Nike is taking its iconic “Just Do It” motto to the next level by supporting Black women entrepreneurs.
“Nike’s funding will help us grow our reach through new chapter development, increase our technology infrastructure to better serve Black and Brown leaders through our proprietary crowdfunding platform and increase our brand visibility through storytelling campaigns curated by Black and Brown women,” says Shelly Bell, founder and CEO of Black Girl Ventures, in a statement released on Thursday.
Founded in 2016, Black Girl Ventures started with crowdfunded pitch competitions. To date, the organization has funded 76 women of color. They have also hosted over 25 Black Girl Ventures Pitch Programs.
Black Girl Ventures continues to be a valuable resource by providing a Corporate Mentoring Program, Supplier Diversity Initiative, Change Agent Program, and online community to help more women gain access to capital and community building opportunities.
Nike’s focus on economic advancement through entrepreneurship can be a game changer for Black and Brown communities.
According to the 2019 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, African American women made an average of $24,000 in annual revenue. Unfortunately, this represents the lowest numbers for any demographic of women. In comparison, all women-owned businesses reported annual revenue numbers of $142,900.
Nike is on a mission to help more black Americans capitalize on the benefits of economic advancement. Starting in 2021, the company plans to donate a series of grants totaling $1.75 million. These funds will go to organizations supporting Black communities in major cities across the U.S., including Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City. Furthermore, Michael Jordan and the Jordan Brand has committed to $100 million over 10 years to focus on priorities in the Black community.
Last summer, the company confirmed a $40 million donation in Black communities over the next four years. Nike plans to invest in organizations that are focused on education, economic empowerment, and social justice.The company’s initial investment included a $1 million grant to NAACP Empowerment Programs, Black Girls CODE, and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
This isn’t the end of Nike’s commitment to Black entrepreneurs. The company announced it would be sharing additional plans in the upcoming weeks. Nike will share more details about plans to help close the opportunity gap that exists for Black Americans.