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Cross River and TechUnited Join Forces to Propel Entrepreneurs and Empower More Small Businesses in New Jersey

Cross River and TechUnited launch Women & Minority Business Owners Mentorship Cohort

Cross River is investing in its backyard by continuing to cultivate the NJ ecosystem through job creation, community partnerships and empowering the next generation of entrepreneurs

FORT LEE, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Cross River Bank (“Cross River”), a technology-driven financial services organization that provides core infrastructure and embedded financial solutions and TechUnited:NJ, a membership-driven, non-profit organization that offers opportunities for tech-enabled companies and entrepreneurs to collaborate, today announced a groundbreaking partnership to propel the future of New Jersey by increasing support for small businesses and entrepreneurs in the state, particularly by providing additional resources to women and minority business owners.

“Our success at Cross River is emblematic of the growth of the New Jersey technology ecosystem, and we are humbled to play a part in cultivating, hiring, and investing in our backyard,” said Phil Goldfeder, SVP of Global Public Affairs at Cross River. “As one of the largest lenders in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), we safely and securely supported the smallest businesses who needed access to capital and this partnership with TechUnited demonstrates our continued commitment to our mission of serving the smallest businesses and entrepreneurs leading the next generation.”

As said by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy in his welcome remarks at Propelify Innovation Festival: “This event reflects and amplifies the innovative spirit to which New Jersey is responding to a multitude of major challenges. As entrepreneurs and innovators, you continue to reinvent the industry and are critical to the New Jersey economy. Supporting women and minority small businesses through mentorship programs with Cross River… will both transform our state and maintain our commitment to creating a stronger and fairer New Jersey for every family.”

Cross River merges the forward-thinking offerings of a technology company with the established expertise of a bank, while maintaining a strong focus on regulatory compliance and consumer protection. As a New Jersey state-chartered community bank, Cross River has demonstrated firsthand how the state’s structure and support has played an integral role in propelling economic advancement, innovation, and increased investment opportunities. Cross River and TechUnited have been community partners for years, but this partnership is the first of its kind, encompassing a Women & Minority Business Owners Mentorship Cohort, resources for startups and emerging investors, community events, thought leadership and more to propel the greater New Jersey technology and business ecosystems.

The specialized mentorship cohort focuses on providing underrepresented founders and owners with new advantages, resources, and information. The cohort will provide mentorship from executives at Cross River, Amazon, RSM, Deloitte, EY, and more. Within the business community, where startups and small businesses are faced with immeasurable challenges, mentorship, guidance, and community visibility are crucial to provide lasting support. Beyond the 1:1 mentorship, the program also provided four cohort members with grants, subsidized by Cross River, to enable them to present at the Propelify Innovation Festival, on October 6, 2021 in Hoboken, New Jersey.

“Leveraging the TechUnited community and board, as well as our massive annual festival, Propelify, to truly support women and minority founders via this mentorship cohort is critical to the region’s success,” said Aaron Price, CEO of TechUnited. “For entrepreneurs who want to build their companies faster and smarter, this program is for you. We encourage anyone looking for guidance to ensure their business thrives to apply.”

In September of 2021, coming off the success of its 2020-2021 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Cross River launched Making Waves with Cross River, a campaign dedicated to small businesses and entrepreneurs. The campaign is specifically focused on supporting diverse small businesses who are serving their communities and creating jobs and encompasses a number of initiatives in conjunction with community partners including grant programs and small business support.

To learn more, and to get involved, please visit www.crossriver.com/making-waves.

About Cross River

Cross River is a fast-growing financial services organization that merges the forward-thinking offerings of a technology company with the established expertise and traditional services of a bank. Since its founding in 2008, Cross River has developed strategic partnerships with leading technology companies, marketplace lenders and payment providers, while maintaining a strong focus on regulatory compliance and consumer protection. Cross River provides a highly secure, API-based banking platform and comprehensive suite of products encompassing lending, payments, risk management and Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) offerings to deliver responsible financial solutions that empower businesses and consumers anytime, anywhere. Cross River Bank is a New Jersey state-chartered FDIC insured bank. For more information, please visit Cross River’s website at www.crossriver.com or Twitter @crossriverbank.

About TechUnited

TechUnited:NJ (techunited.co) is a membership-driven, non-profit organization with over 500,000 innovator members that offers opportunities for tech-enabled companies and entrepreneurs to propel the future of New Jersey and beyond through events, mentorship, content creation, and more. Founded in 1996 as the NJ Technology Council (NJTC), the organization has established itself as the premiere advocate for the technology community in the region. In 2005, the NJTC helped start a successful venture fund in Tech Council Ventures. In 2019, the NJTC acquired the Propelify Innovation Festival to cast a wider net in the region’s startup community. In 2020, the organization rebranded as TechUnited:NJ and redefined its mission to empower innovators and entrepreneurs who build a better future for all.

Contacts

Cross River

Eden Hoffman

Phone: 201-808-7000 x538

[email protected]

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Influencer Marketing Leader, Captiv8, Aims to Help Diversify Industry by Launching DEI Initiatives Including Grant Which Offers Pro-Bono Services to BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ Small Businesses

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 30, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Today, leading influencer marketing company, Captiv8, is announcing its public pledge to help Cr8 Change through programs such as a grant for minority-owned SMBs as well as mindful product updates with the goal of taking concrete, small steps to help lead greater DEI momentum and progress within the influencer marketing industry.

Influence Change Grant: applications are now open for Captiv8’s inaugural Influence Change Grant, which is designed to be a twice-yearly SaaS grant to support BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ owned small- to mid-sized businesses who are positively impacting their communities. Those selected will be provided free access to Captiv8’s SaaS influencer marketing platform, including discovery, workflow, intelligence, insights and measurement capabilities, as well as dedicated hours for strategic consulting with a team of in-house experts. In order to qualify, applicants must also meet the following criteria: be located in the United States, be non-for-profit or be a for-profit business with less than $10 million in annual revenue. The first deadline to submit is October 29, 2021, with the first recipients to be announced in December of this year. Captiv8 is currently dedicating over a half of a million dollars of value to this program to help support 10 companies in 2022.

Mindful Product Mapping: Captiv8 is also building features directly into its platform to encourage creator representation through expanded gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation identification options. This will allow creators to self-identify in the most representative manner, and allow brands to partner with creators to diversify initiatives.

“The last few years have made it apparent that there is a need now more than ever for a culturally diverse and representative landscape in the influencer marketing industry. We know this change cannot happen overnight, but we want to make sure we’re dedicating ourselves to taking the right steps to ensure we’re making a positive impact for both creators, and the brands we work with,” said Krishna Subramanian, CEO, Captiv8. “Ultimately, we know that small steps lead to significant progress over time. As a minority-owned company ourselves, we have built our own foundation upon the diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, genders and excellence of our employees, and we want to help lay a similar, inclusive, foundation in others.”

Captiv8, itself, is a minority-owned company, with nearly 70 percent of the team identifying as BIPOC. Diversity extends to the highest levels, with 1 in 2 of its leadership team also identifying as BIPOC.

Those interested in learning more or applying for the Influence Change grant can visit here.

About Captiv8:
Captiv8 is a full service influencer marketing solution that redefines end-to-end, inspiring you to think bigger, enabling you to plan smarter and empowering you to execute better. Through our intuitive workflow, brands can uncover actionable insights on trends, discover and vet influencers, seamlessly activate campaigns at scale, amplify branded content across the digital ecosystem, and prove business impact through our measurement dashboard. Our platform gives you the tools you need to build relationships and effective content, while our teams lend experiences and strategic services to steer you clear of common influencer marketing pitfalls.

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SOURCE Captiv8

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Isobar Public Sector Launches Minority-Owned Business Incubator

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#DEI–Isobar Public Sector, a dentsu international company, announced today the launch of a new minority-owned business incubator with Maryland-based firms. The goal of the partnership is to provide black-owned, 8a and minority-owned small businesses with technical support and resources to accelerate their operations, growth and go-to-market efforts in the public sector.

The program is part of Isobar Public Sector / Merkle and dentsu’s Economic Empowerment initiative. The firm has partnered with Maryland Black Businesses Matter organization, founded by Gregory Holmes, to identify black businesses currently working with U.S. federal, state and local governments. Following an initial matchmaking session, participating firms determine the type and level of support required. This may include business development, capacity building, proposal support, marketing efforts and/or administrative support.

“With this program, our goal is to make a difference for these firms and collectively improve not only their bottom line but also the careers and opportunities for both existing and prospective employees,” said Larry Gillespie, president, Isobar Public Sector. “Although we’ve just started, I’ve been amazed at the talent and creativity of all the firms. We are extremely fortunate to be working with Gregory, who brings a ton of passion and energy to the growth of black businesses in Maryland. This isn’t a typical mentor-protégé arrangement but a true collaboration. In fact, I find that it’s the larger firms in the relationship, like Isobar, that often learn the most.”

Collectively, the companies share a common focus and mission in delivering digital transformation, IT modernization and program management for government agencies. The collaboration often includes support of business development activities, proposals, white paper development and other activities. These efforts are supported by dentsu’s Global Technology Alliance partners, including Qualtrics, Salesforce, Adobe, Amazon, Google Global Technology practice and others.

Read the full press release here.

About dentsu:

Part of the dentsu group, dentsu international is made up of six leadership brands – Carat, dentsuX, iProspect, Isobar, dentsumcgarrybowen, Merkle and supported by its specialist brands. dentsu international helps clients to win, keep and grow their best customers and achieve meaningful progress for their businesses. With best-in-class services and solutions in media, CXM, and creative, dentsu international operates in over 145 markets worldwide with more than 45,000 dedicated specialists. Visit www.dentsu.com.

Contacts

Press:
Jennifer Ferguson

Chief Communications Officer, dentsu Americas

[email protected]

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New Online Bank PROFIT Helps Minority Business Owners By Doing Bookkeeping and Accounting for FREE

NEWARK, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–PROFIT is the first online business bank account that blends modern banking with accounting software in one platform – automatically completing your bookkeeping and accounting for free.


Founded by two software engineers who grew up in underserved areas (Newark, NJ & Union, NJ), Vin Montes & Frantz Romain personally know what it’s like to fend for themselves in an underserved financial business environment. Frantz Romain attended New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) and Vin Montes attended Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) in NJ. They recognized the help minority small business owners needed and built a banking platform to help them.

PROFIT’s founders include:

  • Vin Montes, a prior business owner, US Air Force veteran, and software engineer who developed a global financial spend application for UPS.
  • Frantz Romain, a prior business owner, and software engineer who worked with Mr. Montes for two years developing a global financial spend application for UPS. The technology he built with Mr. Montes was awarded Red Hat’s 2018 Global Innovation Award (prior winners include Barclays, Deutsche Bank, & BBVA)

PROBLEM

Minority small businesses continue to be underserved by banks. Lacking support from the financial industry, they struggle to access capital and easy-to-use financial tools. Overwhelmed with responsibilities, most minority business owners lack the time and financial background to manage complex accounting software.

THE PROFIT SOLUTION

PROFIT’s founders decided to build the first All-in-One business bank account with accounting technology that does their member’s bookkeeping and accounting for free.

“We personally know what it’s like to be left behind and fend for ourselves in an underserved environment. This motivated us to build a technologically advanced bank that would take some of the financial burdens away from underserved business owners so they could focus on growing their business the best way they can.” – CEO/Co-founder Vin Montes.

“It is hard for a business owner to know how their company is doing financially compared to their industry. To solve this problem we provide our members with real-time Profit & Loss statements that benchmark their net profit with their industry’s average. This helps the owner understand how their business is doing financially compared to their industry. – CTO/Co-founder Frantz Romain.

PROFIT also captures receipts via text message & automatically matches them to the correct transaction. It then auto-reconciles all their accounts saving their members days of tedious accounting work.

PROFIT GIVES BACK

Black and Latino business owners are half as likely to be approved for bank loans than Whites. That was the case even when Black, Latino, and White applicants were all categorized as low credit risk, according to a 2020 Federal Reserve study. As further validation of the uphill battle Black & Latino’s face in getting the business help they need, Forbes published that 37.9% of Black businesses reported being discouraged from applying for a business loan, compared to 12.7% of white-owned businesses.

PROFIT’s founders experienced this first-hand when they were turned down for a business loan.

To help alleviate the problem, PROFIT offers all their members a 0% interest revolving line of credit. “We take a portion of our revenue and fund a revolving line of credit for all our members. We know what it’s like to be turned down for loans even if you have a good business. We do not ask for a credit check and the funds are available the next business day.” – CEO/Co-founder Vin Montes.

ASK

If you would like to help or support PROFIT’s cause in any way please contact [email protected].

To sign up for a PROFIT business bank account or to learn more, visit www.bankwithprofit.com.

Contacts

MEDIA INQUIRIES

Vin Montes

CEO & Founder

[email protected]
Media Kit: https://www.bankwithprofit.com/post/media-kit

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LASRE Partners with More than 30 LA Area Disadvantaged Small Businesses

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Demonstrating a very strong commitment to diversity and opportunity in the transportation sector, Los Angeles SkyRail Express (LASRE) is partnering with 33 Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) as it performs pre-development work on an innovative monorail transportation solution for LA’s traffic-congested Sepulveda Pass/405 Corridor between the San Fernando Valley, Westside, and ultimately LAX.


Going beyond meeting minimum requirements called for in its Pre-Development Agreement (PDA) contract with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), LASRE is proactively affording every practicable opportunity for the DBE community to participate in the Sepulveda Transit Corridor Project.

“Diversity and inclusion are core values for the LASRE team,” said Teresa Maxwell, LASRE DBE Liaison Manager. “DBEs are an integral part of the team and the LASRE Academy workshops and DBE mentoring plan demonstrate our commitment to including small minority and women-owned firms and supporting them throughout every phase of the project so they are successful.”

The LASRE team is comprised of several of the nation’s and the world’s leading transportation, construction, engineering, finance, and technology companies. This predominantly local team is led by John Laing, Skanska, BYD, Gensler, HDR, ACI, and Innova.

Each firm is either headquartered in Los Angeles or has a major regional center here. Combined, the team employs over 2,300 workers in the Los Angeles metro area.

LASRE’s DBE Contracting Outreach and Mentoring Plan builds further upon this commitment by engaging individual DBEs as protégés in a customized Mentor-Protégé Program that addresses their unique needs and focuses on helping the DBE protégés meet strategic business objectives. Additionally, through the LASRE Academy, workshops will be offered to DBE teaming partners to ensure capacity building opportunities are available to small businesses on the project.

If ultimately selected as Metro’s preferred team and technology, LASRE proposes to link the historically underserved San Fernando Valley to the Westside transportation and education hubs, including options to connect directly with UCLA, with a straddle monorail system that runs on narrow guide beams that both support and guide the trains.

Straddle-type urban monorail is proven to provide safe, comfortable and reliable transportation in dense urban areas all over the world, with the International Monorail Association listing straddle-type urban monorail transit systems in 42 cities worldwide, moving millions of passengers per day.

LASRE team members have worked on several such projects. For example, the Team’s lead structural engineering firm, Innova, itself a certified DBE, has provided structural design services on new monorail systems under construction in some of the world’s largest cities, including Bangkok, Cairo, and Sao Paulo. Further, BYD has extensive experience with such systems, including 14 contracted straddle-type monorail and automated people mover systems in operation, construction, or planning, in both Asia and the Americas.

In addition, LASRE technology supplier BYD also is a member of two teams that have been short-listed to build advanced technology automated people mover projects on the East Coast. BYD is part of Liberty Integrated Connectors, a team vying to build, operate, and maintain a new AirTrain system at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey; and also is a member of The LaGuardia Connectors, a team vying to build, operate, and maintain an AirTrain system for New York’s LaGuardia Airport.

Finally, LASRE’s selected lead construction company, Skanska, has compiled a very strong track record of success in Los Angeles County, both as a builder of several of Metro’s rail rapid transit lines, and as the builder of many Caltrans and local highway and bridge projects, employing thousands of local construction workers and many DBE firms.

Disclaimer

Because Metro has not completed a CEQA review, the information contained herein does not constitute or evidence an approval by Metro of, or commitment of Metro to, any action for which prior environmental review is required under CEQA. Metro retains the absolute sole discretion to make decisions under CEQA, which discretion includes, without limitation (i) deciding not to proceed with the Project (known as the “no build” alternative) and (ii) deciding to approve the Project. There will be no approval or commitment by Metro regarding the development of the Project, unless and until Metro, as the Lead Agency, and based upon information resulting from the CEQA environmental review process, considers the impacts of the Project.

Contacts

Jim Skeen

[email protected]

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Citi Announces New Impact Fund Investments in Seven Companies

Half of New Portfolio Companies Include Women-Owned, Black-Owned, and LGBT-Owned Businesses

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Citi announced today its next round of investments through the Citi Impact Fund, a $200 million fund launched last year to invest in companies that are addressing some of the biggest societal challenges, including workforce development, financial capability, physical and social infrastructure, sustainability, and access to capital and economic opportunity.

The new companies included in this round Daylight, Flume, Jetty, Lacuna, Pathstream, Recycle Track Systems, and Stackshare. To date, this brings the Impact Fund’s total number of investments to 23 companies – more than half of which are founded by women and/or minorities. The Citi Impact Fund’s Black Entrepreneurs Investment Initiative – a $50 million capital commitment from Citi to reduce the wealth gap by creating equitable access to venture capital funding for Black founders – has made nine early-stage equity investments in tech-enabled ventures led by Black founders.

“The portfolio of the Citi Impact Fund keeps growing as we continue to find inspiring companies that are taking on solutions for the physical, financial and social infrastructure challenges that our communities are facing,” said Ed Skyler, Head of Global Public Affairs at Citi. “From addressing lack of internet access to reducing the burden of medical care, these companies are rethinking what’s possible, and we are proud to deploy our balance sheet in support of true ‘double bottom-line’ companies.”

“Home broadband in the U.S. lags far behind in both competitive options and fiber penetration compared to many other countries, and the events of the last 18 months have really highlighted how this disproportionately affects lower income communities across the U.S. in both urban and rural settings,” said Prashanth Vijay, Co-founder and CEO, Flume Internet. “Flume is working to bridge this digital divide by bringing premium fiber services to overlooked locations in major cities. We’re excited to work with Citi, who has been a critical partner in this vision and is powering us to not only deploy but also educate residents about the benefits and most productive ways to use their fiber connection.”

“Our mission is to help the millions of working adults in the U.S. who are looking to transition to economically stable and personally fulfilling careers but have hit a dead end by offering a fast, flexible, and guided educational experience providing a direct path into higher skill roles,” said Eleanor Cooper, Co-Founder, CEO, Pathstream. “Individuals come to us to get in the doors of employers, and employers come to us as a solution for attracting, retaining, and upskilling their frontline workforce by providing digital skills & promising career pathways to historically high-turnover, dead-end jobs. We’re thrilled to have Citi on board, both because of their history supporting innovative education and for their partnership in promoting equity issues more widely.

  • Daylight is a New York, NY-based company and the first and only digital banking platform in the U.S. specifically designed for the LGBT+ community by the LGBT+ community. Led by LGBT+ entrepreneurs and co-founders Rob Curtis (CEO), Billie Simmons (COO) and Paul Barnes Hoggett (CTO), Daylight offers a holistic set of financial products, tools and advice to help the LGBT+ community simplify banking. Daylight’s flagship products and services have been designed to improve financial equality and inclusion for the estimated 30-million-plus Americans who identify as LGBT+, a large, untapped market.
  • Flume Internet is a minority-founded internet service provider that enables high-speed low-cost internet access by leasing unused networks from cities and utilities. Based in New York, NY, Flume builds and installs optical edge technology designed to access these unused fiber assets in order to provide home broadband options for urban and suburban communities at low to no cost. Flume provides broadband access to customers along with premium WiFi management via tiered subscription options ranging from $35 – $50. The company will be expanding service to other cities on the East Coast in 2022 and strives to accelerate fiber to the home deployments all across the US.
  • Jetty is a New York, NY-based financial services company on a mission to make renting a home more affordable and flexible for everyone in a way that benefits both property owners and renters. Using a deposit replacement product (Jetty Deposit) as well as a flexible rent payment product (Jetty Rent) property managers can increase lease conversion, reduce bad debt, and streamline operations. For the renter, Jetty products lower the barriers to renting, saving residents thousands of dollars and providing them with flexible rental payment structures.
  • Lacuna Technologies is a software company based in Palo Alto, CA, and it builds and manages open-sourced digital tools that allow cities and municipalities to create, communicate, and enforce dynamic transportation policies. Streets are packed with new forms of mobility – delivery services, rideshare vehicles, and even drones. Lacuna’s solutions, built on open-source technology, give cities a full and reliable picture of how their roads and airways are changing so that they can create evidence-based policies to address congestion, pollution, access and safety issues, and more. Lacuna paves the way for commercial operators to integrate their modern technologies into cities equitably in a way that works for everyone long-term.
  • Pathstream supports working adults to transition into high-demand digital skill careers by providing best-in-class online education and job placement. Headquartered in San Francisco, Pathstream builds programs in fields such as data analytics and project management in direct partnership with industry-defining work-tech companies. Pathstream’s programs have been increasingly used by Fortune 100 employers as a competitive advantage to recruit, retain, and upskill their frontline workforce.
  • Recycle Track Systems (RTS) is an environmentally-focused, technology-enabled provider of waste and recycle management services for commercial, public and private entities. Founded in New York City, RTS uses a software platform and proprietary tracking system, leveraging a network of partner haulers, to track materials as they travel to recycling or composting facilities and provides companies with reports that show how much material was diverted from landfill, recycled, and composted. RTS’ objective is to treat waste like a commodity and keep that material in the virtuous cycle from waste generation to its final destinations, contributing to the circular economy.
  • StackShare is a San Francisco, CA-based enterprise software-as-a-service (SaaS) company that provides tech stack collaboration for developers. StackShare has a community of more than one million developers and over 40,000 companies that have shared the tech stacks they use. StackShare utilizes a freemium model, offering developers free access to the platform as well as an enterprise subscription tier for companies, which helps companies automatically map out, document, and discuss all the tech stacks being used across their internal engineering teams through deep Git integration. It gives companies real-time visibility into their tech stack inventory, tech data for engineering planning & coordination, and tooling to drive internal collaboration – enabling engineering teams to save hundreds of engineering hours, reduce their potential attack surface, and more easily coordinate with governance and compliance teams.

The Citi Impact Fund is a component of Global Public Affairs’ Community Investing and Development team, which aims to enhance positive social impact and financial innovations that benefit underserved communities around the world. Through equity investing, lending and grant making, Citi and the Citi Foundation are working in new ways to effect positive and meaningful change in the communities around the world including Action for Racial Equity, which committed more than $1 billion in strategic initiatives to help close the racial wealth gap and increase economic mobility in the U.S. Additionally, Citi has committed $1 trillion to sustainable finance by 2030, which includes $500 billion to support activities in support of the SDGs outside of environmental finance – including education, affordable housing, health care, economic inclusion, community finance, international development finance, racial and ethnic diversity and gender equality.

To learn more about the Citi Impact Fund, visit citi.com/impactfund. For more information on how Citi is enabling progress and sustainable growth in communities around the globe, view Citi’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Report at https://www.citigroup.com/citi/about/esg/.

Citi

Citi, the leading global bank, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management.

Additional information may be found at www.citigroup.com | Twitter: @Citi | YouTube: www.youtube.com/citi | Blog: http://blog.citigroup.com | Facebook: www.facebook.com/citi | LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/citi.

Contacts

Media Contact:

Victoria Ifan

[email protected]

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Comcast RISE Commits $11 Million in Grants to Small Business Owners of Color as Part of Ongoing Effort to Advance Equitable Economic Mobility in Cities Nationwide

Second round of Comcast RISE Investment Fund will award $10,000 grants to 600 additional small businesses in Houston, Miami, Oakland, Seattle, the Twin Cities, and Washington, D.C bringing the total of grants to $11 million.

1,100 more businesses will also receive Comcast RISE marketing and technology support, bringing total awardees to nearly 4,700 since program launched in late 2020

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Comcast announced today a second round of cities to receive grants from the Comcast RISE Investment Fund, providing $6 million additional dollars to hundreds of small businesses owned by people of color, including Black, Indigenous, Hispanic, and Asian American owners, among others, bringing the total to $11 million in grants awarded as part of the Comcast RISE Investment Fund initiative.

Beginning on October 1, and through October 14, eligible businesses in Houston, Miami, Oakland, Seattle, the Twin Cities, and Washington, D.C. can apply for a $10,000 grant at www.ComcastRISE.com. A total of 100 grants per city, or 600 grants overall, will be awarded in November 2021. The Investment Fund is an extension of Comcast RISE, the multi-year, multi-faceted initiative launched in October 2020 to support small businesses owned by people of color and provide the resources and tools they need today and in the future.

Comcast RISE Recipients to Date

Comcast also announced its fourth round of Comcast RISE recipients, which includes 1,100 small businesses owned by people of color, that will receive a TV campaign, production of a TV commercial or consulting services from Effectv or computer equipment, internet, voice or cybersecurity from Comcast Business, as well as access to Ureeka, an online platform for entrepreneurs with a specialized online networking community with educational resources, sources of capital, and vetted experts. To date, nearly 4,700 Comcast RISE awardees have been announced and the program will have supported 13,000 small businesses by the end of 2022.

“While we know that no single organization can solve historic and systemic inequities overnight, we are committed to taking tangible actions that can drive long-term impact and change,” said Teresa Ward-Maupin, Senior Vice President, Digital and Customer Experience, Comcast Business. “Comcast RISE and the Comcast RISE Investment Fund offer the opportunity for small businesses owned by people of color to help grow their businesses, create jobs, and play a vital role in supporting our communities. This new round of Comcast RISE grants will provide more entrepreneurs of color with the resources and tools they need to scale their businesses and thrive for years to come.”

The Comcast RISE Investment Fund is focused on small businesses that have been in business for three or more years with 1-25 employees. Businesses must be in the following geographic locations to be eligible: Miami, FL (Miami-Dade and Broward Counties); Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN (Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, and Washington Counties); Oakland, CA (City of Oakland);

Seattle, WA (King and Pierce Counties); and Washington, D.C. (Wards 1-8).

To help drive awareness about the program and provide additional support, training, and mentorship, Comcast has also awarded support to Operation Hope, Ureeka, U.S. Black Chambers, U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Hispanic Heritage Foundation, National Asian American Chamber of Commerce, National CAPACD, Native Women Lead, National Congress of American Indians, Walker’s Legacy, Women Impacting Public Policy, Blavity.org, and nearly 40 community-based organizations in Houston, Miami, Oakland, Seattle, the Twin Cities, and Washington, D.C.

“Ureeka is proud of the commitment that Comcast is making to entrepreneurs of color, and we are humbled to be a part of this program,” said, Melissa Bradley, Co-Founder, Ureeka. “We know there are stark racial disparities in access to capital and resources for entrepreneurs of color – in fact, studies show that business owners of color are twice as likely as all business owners to report ‘lack of access to business loans/credit’ as a reason for closure. This program helps bridge the gap between survival and failure in the midst of a pandemic which continues to further exaggerate systemic injustices. The additional coaching and community connections that these businesses receive, in addition to monetary funding or services, will help these businesses gain valuable skills and opportunities that will help them move from survive to thrive.”

Comcast RISE Marketing and Technology Services

In addition to the Investment Fund, Comcast RISE, which stands for “Representation, Investment, Strength and Empowerment,” provides the opportunity for small businesses owned by people of color nationwide to apply for one or more of the following support focus areas with the opportunity to receive one.

  • Marketing Services: The following services from Effectv, the advertising sales division of Comcast Cable, and its creative agency, Mnemonic, are designed to help recipients with their marketing and media campaigns, including:

    • Media: A linear TV media campaign to run over a 90-day period.
    • Creative Production: Turnkey :30 TV commercial production, plus a media strategy consultation and 90-day media placement schedule.
    • Consulting: Advertising and marketing consultations with local Effectv marketing, research, and creative teams to gain insights on how to drive business.
  • Technology Makeovers: The state-of-the-art equipment and technology upgrade from Comcast Business includes computer equipment as well as Internet, Voice, and Cybersecurity services for up to a 12-month period. (Taxes and other fees may still apply for technology makeover services.)
  • Monetary Grants: In round one, which was announced in April of 2021, the Comcast RISE Investment Fund provided $5 million in grants to 500 small businesses owned by people of color in five cities: Philadelphia/Chester, Houston, Atlanta, Chicago, and Detroit. As noted above, the Comcast RISE Investment Fund will provide an additional $6 million in grants to 600 small businesses owned by people of color in six cities: Miami, Houston, Oakland, Seattle, the Twin Cities, and Washington, D.C.

All eligible applicants will receive a monthly Comcast RISE newsletter with educational content, and all small business owners can visit the Comcast RISE destination on the X1 platform featuring aggregated small business news, tips, insights, and more. Just say “Comcast RISE” into the X1 voice remote.

Comcast’s Ongoing Commitment to Advancing Digital Equity

Comcast RISE is part of Comcast’s ongoing efforts to advance digital equity and help provide underrepresented small business owners with access to the digital tools and funding they need to thrive. Over the next 10 years, Comcast has committed $1 billion to programs and partnerships that will reach an estimated 50 million people with the skills, opportunities, and resources they need to succeed in an increasingly digital world.

More information and the applications to apply for either the grant program or marketing and technology services are available at www.ComcastRISE.com.

About Comcast Corporation

Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is a global media and technology company that connects people to moments that matter. We are principally focused on broadband, aggregation, and streaming with 57 million customer relationships across the United States and Europe. We deliver broadband, wireless, and video through our Xfinity, Comcast Business, and Sky brands; create, distribute, and stream leading entertainment, sports, and news through Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, Universal Studio Group, Sky Studios, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, multiple cable networks, Peacock, NBCUniversal News Group, NBC Sports, Sky News, and Sky Sports; and provide memorable experiences at Universal Parks and Resorts in the United States and Asia. Visit www.comcastcorporation.com for more information.

About Comcast Business

Comcast Business offers Ethernet, Internet, Wi-Fi, Voice, TV and Managed Enterprise Solutions to help organizations of all sizes transform their business. Powered by an advanced network, and backed by 24/7 customer support, Comcast Business is one of the largest contributors to the growth of Comcast Cable. Comcast Business is the nation’s largest cable provider to small and mid-size businesses and has emerged as a force in the Enterprise market; recognized over the last two years by leading industry associations as one of the fastest growing providers of Ethernet services. For more information, visit www.business.comcast.com or call 866- 429-3085. Follow on Twitter @ComcastBusiness and on other social media networks at http://business.comcast.com/social.

About Effectv

Effectv, the advertising sales division of Comcast Cable, helps local, regional and national advertisers use the best of digital with the power of TV to grow their business. It provides multi-screen marketing solutions to make advertising campaigns more effective and easier to execute. Headquartered in New York with offices throughout the country, Effectv has a presence in 66 markets with nearly 35 million owned and represented subscribers. For more information, visit www.effectv.com.

Contacts

Media:
William Bell

347-730-7758

[email protected]

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California Hispanic Chambers Of Commerce Demand Accountability As Recent Report Reflects California’s Newest Energy Providers Are Woefully Behind In Contracting With The State’s Diverse Small Businesses

Measures by energy providers to expand minority supplier participation are dismal and extremely disconcerting

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Aug. 26, 2021 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — A recent report commissioned by the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce (CHCC) has revealed that California’s Community Choice Aggregators (CCAs) are woefully behind in contracting with the state’s diverse small businesses. Community Choice Aggregators are a much newer set of energy agencies regulated by the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC). The report, Failure to Diversify found that CCAs contracted with diverse firms for less than 0.1% of purchases, cutting women, minority, disabled veteran, and LGBT business enterprises out of $1.2 billion of economic opportunity when compared to investor-owned energy utilities.

California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce

“California is home to the nation’s largest and fastest growing segment of diverse small businesses,” said Julian Canete, President and CEO, CHCC. “We are extremely concerned at the lack of progress in procurement opportunities for those small businesses as set forth and required by General Order 156, adopted by the CPUC.  Despite being a critical part of California’s economic post pandemic recovery, small and diverse owned businesses have missed out on $1.2 billion in contracting opportunities, a situation that is unacceptable and must be remedied now.”  

Passed and adopted in 2002, Assembly Bill 117 authorized cities and counties to form their own agencies to procure electricity for individual customers within their own jurisdiction. These agencies, called Community Choice Aggregators compensate regulated utilities for the cost of electricity transmission and distribution to CCA customers. California’s first CCA, Marin Clean Energy, launched in 2010 and today there are 14 different CCAs around the state that are registered with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).

“For more than three decades, General Order 156 has proven that when women, minority, and other diverse businesses finally get the opportunity to compete, they often beat their competition,” said Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena), the author of several measures expanding supplier diversity requirements. “But it is clear that CCAs must step up on diverse procurement if they want the moral as well as economic leadership positions they want. Their lack of meaningful diverse spending shows they are not creating real jobs or contracting opportunities. The only diversity they seem to represent is in the communities that they claim to serve, but actually take advantage of. Much more must be done, and I appreciate that this report focuses attention on the need to increase GO 156 procurements across all providers, particularly from CCAs.”

In 1988, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) adopted General Order 156 in response to calls from policy makers and the public to increase opportunities for diverse small businesses to contract with corporations regulated by the CPUC. General Order 156 requires energy utility, water and telecommunications companies overseen by the CPUC to provide an annual report of their percentages of contracts given to women, minority, disabled veteran, and LGBT business enterprises, collectively referred to as “WMDVLGBTBE firms.”

Recognizing that promoting the interests of diverse businesses strengthens the overall state economy, GO 156 Section 8 set forth procurement goals for regulated utilities, requiring that companies establish plans to purchase at least 21.5% of each major category of products and services from diverse outside vendors, including 15% for minority-owned firms, 5% for women-owned firms, 1.5% for disabled veteran-owned firms, and goals to be established for LGBT-owned firms. In 2020, the state’s four large, regulated energy utilities contracted with WMDVLGBTE firms for 39% ($8 billion) of a total of $20.6 billion of products and services.

“CCA’s have been around for almost 20 years so it was shocking to see supplier diversity outcomes this low,” said José Atilio Hernández, Chairman of IdeateLABS, a statewide policy think tank issued the report commissioned by the Hispanic Chambers on the Failure to Diversify report. “As of 2020, California law requires CCA’s to take an initial step toward meeting CPUC requirements to contract with diverse businesses by requiring reporting of outcomes. Now that we see the numbers, it is clear that additional action is required for CCA’s to make meaningful progress toward meeting the state’s equity contracting goals.”

Following the 2019 expansion of G0 156 reporting requirements to CCAs through Senate Bill 255, CCAs filed their first Supplier Diversity Procurement Reports in 2021. The result was a dismal less than 0.1% of purchases, clearly cutting WMDVLGBTE businesses out of $1.2 billion of economic opportunity when compared to investor-owned energy utilities.

The CHCC is demanding the CCAs rectify this abysmal situation immediately and recommends the following steps for the consideration of regulators and policy makers if CCAs are to meet the CPUCs 21.5% diverse contracting goal or match the 40% average seen by CPUC-regulated investor-owned energy utilities,

  • Require GO 156 Contracting Goals for CCAs. The Legislature stopped short of requiring the same 21.5% diverse contracting goal contained in GO 156 for CCAs. As a result, CCAs stopped well short of that contracting goal, procuring less than 0.1% of total procurement through WMDVLGBTE firms. CCAs therefore must be included in GO 156.
  • Public Hearing on CCA Supplier Diversity. These findings regarding 2020 supplier diversity outcomes should be subject to a CPUC hearing to elicit feedback and guidance on how to help CCAs meet the diverse contracting goals of GO 156, especially as the Legislature and Commission considers our recommendation to include CCAs in GO 156.
  • A Moratorium on New CCAs. Until CCAs are formally brought into the GO 156 Supplier Diversity Program, we recommend a moratorium on creating any new CCAs. These agencies have advanced policy conversations around the need to accelerate progress toward our renewable energy and climate change objectives. But these efforts cannot come at the expense of the state’s diverse small businesses, who we see losing out on billions of dollars as CCAs take on more procurement responsibilities in the energy supply chain.

About the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce
The CHCC, through its network of over 103 local Hispanic chambers and trade associations, represents the interest of over 815,000 Hispanic businesses in California. For over forty years, the CHCC has served as the nation’s leading regional Hispanic business organization. The CHCC works to bring the issues and needs of Hispanic-owned businesses to the forefront of the California and national economic agendas.

About IdeateLABS
IdeateLABS is an interactive non-profit think tank that provides real time solutions to clients and partners. It’s an idea generator to policymakers, practitioners, research institutions, and stakeholders.  We use real intelligence, in real time to develop and visualize policy solutions to effectively communicate solutions to policymakers. We measure the impact of policy, investments, and business development to deliver a real time analysis.

Contact: Robert Alaniz
Milagro Strategy Group
(626) 437-3354
[email protected]

Logo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/1534038/California_Hispanic_Chambers_of_Commerce_Logo.jpg  

SOURCE California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce

New Goldman Sachs and Bipartisan Policy Center Report Shows Action Needed to Increase Small Businesses’ Access to Capital

As Paycheck Protection Program funds end, small businesses need more capital; Black-owned small businesses face larger hurdles than their white peers in accessing capital

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–A new report released today by Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices in conjunction with the Bipartisan Policy Center shows the strain small business owners across the country are feeling as federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding is depleted. The report offers urgently needed policy solutions to put main street businesses back on the road to recovery.

In June, 82% of small business owners in a Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices survey said their PPP funds would run out by the end of July. Yet just 24% said they were confident they could maintain payroll after depletion of PPP funds. Many small businesses say they are in a precarious position: emergency assistance is dwindling, and debt needs to be repaid—yet revenues have not fully recovered. For those seeking new sources of credit, pandemic disruptions are hindering their ability to secure financing.

The report also highlights a troubling fact: Black-owned businesses have significantly more difficulty accessing capital than their white peers. While PPP was broadly effective in sustaining employment at small businesses, its design reflected underlying disparities in access to finance. Challenges faced by Black small business owners include:

  • Black-owned businesses that are low credit risks are half as likely as white-owned firms to receive all the financing they seek, found a 2021 Federal Reserve Banks Small Business Credit Survey.
  • And white-owned businesses are twice as likely to receive all financing sought even when they are medium/high credit risk.
  • Research also finds racial differences in the decision to apply. Black small business owners with high credit scores are more than twice as likely to report a fear of denial than white founders with below median credit.

“As July comes to a close, small businesses across America face a grim reality: their Paycheck Protection Program funding is running dry, but our economy hasn’t fully recovered, the cost of doing business is increasing and their debts are coming due,” said Joe Wall, national director of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Voices program. “Together with the Bipartisan Policy Center, our policy recommendations will help ensure a main street recovery continues.”

Policy actions recommended in the report include:

  • Create a long-term, low-interest loan guarantee program to provide flexible, patient credit to allow small businesses to rebuild balance sheets as they restore revenues.
  • Direct the Small Business Administration (SBA) to re-evaluate policies regarding financial performance in previous years to account for the impact of 2020 on small business balance sheets.
  • Make SBA subordination agreements as easy as possible regarding Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL).
  • Consider actions that will expand the lender base in government guarantee programs.
  • Strengthen the capacity of CDFIs to distribute more small business credit in their target communities.
  • Prioritize small business financing as federal, state, and local governments distribute American Rescue Plan relief funds.

“Many American small businesses are still struggling to recover from the pandemic. Federal relief programs were crucial in helping them stay afloat,” said Dane Stangler, Director of Strategic Initiatives at the Bipartisan Policy Center. “Now, new actions are needed to help expand access to the credit they will need to invest and create jobs for their communities.”

The full report with detailed policy recommendations for increasing small business access to capital can be found here.

ABOUT 10,000 SMALL BUSINESSES VOICES

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices is an initiative for program participants to organize and advocate for policies that matter to them. It builds on Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, which over the past decade has provided access to education, capital, and support services to more than 10,000 small business owners across all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington D.C.

Contacts

Abbey Collins, Goldman Sachs, 212-902-5400

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