Amazon just announced the $150 million Black Business Accelerator program for third-party sellers on the site. Third-party sellers represent nearly 60% of product sales on Amazon, and they enjoyed record sales growth in 2020. Through the program, Amazon wants more Black-owned businesses to enjoy that success.
About Amazon’s Black Business Accelerator Program
Amazon’s new Black Business Accelerator (BBA) provides access to capital, business guidance, mentorship, and marketing / promotion support. The goal is to help Black business owners succeed as sellers with their brands and products in Amazon’s store. The initiative was created in partnership with Amazon’s Black Employee Network and a coalition of nonprofit partners.
“We’re providing a springboard for Black-owned businesses to participate in and capitalize on the economic engine that is Amazon,” Brandi Neloms (Manager, Amazon) said.
This has been a challenging time for many small businesses yet selling in Amazon’s stores has enabled hundreds of thousands of smaller companies to sustain and even grow their sales despite the COVID-19 crisis. Amazon wants to be sure that Black-owned businesses have access to this opportunity, too.
Black Business Accelerator Program Pilot
Black entrepreneurs have less access to capital, mentorship, and growth opportunities. Also, they are significantly underrepresented in retail. Over the last few months, Amazon has done a pilot program of BBA with Black-owned businesses already selling in the Amazon store.
Here’s what some participants had to say:
Toyin Kolawole, CEO, Iya Foods: “Amazon provides an opportunity where everyone is welcome, and the door is open. We gained access to a huge customer base that provided the opportunity to offer our innovative products directly to millions of potential customers. We have depended on honest reviews and feedback from customers to improve, learn more about what our customers like, further innovate, and grow the business.”
Karen Blackwell, founder and CEO, Kanda Chocolates: “Since enrolling in the Black Business Accelerator pilot, I’ve been able to enhance my listings with strategic optimization, imaging services, and building brand awareness using their advertising tools.”
Rodney Marshall, founder and CEO, Aldevra: “Through this program, we have a partner who has helped us better understand how to use Amazon’s tools and analytics to expand our sales and help me connect with business customers.”
How Does Amazon’s Black Business Accelerator Work?
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.
You will find below the details of the support Black business owners will receive through through the program:
BBA participants can access services and grants to help jump-start business growth and customer acquisition. Opportunities include Amazon credits and services valued at $3,900 that include free product imaging services and advertising credits.
Cash Grants of $10,000
Amazon will offer an initial round of $10,000 cash grants, in partnership with Hello Alice. Hello Alice is an organization dedicated to helping entrepreneurs launch and grow their businesses. Applications for these grants will open on July 1, 2021. The grants will be awarded on September 2, 2021.
Business Education & Mentorship
Participants can access a minimum of one year of free strategic advisory services. This will allow them to get the coaching, training, and insights needed to take their business to the next level. Also, they can connect with a dedicated network of business mentors, including Amazon experts and small business thought leaders, to continue to accelerate business growth.
Marketing & Promotion
It can be difficult for customers to specifically shop for products from Black-owned businesses. Through initiatives like the Black-owned business storefronts for both consumers and Amazon Business customers and promotions featuring Black-owned businesses, customers can find products from these businesses throughout the shopping experience.
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