Tabor 100, a nonprofit community organization that works to achieve economic empowerment and social equity for African-Americans and the community at large, recently launched their Black Business Equity Fund (BBEF) to provide cash grants, training, technical assistance and other support for the Greater Seattle area Black-owned businesses.
Half of the BBEF will seed a new cash grant program to support Black-owned businesses during the pandemic and the other half will fund training, technical assistance, programming, and build organizational capacity for Tabor 100 and the Tabor Economic Development Hub.
Grant-recipient businesses can use the funding to pay for rent, utilities, supplies, inventory, and other operating expenses.
The Fund launches with $1,299,000 and the goal of raising a minimum of $4.5M over the next three years.
“Black-owned businesses are failing at an alarming rate, and few were able to access federal and local pandemic assistance. COVID-19 has super-charged all the structural and economic barriers Black-owned businesses already faced,” said Ollie Garret, Board President for Tabor 100. “The Black Business Equity Fund offers a chance for the Puget Sound community to invest in the survival, sustainability and success of local Black-owned businesses.”
According to Tabor 100, roughly 95% of black-owned businesses were left out of the federal Paycheck Protection Program. According to research from the University of California at Santa Cruz, the number of Black-owned businesses nationwide has decreased 41% since February 2020 (17% of white-owned businesses closed during the same period).
The Founding Partners of the BBEF include Amazon, Vulcan Inc., Puget Sound Energy, Seattle Foundation, Facebook, and City of Seattle. Each partner has committed a minimum of $100,000 over the next three years. Additional funders are listed on the BBEF website.
“The Black Business Equity Fund will help meet urgent needs for the community and strengthen our region’s overall resilience and recovery by investing in economic opportunity for Black-owned businesses, said Bill Hilf, CEO of Vulcan Inc. “Having worked with Tabor 100 for years, we are confident the fund will build on their record of success and their capacity to anticipate and address future challenges.”
A central component of the BBEF is the Tabor Economic Development Hub, located in Tukwila. The HUB, which opened in January 2020, is the first-of-its-kind-in-the-nation offers collaborative workspaces, mentoring services, training, and a service bureau for low-cost back office functions, including accounting, billing and invoicing, marketing, data entry, and technical writing. Remote and socially-distanced services are available.
“Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen devastating consequences for small businesses in Seattle – some of our hardest hit businesses are owned by people of color,” said Seattle City Mayor Jenny Durkan. “To address the growing need, the City of Seattle immediately deployed $10,000 grants to small business. But we know our local support cannot meet the scale of the crisis as Federal support has begun to dry up. As a longtime leader in the community, Tabor 100 is doing critical work with private sector partners to urgently invest in black owned businesses.”
To learn more about the BBEF, visit https://tabor100.org/bbef/.