Nakeia Drummond is the founder of the Women’s Entrepreneur Leadership Lab, a network of Black women business owners that facilitates peer-supported growth. The WELL partnered with Reimagine Main Street to launch the Backing Black Business grant program, which will provide cash grants to Black female entrepreneurs. (Courtesy Photo)

By Megan Sayles, AFRO Business Writer
Report for America Corps Member

The Women’s Entrepreneur Leadership Lab (The WELL) recently partnered with Reimagine Main Street, a multi-stakeholder, cross-sector initiative focused on the recovery of small business from COVID-19, to launch the Backing Black Business grant program. 

Backing Black Business will award $2 million worth of cash grants to Black female entrepreneurs, with award amounts ranging from $5,000 to $50,000. The deadline to apply for a grant is Dec. 15. 

“We are excited to have been asked to participate in the Backing Black Business grant initiative and love the approach Meta and Reimagine Main Street are taking by partnering with organizations like The WELL that are working for and with Black women entrepreneurs every day, allowing us to have a seat at the table rather than serving us what they think we deserve,” said Nakeia Drummond, founder of The WELL. 

Reimagine Main Street created this grant program in response to COVID-19, which significantly affected businesses owned by Black women across the country. With support from Meta, a technology company, Reimagine Main Street, its network partners and The WELL are trying to advance the recovery of Black women entrepreneurs.

Aside from the money, grant winners will be introduced to business coaches, professional networks, potential partners and peers. 

To be eligible for a Backing Black Business grant, entrepreneurs must have launched prior to July 1, must operate in the United States, must be legal and for-profit, must be willing to document their revenue and must have generated at least $10,000 in revenue since January 2021. 

A panel of judges will review applications in January 2022, and winners will be notified in February 2022. 

According to Drummond, Black women represent 42% of all new business founders and own nearly 2.7 million businesses in the United States. In spite of this fast-paced growth, Black women entrepreneurs face obstacles due to minimal net revenue, network and net worth. 

She anticipates that the Backing Black Business grant program will help Black women entrepreneurs overcome these challenges. 

“We hope that these grants allow Black women entrepreneurs to move with more intention for themselves and their businesses with greater ease, as Black women are the fastest-growing demographic of new business owners,” said Drummond. 

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