The NAACP has announced their newly acquired ownership stake in ‘Hello Alice,’ the largest online platform helping small businesses launch, attract, and retain more diverse customer sets. The announcement is a first for the NAACP and will provide substantial resources towards advancing the organization’s goals for economic equality for Black communities.
“To champion true racial equity, we need to address the long-standing economic inequality that has left Black communities underfunded and undervalued for centuries,” said NAACP President/CEO Derrick Johnson. “That’s why we’ve taken the unprecedented step to join as a part-owner of ‘Hello Alice.’ Our Black-owned businesses, who already faced long-ingrained institutional barriers to success, continue to recover from the devastation thrust upon them by the pandemic. Between February and April of 2020, Black business ownership declined more than 40%, which is more than any other ethnic group. This first-of-its kind partnership is a pivotal step towards putting Black business at the forefront of our economy and as a result, building generational wealth and economic power for Black communities.”
In an effort to support Black-owned businesses on a long-term basis, the NAACP first began partnering with Hello Alice to create the Black-owned Business Resource Center that includes capital and networking opportunities for Black small business owners throughout the country. Forty-four percent of the platform identifies as Black business owners, with nearly 75,000 participating in the Black Owned Business Center. As part-owner, NAACP now hosts voting rights and fully vested equity in Hello Alice. As Hello Alice grows its valuation and revenue, NAACP will receive the same financial earnings as other investors on the cap table, to benefit both the organization and the communities it serves.
“It’s time for the word equity to hold its full meaning in business,” said Elizabeth Gore, co-founder/president of Hello Alice. “Black business owners are the most entrepreneurial of any ethnicity in our country, and a critical customer set of our business. The NAACP shares our values to ensure all small business owners have access to the capital they need to scale. This is the best economic bet we can make.”
The coronavirus pandemic exacerbated inequalities that Black-owned businesses were already facing. In response, the NAACP launched several initiatives to help these businesses stay afloat and support their communities. The association committed a combined $1 million in collaboration with the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation to launch the Power Forward Small Business Grant, which will continue to support Black-owned businesses throughout New England. Additionally, the NAACP has created the Backing the B.A.R initiative in collaboration with Bacardi to provide over $350,000 in grants, education and entrepreneurship solutions for Black-owned bars, restaurants, and small businesses in the process of applying for a liquor license and collaborated with Beyonce’s BeyGOOD Black-Owned Small Business Impact Fund.
The NAACP has long believed that economic equity is crucial to racial equity, and an inclusive economy means everyone can contribute and earn with fair access to resources and opportunity. White families typically make 10 times that of Black families. In its current state, the United States economy is riddled with long-standing inequities that not only prevent growth within Black and brown communities but the economy as a whole. Closing the revenue gap between Black and White businesses would generate an additional $290 billion for the U.S. economy.