Fueling Black Entrepreneurs: Fifteen Percent Pledge Achievement Award

In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, entrepreneurship is often hailed as the cornerstone of innovation and economic growth. It’s a space where individuals can bring their unique ideas to life, shaping industries, and creating employment opportunities. However, the path to entrepreneurial success is not always equitable, especially for Black entrepreneurs who continue to face systemic barriers in accessing the resources needed to grow their businesses.

The Disheartening Statistics

At the end of last year, Black startup founders received a mere $264 million out of the staggering $33.6 billion in capital allocated to startups. This starkly translates to less than 1% of the funds flowing into businesses led by Black entrepreneurs. These barriers are not limited to funding alone; they extend into our banking systems, where a staggering 57% of Black business owners are denied a bank loan during the formation of their business.

These statistics paint a grim picture of the challenges Black entrepreneurs encounter on their journey to success. However, amidst these challenges, there is a beacon of hope in the form of the Fifteen Percent Pledge.

The Fifteen Percent Pledge: An Overview

For more than three years, the Fifteen Percent Pledge has been tirelessly working alongside major corporations, urging them to re-evaluate their organizational structures, funding streams, and supply chains. The ultimate goal? To create new economic opportunities and greater equity for Black businesses.

The premise is simple yet powerful. The Fifteen Percent Pledge calls on major retailers and corporations to commit a minimum of 15% of their shelf space, sales revenue, and annual spend to support Black-owned businesses. This initiative aims to tackle the racial wealth gap head-on and dismantle the systemic barriers that Black entrepreneurs face.

Corporate Commitment: A Beacon of Change

The progress made by the Fifteen Percent Pledge is both inspiring and impactful. To date, 29 corporations have made long-term contractual commitments to this noble cause. These commitments hold the potential to shift over $14 billion towards Black businesses, fostering growth, and creating opportunities that were previously out of reach.

However, despite this significant progress, there is still much work to be done to ensure an inclusive economy and an equitable future for Black entrepreneurs. This is where the Fifteen Percent Pledge Achievement Award comes into play.

The Fifteen Percent Pledge Achievement Award: Empowering Black Entrepreneurs

The Fifteen Percent Pledge Achievement Award is a testament to the organization’s commitment to supporting Black entrepreneurs. This award recognizes and rewards those who have made substantial contributions to advancing the cause of Black-owned businesses in the United States.

Application Process and Timeline

The application process for this prestigious award is both rigorous and transparent. To be eligible for consideration, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a member of the Fifteen Percent Pledge’s Business Equity Community.
  • Have a presence on Google Shopping.
  • Run an e-commerce business with a minimum annual revenue of $100,000.
  • Be Black-owned, with at least one self-identifying Black person holding 50% or more equity in the company.
  • Have between 2-15 employees, including the founder.

The application timeline for the award is as follows:

  • October 30, 2023: Application opens
  • November 30, 2023: Application closes
  • January 8, 2023: Ten semi-finalists are notified and invited to the 2024 15PP Gala
  • January 8, 2023 to January 14, 2024: The first round of public voting begins to identify the winner and two finalists
  • January 19, 2024: The top three finalists are notified with no indication of the winner status
  • February 3, 2024: The winner is announced at the event

FAQs: Your Burning Questions Answered

Before you embark on your journey to apply for the Fifteen Percent Pledge Achievement Award, you might have some questions. Let’s address a few of the most frequently asked ones:

  • Who can apply? As mentioned earlier, applicants must meet specific eligibility criteria, including being a member of the Business Equity Community and running a Black-owned e-commerce business.
  • How do you join the Business Equity Community? Details about joining the Business Equity Community can be found on the Fifteen Percent Pledge website.
  • How will finalists be notified? The notification process for finalists is outlined in the application timeline.
  • Is the Fifteen Percent Pledge providing cash to winners? Yes, winners of the Achievement Award will receive financial support.
  • Is there an expectation for an equity stake? The award does not require recipients to give up equity in their business.
  • Can I send samples of my product? The application process does not include sending physical product samples.
  • Is my information confidential? Rest assured, your information will be handled with the utmost confidentiality.
  • Can I apply for the award if I am not a U.S. citizen? The award is open to eligible businesses in the United States.
  • Is the cash award subject to taxation? Tax-related questions should be directed to a financial advisor or tax professional.
  • In what language should my application be submitted? English is the preferred language for application submissions.
  • What happens if I submit my application after the deadline? Late applications will not be considered, so make sure to meet the deadline.
  • Who can I contact if I have technical problems with the application process? The Fifteen Percent Pledge team is here to assist you with any technical difficulties.
  • I would like to support the Fifteen Percent Pledge. How can I get involved? You can make a difference by donating to support the organization’s general operations and long-term growth.

A Brighter Future for Black Entrepreneurs

In a world where entrepreneurship is celebrated as a beacon of innovation and progress, it’s essential to ensure that everyone, regardless of their background, has an equal opportunity to succeed. The Fifteen Percent Pledge Achievement Award stands as a testament to the commitment of the organization and its partners in supporting Black entrepreneurs.

Through this award, the Fifteen Percent Pledge not only recognizes excellence but also empowers Black entrepreneurs to break barriers and reach new heights in their businesses. Together, we can pave the way for a more inclusive economy and a brighter future for Black entrepreneurs across the United States. Apply now and be a part of this transformative journey towards equality and economic justice.


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