American Express Commits $2.5 Million to “100 for 100” Program for Black Women Entrepreneurs
Continuing their commitment to supporting small businesses, this week American Express announced the 100 Black women entrepreneurs that have been selected to participate in the “100 for 100” program. Not only will the chosen women receive $25,000 in grants will also be able to utilize 100 days of business resources. These resources include business education, mentorship, and more. The 100 for 100 program was launched in partnership with IFundWomen of Color, which is a platform that allows women of color to raise capital.
Kicking off in January of 2021, program participants will learn about such topics as managing cashflow, maintaining customer relationships, and more. Additionally, the industry leaders and experts providing this content will also serve as mentors to the group. The program will also feature resources to help entrepreneurs find a balance in their lives. As a result, participants will receive a one-year subscription to the app Calm, $1,000 in credits for WorkSpaces by Hilton, and even Hilton Honors Diamond status. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the program will be hosted digitally on Amex’s Virtual Campus.
In a press release announcing the selected entrepreneurs, American Express’ EVP of Global B2B Marketing Clayton Ruebensaal said, “American Express is proud to support the highly talented and innovative entrepreneurs selected for our 100 for 100 program, as they kick start their ventures and keep the momentum going so their businesses can continue to evolve. The Black women entrepreneurs selected for the program have created many types of innovative, early-stage businesses across the country, inspiring and carving new paths for others to follow. Their business plans demonstrate that great ideas often come out in times of hardship, and American Express is committed to continuing to back small businesses and advance equal opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs, particularly during these challenging times.”
As for the potential impact the program could have, IFundWomen founder and CEO Karen Cahn explained, “Through our years of experience with businesses in need of funding, we have found $25,000 can truly change the trajectory of an emerging business. It could be the difference between one month of rent or five months, between being able to develop a decent prototype or a prototype that’s really not-so-great, and between doing real consumer testing or no testing at all. It means a business can do marketing to promote their product or service to drive more revenue and they can afford more payroll.” Cahn added, “We are thrilled to work with American Express to provide a meaningful difference for these inspiring 100 Black women-owned businesses, so they can grow and succeed.”
Amex’s commitment to 100 for 100 comes in addition to their support for the Coalition to Back Black Businesses Grant Program. That Coalition is a collaboration between the National Black Chamber of Commerce, the National Business League, the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc., and Walker’s Legacy. With Amex’s support, the grant will give $5,000 each to more than 280 applicants every fall, with the first round of grants beginning to go out last month. Of course, the announcement also comes just ahead of the American Express-founded Small Business Saturday retail holiday, which will be celebrated on November 28th.
While the women who will participate in this 100 for 100 program have already been selected, hopefully we’ll see future interactions in 2022 and beyond. Moreover, it’d be great to see past participants return to the program to help mentor a new class of Black female entrepreneurs as well. For more information about Amex’s 100 for 100 program, be sure to check out their website.