On May 10, the United Way of Southeast Louisiana (UWSELA) proudly announced the inaugural class of 15 Black-owned businesses to participate in a new initiative to help entrepreneurs multiply their savings.
The nonprofit organization has offered a plethora of grant opportunities and match funds for nearly two decades. Similarly, the newly launched Thriving African-American Small Business Initiative is among many efforts to dismantle the racial wealth gap and the countless barriers that small Black-owned businesses have historically faced.
From restaurateurs to photographers, the participating business owners have been vetted across all industries to take part in an incentive to thrive. They are required to save $334 monthly over 6 months until they reach a $2,000 goal, as indicated on the UWSELA website. The ultimate savings is then matched 5:1 with $10,000 in grant money for a combined total of $12,000 for their business.
Additionally, participants will gain access to “formal and informal opportunities to learn how to manage and budget money, improve their earning capability and invest in themselves and their communities,” according to a press release.
What a night! Yesterday we announced the inaugural participants of the Thriving African-American Small Business Initiative, a program designed to help boost the profit potential of Black-owned businesses in greater New Orleans.
Meet the participants: https://t.co/5ETvvULn3F pic.twitter.com/En0IxLWy4P
— United Way SELA (@UnitedWaySELA) May 11, 2023
According to the Corporate Finance Institute, 10% margins are average for small businesses, and 20% margins are high. However, there is no denying that Black-owned businesses face unique challenges that have induced a lack of access to capital and lower business credit scores. In fact, 76% of Black entrepreneurs rely on personal and family savings for financing, as reported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
On the other hand, Michael Williamson, UWSELA president and CEO, told a local New Orleans outlet that he and his team are well aware that small businesses drive the economy by providing both “jobs and positive economic activity to communities.”
“That’s one reason why we’re making this investment in these individuals working to build their brands and income,” he continued, per Biz New Orleans. “But, more importantly, our intentional investment in small, Black-owned businesses ensures communities of color don’t miss out on economic opportunities and growth.”
The selected group represents the Jefferson, Orleans, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Washington parishes.
Congratulations to Danny’s Creole Kitchen, Domango Training, Paparazzi Cam Photo Booth & Photography, Christiel Holistic Healing Center, Beyond the Stage, Touches by Tircuit, Treme Market Branch, Socialite Events, Socialstep Marketing and Consulting, Afri Modiste, Braids By Denise, Therapist With Talent Massage, New Day Properties, Popcorn Island, and Perfectly Vinyl Prints D&B!