Comerica Bank Commits $1 Million to Create Black Capital Access Program
Given the current state of our country and its small businesses, one bank has revealed its plans to step up and assist one community of entrepreneurs who are among the hardest hit. Last week, Comerica Bank announced that it was partnering with the National Business League to create the Black Capital Access Program (BCAP). The bank will be supporting this effort to assist Black-owned small businesses with a commitment of $1 million over the course of four years.
According to the bank, this $1 million will be used to kickstart the program, including a $150,000 financial contribution in-kind followed by four years of technical support. Initially, a three-month pilot program will reach entrepreneurs in Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan, and Texas but the initiative will expand to all 50 states next year. Notably, this announcement also corresponded with the Juneteenth holiday, which Comerica observed by closing their offices, branches, and call centers early on June 19th.
Once established, the BCAP online portal will feature a capital toolkit that business owners can access. Additionally, the portal will include technical services as well as financial planning information. Finally, Comerica also intends on hosting webinars and other content of interest to Black entrepreneurs.
In a statement announcing the new program, Comerica Bank chairman and CEO Curt Farmer noted, “Small businesses face a myriad of inherent challenges to open their doors and remain viable, and the current conditions due to COVID-19 only deepened those issues especially among African American business owners. We believe our partnership with the National Business League will become crucial in helping many Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs recover and survive this turbulent time.”
Further speaking to the need for the Black Capital Access Program, National Business League president and CEO Ken L. Harris, Ph.D. said, “Capital access remains the most important factor limiting the establishment, expansion and growth of Black-owned businesses. As part of the organization’s mission to eliminate institutional, structural and systemic barriers to capital, it is important to develop public and private partnerships to address the financial burden on Black entrepreneurs who are trying to keep their businesses thriving in today’s economy, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.” Harris went on to say, “Our mission with the launch of the Black Capital Access Program presented by Comerica Bank is to assist Black-owned businesses with their capital needs and resources, and we are thankful to Comerica for its extensive support and national partnership.”
As both Farmer and Harris point out, recent months have proven exceedingly challenging for Black business owners. While Comerica and the National Business League’s Black Capital Access Program won’t erase those hurdles, it could go a long way in supporting current and future entrepreneurs of color. Therefore it will be interesting to see how the BCAP evolves and what impact it might have in the years ahead.