Wish, one of the largest and fastest-growing global e-commerce platforms, is announcing the launch of a $2 million fund to support independent, Black-owned retail businesses across the U.S.
Eligible business owners can apply for a $500 to $2,000 grant to help rebuild or reinvigorate their business. Funds can be allocated to a wide range of business needs, including workforce, operating costs, inventory, and marketing.
The move follows the news that Black-owned businesses in the U.S., which are highly concentrated in retail, food and beverage, and other service industries, are amongst the hardest hit by COVID-19 lockdowns. Between February and April 2020, the number of Black business owners in the U.S. dropped by 41%, vs 17% for white business owners. The challenges that face Black-owned businesses in the U.S. look likely to prevail well into next year.
Hassan Yahya, vice president of experience at Wish, said: “This is something we’ve wanted to do for some time but the COVID-19 pandemic crisis and the Black Lives Matter movement has really fast-tracked our mission. The Wish Local Empowerment Program provides a starting point for us to support independent, Black-owned businesses that are often denied government aid and lack other financial resources to fall back on. By joining the Wish Local network, we can help Black-owned businesses tap into the growing demand for e-commerce, as well as diversify their core revenue streams. We really hope we can make a difference and create a lasting impact on the equality and diversity of U.S. businesses.”
The fund is being financed by Wish Local—a partnership program between Wish and a global network of brick-and-mortar stores. Any small business owner can apply as long as they meet the following criteria:
- 100% Black-owned or majority Black-owned
- Brick-and-mortar store located within the U.S.
- 20 or fewer full-time employees
- Annual revenue of less than $1 million in the last 12 months
As part of the initiative, Wish has partnered with Official Black Wall Street and Long Island African American Chamber of Commerce (LIAACC) to help promote the program amongst their networks.
To apply, business owners must tell Wish about their store and why they qualify for the program. Our committee will then review all applications to select which stores will receive funds and allocate funds accordingly. All successful applicants join the Wish Local program—a global network of 40,000 partner stores around the world. Through the program they can sign up as a Wish Pickup point or take advantage of our Sell on Wish feature that gives small retailers an immediate digital presence by allowing them to trade their own inventory online. Sign up is free and Wish takes no cut of any product upload, sale, or delivery fee.
The news further enhances Wish’s ongoing drive to expand its merchant footprint in North America and Europe and, in doing so, revitalize local communities who are amongst the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
To apply for a grant, visit www.wish.com/local/empowerment. Download the Wish Local app or follow @WishLocal on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
Source: Wish, via PRNewswire