designers of America Grants

The Council of Fashion Designers of America is awarding anyone in the fashion industry that has been in business for two years or more to $100,000 through their Common Thread Initiative. The major goal of this initiative led by Vogue is to raise funds but also to raise awareness regarding trials and tribulations many in the fashion industry have faced due to this pandemic. This initiative also spotlights different designers and tells their stories of tragedy and triumph. 

Apply for funding here:

Texas Woman’s University AssistHer Emergency Relief Grant

This grant is in place to assist businesses sustainability during the financial adversity brought about by COVID-19. These funds are only to be used for technology upgrades, adaptations made by businesses, or operating expenses (excluding: sales tax, payroll, purchase of food, penalties and fees, and charitable donations). To qualify for this fund businesses must be majority women-owned, must be for-profit, the business must be suffering economic oppression due directly to COVID-19, all property taxes and other taxes must be current, businesses must be located/operated in Texas, the business and business owner may not be involved in any litigation, all required permits and licenses are conforming with required laws, the business owner must not have any felonies or convictions of crimes of dishonesty or breach of trust. 

Apply here:

Visa Foundation

The Visa Foundation has combined two funding programs to total $210 million. These funds have been created to aid small businesses along with aligningVisa’s views of inclusivity and women’s economic advancement. The first program totaling $10 million is directed towards emergency relief for organizations on the frontline like public health and food relief. Visa’s CEO Al Kelly realizes the direct impact that COVID-19 has had on the community and economy. The second program is a more strategic long-term plan. This plan is a $200 commitment to support small businesses and continually focus on the advancement of women economically. Small businesses comprise more than 90% of worldwide businesses making it essential to provide this vital support.

More info:

Hello Alice

Hello Alice is a digital platform that helps businesses that are run by a diverse group of individuals. It embraces people of color, members of the LGBTQ community and so much more promoting inclusivity. Hello Alice thrives by matching businesses with various opportunities online and locally. They are offering $10,000 emergency grants with the help of several other partners to small businesses. The money is available immediately to small businesses, and as of now, seventy emergency grants have been awarded. In order to qualify the small business needs to have fewer than fifty employees. Hello Alice is also offering non-monetary help as well in the form of mental health support. 

Apply for funding here:

Destined for Business Podcast

Destined for Business Podcast focuses on tools, tips, and real-life stories to help entrepreneurs scale and grow! This first edition features Professor Steven Rogers of Harvard Business School He breaks down EXACTLY How Black Entrepreneurs can take advantage of the $320 Billion in business funding. Tune in. Share. and ACT on this! He also shares gems on how to ensure you are PROFITABLE in business now. Great Business Discussion!

Subscribe to their channel on Youtube!

Verizon a well-established phone carrier is offering grants through the local Initiatives Support Corporation up to $10,000. These grants are available to businesses that are facing imminent financial hardship focusing on women-owned businesses, entrepreneurs of color, as well as enterprises in communities that have been rundown, underserved, and under-appreciated that can’t obtain necessary finances. The goal of this initiative is to fill the financial void so that businesses can operate at normal capacity.

Funding form:

More info on funding here:

SheaMoisture is offering businesses that are women-led and minority-owned the chance to receive funding from their one million dollar relief fund. Funds will be awarding businesses that are generating innovative solutions to lend a hand and support the community as a whole and their consumers. The Community Commerce fund is put in place to support is to aide the businesses that have been directly impacted by the coronavirus. It is one of their many community-building platforms that enhance community camaraderie and small business empowerment. Along with this fund, SheaMoistureis donating a portion of their proceeds towards the community commerce program. These funds will be allocated for education, funding, and coaching small business owners of color. 

Apply for funding here:

Digital Undivided prides itself on inclusive innovation and was founded in 2012. It is a social startup that curates economic growth in Latinx and Black women communities. This fund makes small investments in black women entrepreneurs and has already invested in over 211entrepreneurs since it was established. 

Apply for funds here:

Pyer Moss, a men’s and women’s fashion label has turned the New York City office into a donation center for latex gloves and N95 masks. Alongside this charitable act, a relief fund has been established for women and minority businesses that have been directly and negatively affected by COVID-19. This relief fund awards grants in varying amounts to many business owners in need. 

Apply here: 

Facebook is a popular social media and technology company that was established in 2004. Facebook has created a relief fund to aid businesses experiencing financial adversity due to COVID-19. Facebook is offering $100 million in cash grants and ad credits during this unprecedented time. To qualify for funding businesses must be a for-profit company, have between 2-50 employees, have been in business for over a year, have experienced challenges financially due to the virus, and be near or in a location that Facebook operates. 

Apply for funding here:

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Philip Beckham



I was deep in thought at my favorite coffee shop, “Sip and Savor”, located in the heart of Chicago’s Bronzeville community on 43rd st. I heard a steady stream of people coming into the shop and making a bee line to the table of an unassuming well dressed man who seemed to be adored by most everyone who passed through. I looked over at him as I sipped my caramel apple cider, and continued on with my work. Imagine my surprise when I was asked to interview Philip Beckham III, in the midst of researching him I was finally able to put a name to a face and everything clicked. Of course Philip Beckham III would be the center of the universe in Chicago’s iconic Bronzeville community, he was not only an early supporter of Sip and Savor, (previously known as “The Sip”), he was embarking on changing the landscape of the community with his development company P3 Markets. His inaugural project is aptly named 43 Green and is a 91 unit 27 million dollar project located on the south side of 43rd and Calumet Ave just steps from the 43rd st CTA Green Line stop. 

I asked Philip what prompted him to get into development, his answer went back generations, his grandfather Philip Beckham was among one of the first Black licensed contractors in Chicago in 1918. Equipped with a sixth grade education and a no holds bar attitude he formed PL Beckham and Sons, his grandfather’s company transformed the Morgan Park community by building more than 50 homes, and rehabbing countless properties in the Black Belt of the city. In 1966 with only 2 buses and a vision Philip Beckham II founded Beckham Transit, a school bus company that shuttled school children across the southside of the city. His company grew from a two van operation, to a major player in transit, with more than 100 buses and dozens of employees, Philip Beckham III sold the company in 2010 in a deal that would have made his late father proud.

In 2016 Philip founded MSBARC (Mid-South Business Association and Resource Center),  a non-profit with an aim to build Black businesses to scale by walking them through the important steps needed to create, maintain and expand their operations. To date MSBARC has impacted over 200 businesses. Philip displays his commitment to his community by helping to create a strong business corridor in the Black Belt, similar to the one that existed in the 1900’s. In 2018 he received a call from  Alderman Pat Dowell informing him that no one had responded to her RFP (Request For Proposal), for a swath of land that had been vacant for years. With no development experience, Philip saw an opportunity that he couldn’t pass up. Philip envisioned a plan to anchor what he refers to as, “Downtown Bronzeville” with affordable, accessible, chic housing that combines Black culture with access to fine dining, hip boutiques and entertainment venues. After months of rejection from developers he found a partner who shared his vision. The Habitat Corporation and developer, Juan Saldana partnered with him to make his vision a reality. Months after cementing his partnership, Philip  secured the 27 million dollars needed for the project, and will break ground in 2021, a world wind turnaround time in the development world.

I asked Philip about the fears that some in the Black community have raised about being priced out of the housing market, his response was that there are many apartments affordably priced in Bronzeville. The problem is that in the social media age, young people want to pivot from college to half a million dollar homes and that’s just not feasible. His advice,  live in a smaller affordable space until upgrading to a larger space is sensible. By remaining focused and practicing fiscal restraint home ownership in the Black Belt will be within reach. Philip knows a thing or two about focus. He has fond memories of working for his fathers transit company from, cleaning and driving buses with his brother to sitting at the helm of the company.  He believes that there are levels in life and one must appreciate them while climbing the ladder. He continues his legacy by having his twin daughters and son accompany him to meetings with developers and city officials. Continuing his family legacy of uncovering opportunities that have a lasting impact on this generation and the ones to come.  

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Black Firms stepping up to help stop carjackings

The move comes amid a spike in carjackings and is meant to ease the minds of women and seniors from feeling like easy targets while pumping gas.



To combat a rash of carjackings, a private security firm will be stationing guards at gas stations in areas of the city and suburbs that have been particularly hard hit.

William Kates, CEO of Kates Detective and Security Agency, said that beginning Friday between 25 and 30 guards would be posted at various gas stations, mostly on the South Side, in an effort dubbed “Operation Safe Pump.” The guards will be in security vehicles with the lights flashing between 6 and 8 p.m.

The operation is expected to last for 30 days but could be extended.

Kates is partnering with Ald. Stephanie Coleman (16th). Kates said he will be paying for the service.

“This is to help seniors, as well as women, to feel safe at service stations when they pump gas,” said Kates, who wasn’t sure if the guards would be armed.

The guards will be meant “more to deter than to detain,” Kates said during a news conference at an Englewood gas station at 59th Street and Ashland Avenue, the site of a Christmas Day carjacking that left a 63-year-old woman uninjured but badly shaken.

“No one is exempt from this other pandemic,” said Coleman, who called on other security firms to join in the effort.

“Our police department, they’re doing the best they can, and we’re just here to help,” she said.

Kates Detective and Security Agency CEO William Kates, center, speaks at a news conference Friday with supporters, including Ald. Stephanie Coleman, left.
 Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times

Early Walker, who owns W&W Towing and runs I’m Telling Don’t Shoot, an anti-violence organization, said he came up with the idea because his company, through contracts with various police departments, regularly tows carjacked vehicles that are later found abandoned.

“I talk to a lot of victims, and I often hear, ‘I got carjacked at a gas station,’” said Walker, who reached out to Coleman to get the ball rolling.

The alderman said she hopes “Operation Safe Pump” helps change the narrative that some people have of Chicago being “crime, guns and violence.”

A list of the gas stations where guards will be located is expected to be posted at

Chicago Police Supt. David Brown said Thursday there had been 144 carjackings since the beginning of the year.

The skyrocketing figure from the first three weeks of 2021 comes after the number of carjackings more than doubled to 1,417 carjackings in 2020.

Friday night, at a town hall meeting for the 2nd police district — which covers South Side neighborhoods such as Hyde Park, Oakland and Washington Park — police reiterated they are taking every step they can to stem the tide of carjackings and offered tips for residents to stay safe: Namely, pay attention to your surroundings.

Police also warned residents not to get in their vehicle and spend time on their phone or with other distractions, and to never leave their vehicle running unattended. They noted the majority of carjackings across the city are being perpetrated by teenagers who use the vehicles to commit other crimes, or simply take them on a joyride.

“We’ve got to put our arms around the entire community and reach out to those young people who might be on the edge of falling in with a bad crowd … to say, ‘Hey, this is not a game, somebody can get hurt,’” said Glen Brooks, the department’s director of public engagement.

“We are scared to death of a tragic instance where, one, a victim gets hurt or killed, and two, that one of these children will think this is a game and point a weapon at an officer, and we have tragic circumstances.”

This article was written by Mitch Dudek and reposted from The Chicago Sun Times

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‘Black-Owned Business’ signs show solidarity in communities hit hard by looting



After large-scale protests in response to the death of George Floyd devolved into violence and looting downtown and in surrounding neighborhoods, many small businesses in Chicago have been hurt by property damage and inventory loss.

Keeana Barber, owner and CEO of WDB Marketing Group, said she was distressed to see businesses damaged, especially knowing that many black-owned businesses were among those affected. After a conversation with a friend about what could be done to help protect local businesses, Barber realized she could use her unique skill set and resources to help.

The Roseland native enlisted her company’s printing services to produce signs that read “Black-Owned Business” and “Don’t Destroy Our Black Business,” and set to work distributing them to stores, particularly on the hard-hit South and West sides.

Trez V. Pugh, III, owner of Sip and Savor coffee house puts up businesswoman Keeana Barber’s “Black Owned Business” sign at his Bronzeville location.  Amber Marie Green/Provided

“I was heartbroken to see so many black-owned businesses get looted,” Barber said. “I don’t know how much [the signs] will protect some people. … I think, more than anything, it gives people pride, unifying them in something they can stand for.”

On Monday, after printing about 500 signs, Barber posted photos of them Facebook and urged business owners to come pick one up if they wanted to display it. She was flooded with offers from volunteers to help hand them out, and inquiries about donating to help cover her printing costs.

Businesswoman Keeana Barber, the owner of WDB Marketing Group, printed “Black Owned Business” and “Don’t Destroy Business” signs to be distributed in areas with black-owned businesses.

As of Tuesday, hundreds of storefronts on the South and West Sides — along with businesses in the south suburbs — were displaying her signs in their windows.

“I didn’t expect it to be that popular,” Barber said Tuesday, adding that she had since printed another 250 signs to keep up with demand.

“What I love about it is that it’s not just us; we’re a vehicle for people who are saying, ‘Hey, I just want to give these out in my community. I want to give [black-owned businesses] something special to have, and to be proud to identify themselves.’”

Vanetta Roy, owner of Surf’s Up South Shore, a restaurant that specializes in seafood, noticed someone had placed a sign in her window when she came in Tuesday morning.

“I saw it and I said, ‘Thank God,’” Roy said. “We had no idea this was happening.”

Barber says her goal isn’t to drive would-be looters to other businesses, but to send a broader message to the community about solidarity.

“I support all small businesses,” she said. “But at the same time, I am going to give my businesses the support to identify themselves. There’s nothing wrong with identifying ourselves to protect ourselves.”

Article Sourced from Chicago Sun Times – 

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