Black Business Owners, Celebrities, Influencers, and Leaders Gather with Visa at CEO's Making Waves for Black Women in Business, Helping Corporations Fulfill Commitment to Equality and Inclusion

Black Business Owners, Celebrities, Influencers, and Leaders Gather with Visa at CEO’s Making Waves for Black Women in Business, Helping Corporations Fulfill Commitment to Equality and Inclusion

Two-Day Conference Provides Vital Resources for Black Women in Business

OAKLAND, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–On October 26th and 27th, CEO’s Making Waves for Black Women In Business: Growth, Impact, & Community will kick off a two-day conference by welcoming Black women-owned businesses, industry leaders, and corporations in addressing the need for systemic change in leadership, gender, and race equality in a variety of different industries.

The two-day event will feature discussions from black business owners such as influencer Necole Kane – CEO/Founder of XONecole and Whitney Harper (Brand Manager/Creative Director for Rapper Sweetie) and (Host) Sports Broadcaster Rosalyn Gold-Onwude, along with many other amazing business professionals in different sectors who will share their insights on relevant topics and resources aimed at enhancing the approaches of Black professionals and CEO’s. By strengthening woman-owned companies within the Black community, CEO’s Making Waves will work on closing the 90% wealth gap faced by Black women in business today.

“This is a much-needed event to support the Black women in our communities starting in California with the large tech companies,” says Myeshia Jefferson, founder of Beauty Makes Cents LLC, a company dedicated to increasing entrepreneurial education through events, training, hands-on support, and empowerment.

Jefferson continues, “CEO’s Making Waves will help attendees tap into resources they may not know are available. Many black-owned businesses don’t need a handout, we need a hand up. As a Black entrepreneur, I understand firsthand the struggle of navigating the business world, and the challenges that Black women in business face to get access to the right people and positions that can open doors. Sometimes, we need more hands-on support to guide us to the next level. Many of the large organizations have the means and the resources to help.”

Aiming to connect start-ups and small business owners to companies with resources and mentors available for Black entrepreneurs, the event will act as a foundation for future growth and opportunities. Featuring an impressive lineup of keynote speakers, discussion panels, fireside chats, mentorship sessions, and workshops, CEO’s Making Waves will touch on a wide range of topics, such as entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship, the future of e-commerce, the entertainment industry, sports, wellness, women empowerment, and recruiting.

“This year will have virtual celebrity appearances from Akon, Niecy Nash, Tamar Braxton, and more; but next year we will host the event in-person where we can include interactive activities such as dancing, live music, and a yacht experience! We see this as a great opportunity for black women entrepreneurs to connect, network, and grow,” says Jefferson.

CEO’s Making Waves 2021 participants will also have the chance to win mentorships from top industry leaders through an exclusive guest contest. Organizations can make this an opportunity to build trust and loyalty, while more Black women gain access and support.

Registration is open to all. Remaining space is filling up quickly, so get your tickets soon! Visit CEO’s Making Waves to secure your tickets and learn more.

About CEO’s Making Waves for Black Women In Business

CEO’s Making Waves for Black Women in Business was created in effort to get corporations to walk the talk of addressing the need for systemic change in leadership, gender equality, and race equality by supporting women-owned businesses and professionals. We aim to economically empower 1,000 Black women in California by 2022 with an end goal of closing the racial wealth gap with the help of our future partners.

Contacts

Myeshia Jefferson

[email protected]

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Davis Wright Tremaine’s Project W Completes Inaugural Tech Equity Hub Virtual Accelerator Program

Impressive nationwide cohort featured 10 Black and Latinx female entrepreneurs

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Davis Wright Tremaine LLP is pleased to announce the completion of Project W’s inaugural Tech Equity Hub virtual accelerator program, which provided 10 Black and Latinx female founders the tools, resources and connections they need to build successful companies.

“Tech Equity Hub is our newest initiative to unlock the power of pre-revenue tech companies founded by Black and Latinx women,” said Project W founder Lynn Loacker, partner-in-charge of DWT’s New York office. “These talented founders are innovating in education, healthcare and commerce to address some of the most intractable problems that underrepresented communities are facing. Without a doubt, these remarkable women will leave the world in a better place.”

The program’s full cohort included:

  • Tiffany Hosey – BuilDATAnalytics: Streamlining complex construction projects.
  • Laura Thomas – Effective to Great Education: Social emotional learning technology for underserved school communities.
  • Emily Brown – Free-From Market: Healthy food solutions to improve health and equity outcomes.
  • Sheena Franklin – K’ept Health: Virtual dermatological clinic providing culturally competent care.
  • Aireka Harvell – Nodat: Artificial intelligence to help small businesses drive sales.
  • Noelle Acosta – Noula: Affordable, at-home maternal wellness test kit and personalized pre- and postnatal care plans.
  • Mandy Bowman – Official Black Wall Street: Connecting consumers to Black-owned businesses.
  • Tope Mitchell – Reflekt Me: Personalizing ecommerce by size, body type, skin tone and hair texture.
  • Ashley Williams – RIZZARR, Inc.: Promoting brands through millennial- and Gen Z-created content.
  • Danielle Allen – Si · La · Bul: Video platform for cultural language learning.

During the 12-week program, which ended Sept. 30, the group engaged in workshops, one-on-one mentoring sessions, individualized coaching and tech deep dives, as well as community-building events. The expert faculty and accomplished mentors covered product design and evolution, marketing and sales, business strategy and finance, growth, legal, fundraising and personal development. All of the experts, investors and mentors were committed to help the founders build successful companies. Partners that generously shared their expertise and resources included Coalition Venture Studio, M12 (Microsoft’s venture capital fund), R/GA Ventures, Stripe and U.S. Bank.

“Tech Equity Hub was immensely helpful in solidifying my team’s growth. I love how the program focused on the development of every single department within a company,” said Ashley Williams, founder and CEO of RIZZARR, a tech-enabled content marketplace in which brands can find and work with over 5,000 millennial and Gen Z content creators worldwide. “I really think it’s so wonderful that these programs are being created to help women of color. There’s a lot of conversation going around about what women of color go through with startups, funding, and more, and until now, it’s been a lot of talk: Project W actually put it into action.”

Noula founder and CEO Noelle Acosta added: “As a founder, my background has mainly been in business development and go-to-market strategy, so getting exposure to so many different components of the startup journey has been really helpful. The most helpful part, for me, of Tech Equity Hub has been the fact that the faculty and mentors took the time to understand where I’m at in my startup journey as well as what I do well. I was paired with an investor and a mentor in my field who taught me practical and tangible skills.”

BuilDATAnalytics founder and CEO Tiffany Hosey said: “Tech Equity Hub was organized in a way that I never felt we were being shorted on any programming. For the entire program to focus on women of color, specifically Black and brown, and for Project W to pour all of the resources into the programming, it really felt like there was a sincere commitment to see all of us succeed. No other program in which I’ve been involved – from start to finish – has been comparable.”

About Project W

Project W is Davis Wright Tremaine’s commitment to help women build great companies, advance their careers and achieve parity in the boardroom and the workplace. Through its programming, partnerships with like-minded organizations and national network of over 2,500 founders, investors and executives, Project W is moving the needle in closing the gender equality gap and in advancing the careers and lives of women. For more information, visit https://www.dwt.com/about/project-w.

About Davis Wright Tremaine

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP is an AmLaw 100 firm with more than 600 lawyers representing clients based throughout the United States and around the world. For more information, visit www.dwt.com.

Contacts

Leora Goldfarb

Baretz+Brunelle

[email protected]

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Environmental Service Systems, LLC Ranked Charlotte’s 2nd Largest Black-Owned Business

The Company is ranked by Revenue in 2020 Based on Research by Charlotte Business Journal

CHARLOTTE, N.C.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Environmental Service Systems (ESS), a minority-owned company that provides high-quality janitorial and facilities maintenance services, is honored to be recognized as Charlotte’s second-largest Black-owned business. The Company has gained its recognition on the basis of its revenue in 2020, demonstrating its strength and growth as a diverse company with a national footprint.

It is a moment of great pride for ESS to be recognized as the second-largest Black-owned business across various sectors in Charlotte. Charlotte Business Journal is a premier media platform with comprehensive coverage of local and national business news and their research is an effective barometer for the success of minority-owned companies based on the revenue generated,” said Edgar Ruth, President and Founder of ESS. “I am pleased to see that the pride my team takes in the work we do transcends to our business accomplishments. ESS exceeded the revenue generation goals through the hard work and perseverance of each employee. As a result, our achievements have gained recognition among companies from a wide range of industries,” he continued.

The Company is determined to create more meaningful opportunities and contribute to creating a positive impact on the industry, employees, customers, and community in North Carolina and across the country.

About ESS

Established in 1998, Environmental Service Systems, LLC provides janitorial and facilities maintenance services to clients belonging to a range of industries. For more information about ESS, visit www.environmentalss.com

Contacts

Ciara Lilly [email protected]

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National Urban League and Experian Launch Partnership to Support Financial Inclusion and Credit Education

National Urban League entrepreneurs and Young Professionals will have access to credit and small business tools

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The National Urban League and Experian North America today announced the launch of a new partnership to further the mission of financial inclusion and empowerment for all. National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial and Experian North America Chief Executive Officer Craig Boundy shared the news during the opening day of National Urban League’s first all-virtual Conference.

“The racial credit gap is a major barrier to Black entrepreneurship, homeownership and wealth-building,” said National Urban League’s Morial. “By utilizing a more inclusive credit-scoring model and offering other financial services, this innovative partnership will help put Black business owners, homeowners and job-seekers on a more equal footing, building stronger communities and a stronger economy.”

Through this partnership, Experian is providing National Urban League Young Professionals – a community-based volunteer auxiliary comprised of young professionals ages 21-40 – and those enrolled in one of 12 Urban League Entrepreneurship Centers with free access to their Experian consumer credit report and FICO® Score, along with the ability to potentially increase their credit scores instantly with Experian Boost™. Experian will also be offering small business tools, services, and educational content.

Based on a more inclusive credit-scoring model, Experian Boost can boost credit scores to reflect a more accurate payment history by factoring in utility bills, cellphone bills and video streaming services.

“Access to credit enables consumers the chance to reach their goals. We know that some have faced more obstacles than others through no fault of their own. Whether it’s buying a home, a car, or access to credit itself at a more affordable rate, everyone deserves the chance to achieve financial health and we’re excited this new partnership will facilitate these opportunities,” said Boundy.

Investing in communities is a key pillar of Experian’s Corporate Social Responsibility program. The partnership is part of Experian’s United for Financial Health initiative, which aims to empower and protect vulnerable consumers to improve their financial health through education and action.

About National Urban League

The National Urban League is a historic civil rights organization dedicated to economic empowerment in order to elevate the standard of living in historically underserved urban communities. The National Urban League spearheads the efforts of its 91 local affiliates through the development of programs, public policy research and advocacy, providing direct services that impact and improve the lives of more than 2 million people annually nationwide. Visit www.nul.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: @NatUrbanLeague.

About Experian

Experian is the world’s leading global information services company. During life’s big moments — from buying a home or a car to sending a child to college to growing a business by connecting with new customers — we empower consumers and our clients to manage their data with confidence. We help individuals to take financial control and access financial services, businesses to make smarter decisions and thrive, lenders to lend more responsibly, and organizations to prevent identity fraud and crime.

We have 17,800 people operating across 44 countries, and every day we’re investing in new technologies, talented people, and innovation to help all our clients maximize every opportunity. We are listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and are a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.

Learn more at www.experianplc.com or visit our global content hub at our global news blog for the latest news and insights from the Group.

Contacts

Teresa Candori, National Urban League, [email protected]
Victoria Lim, Experian North America, [email protected]

American Express’ Coalition to Back Black Businesses Awards $25,000 Enhancement Grants to 25 Black-Owned Small Businesses

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–American Express (NYSE: AXP) today announced that the Coalition to Back Black Businesses will award 25 Black-owned small businesses from the Coalition’s 2020 grant program an additional $25,000 enhancement grant to support their long-term success and resilience. Approximately 60% of the grant recipients were Black women-owned small businesses and 75% were Black-owned businesses with six or fewer employees.


“My business and life have done a full 180 since receiving support from the Coalition to Back Black Businesses program,” said Deandre Wade, owner of Fresh Sportswear, a small business in Antioch, TN that designs and manufactures custom uniforms for sports teams, with a focus on youth. “With the enhancement grant, I will be moving my business out of my living room and purchasing the tools and equipment needed to begin mass-producing our products.”

Established in September 2020, the Coalition to Back Black Businesses is a multi-year grantmaking and training initiative with an initial $10 million commitment to help support and empower Black-owned small businesses. Through 2024, the Coalition will distribute $5,000 grants to qualifying Black-owned small businesses each fall and will provide the opportunity to apply for select $25,000 enhancement grants the following spring. In addition, the Coalition is providing grant recipients with exclusive access to mentorship programs, training and online resources to help them grow and manage their businesses.

American Express established the Coalition to Back Black Businesses, a first-of-its-kind collaboration with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and four major Black chambers, including the National Black Chamber of Commerce, National Business League, U.S. Black Chambers, Inc., and Walker’s Legacy. The AIG Foundation, Altice USA (Optimum & Suddenlink), Cummins Inc., Dow, and Stanley Black & Decker joined the effort as partners, contributing additional funds and resources to help advance the Coalition’s work.

In its first year, the Coalition partners distributed 600 grants to Black-owned small businesses located in 33 states. The initial funds supported a wide range of critical business needs including paying employees, repaying debts, covering rent and utility bills, developing e-commerce capabilities, funding PPE purchases and expanding or pivoting business models. Grant recipients from 2020 were invited to apply for additional funds through the enhancement grants to help sustain and grow their businesses.

“The Coalition to Back Black Businesses gave us an opportunity to re-invest back into our business through marketing and advertising,” stated Melissa Hyles, owner of Oak Tree Financial and Tax Services, a family-owned financial services firm that has served the Rancho Cucamonga, CA area for over 25 years. “With the first grant of $5,000, we were able to update our website, which allowed us to have a much more visible presence on the internet. We plan on using the $25,000 enhancement grant to continue investing in marketing, opening a second location, and starting a mentorship program for our community so that we can pay it forward and give back.”

25 RECIPIENTS OF THE ENHANCEMENT GRANTS

American Express worked closely with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and a selection board comprised of Coalition representatives to select the 25 grantees from across the U.S. The 25 Black-owned small businesses hail from 14 states and across 9 industries, with the largest percentage of grants awarded to small businesses in the trade and services, retail and healthcare industries. The leading reasons for requesting an enhancement grant included developing a stronger online presence, relocating to a larger physical space and increasing marketing efforts.

The full list of grantees includes:

Business Name (Industry)

Location

Owner

424 Fashionz LLC (Sales)

Duluth, Georgia

Delores Salley

Alexandria Primary Care Clinic (Healthcare & Medical)

Alexandria, Louisiana

Melanie LaCour

Be-Moor Radio, L3C (Advertising, Arts & Media)

Detroit, Michigan

Dennis Talbert

Daemarii’s Unique Boutique, LLC (Sales)

Macon, Georgia

Virginia Sharp

Dancing with the Nordés, LLC (Education & Training)

Lansing, Michigan

Tiffany Nordé

Elk City Auto Spa (Trades & Services)

Charleston, West Virginia

C. Anthony Parker

Everybody’s Juice (Food and Beverage)

Washington DC

Najee Ellerbe

Excel Cleaning Services (Trades & Services)

Nashville, Tennessee

Caryn Clopton

Fresh Sportswear (Sport & Recreation)

Antioch, Tennessee

Deandre Wade

Genesis Printing Co, Inc. (Trades & Services)

Jacksonville, Arkansas

Goldman Jackson Jr.

Hands N Harmony (Trades & Services)

Universal City, Texas

Nancy Brewington

Harness Innovation (Education & Training)

Detroit, Michigan

Sean Harness

Heartsleeve (Sales)

New Orleans, Louisiana

Bernie January Jr.

Hope Pharmacy Inc (Healthcare & Medical)

Richmond, Virginia

Shantelle Brown

Impact 4 Change, PLLC (Healthcare & Medical)

Houston, Texas

Catherine Mukes

Julia Lynn Productions Inc (Education & Training)

Bronx, New York

LaVerne Bowen

Keeping It Clean Commercial Cleaning (Trades & Services)

Saginaw, Michigan

Cecilia Webb

L & R Human Resource Consulting, LLC (Human Resources­)

Bossier City, Louisiana

Mary Webber

Lamik, Inc (Sales)

Houston, Texas

Kim Roxie

Let’s Go Outdoors (Education & Training)

Cheltenham, Pennsylvania

Tarsha Scovens

Oak Tree Financial and Tax Services (Banking & Financial Services)

Rancho Cucamonga, California

Melissa Hyles

Paradigm Dental Center LLC (Healthcare & Medical)

Memphis, Tennessee

Christina Rosenthal

TBM Logistics (Sales)

Raeford, North Carolina

Thomas McMillan

The Suite Service (Trades & Services)

New York City, New York

Jessica Ogonor

Tonnie’s Minis (Food and Beverage)

Newark, New Jersey

Tonnie Rozier

Learn more about the winners and positive impact this funding will have on their businesses at www.webackblackbusinesses.com/recipients.

This September, more eligible U.S. Black-owned small businesses will have the opportunity to receive support, when applications open for the Coalition to Back Black Businesses’ 2021 grants. Please visit www.webackblackbusinesses.com for more details.

About American Express’ Continued Support for Black-Owned Businesses

In the fall of 2020 American Express announced a $1 billion action plan to enhance diverse representation and promote equal opportunities for colleagues, customers and communities. As part of this commitment, by the end of 2024 the company plans to provide financial support and education to at least 250,000 Black-owned small and mid-sized businesses. Among the company’s previously announced initiatives aimed to support Black-owned businesses are the “100 for 100” program for Black women entrepreneurs, the Coalition to Back Black Businesses grant program, a $1+ million grant program for “Backing Historic Small Restaurants” with a focus on those owned by underrepresented groups, a $40 million investment to the non-profit lender Accion Opportunity Fund to provide loans and resources to underfunded small business owners and an expanded ByBlack national certification and directory platform developed by the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. exclusively for Black-owned businesses.

Business owners can learn more about these American Express initiatives, resources and more here.

ABOUT AMERICAN EXPRESS

American Express is a globally integrated payments company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Learn more at americanexpress.com and connect with us on facebook.com/americanexpress, instagram.com/americanexpress, linkedin.com/company/american-express, twitter.com/americanexpress, and youtube.com/americanexpress.

Key links to products, services and corporate responsibility information: charge and credit cards, business credit cards, travel services, gift cards, prepaid cards, merchant services, Accertify, InAuth, corporate card, business travel, and corporate responsibility.

ABOUT THE COALITION TO BACK BLACK BUSINESSES

American Express established the Coalition to Back Black Businesses in September 2020 with a $10 million commitment to fund a grant program, over four years, to help Black-owned small businesses recover from the disproportionate impact of COVID-19.The grant program is administered by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, in partnership with the National Black Chamber of Commerce, National Business League, U.S. Black Chambers, Inc., and Walker’s Legacy. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is a private sector 501(c)(3) charity affiliated with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and is not a government agency.

Source: American Express Company

Location: U.S.

Contacts

AMERICAN EXPRESS
Sarah Abebe

[email protected]

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