Amazon commits $150 million to supporting Black-owned businesses

Amazon is launching the Black Business Accelerator (BBA) in an effort to help Black entrepreneurs develop businesses and act as third-party sellers on the Amazon store.

The e-tail giant created the initiative, intended to explicitly target barriers to access, opportunity, and advancement created by systemic racism across America, in partnership with its Black Employee Network and a coalition of strategic partners. As part of the effort, Amazon is committing $150 million over the next four years to help thousands of Black entrepreneurs become successful sellers on its site.

Amazon is inviting Black business-owners to explore and participate in the BBA initiative, which provides financial support, business education and mentorship, and marketing and promotion of their brands and products as third-party Amazon sellers.

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.

Specific 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 its Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud computing division are helping 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.

Participants can also obtain access to a minimum of one year of free strategic advisory services, as well as connect with a dedicated network of business mentors, including Amazon experts and small business thought leaders, to continue to accelerate business growth.

Strategic partners collaborating on the BBA initiative include the Minority Business Development Agency and 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. Amazon anticipates welcoming additional partners and advisors in the future.

“BBA and selling on Amazon unlocks a powerful and proven economic engine that enables entrepreneurs to build their brands and sell their products to our more than 300 million global customers,” Amazon said in a corporate blog post. “We know that customers value the wide selection and diversity of products offered by these businesses, and we are excited to see the offerings these new sellers will bring.”

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