To support the more than 2 million black-owned businesses in the USA, Amazon launched the Black Business Accelerator (BBA) in 2021. Through this initiative, Amazon committed $150 million over four years to help build sustainable growth for Black-owned businesses. The Black Business Accelerator is part of Amazon’s ongoing efforts to increase diversity and inclusion, as well as create opportunities for underrepresented groups.
What is the BBA?
The Black Business Accelerator is designed to help Black-owned businesses overcome some of the unique challenges they may face. Through BBA, Black-owned businesses can access coaching and tools to counterbalance limited access to capital, resources, and support networks. The program is open to both new and existing Black-owned businesses in the U.S. that meet BBA’s eligibility criteria, which include having an Amazon Professional Sellers account, a physical product(s) ready to promote and sell, and a valid minority-owned business registration or certification from a verified certifying body in their Seller Central account.
Benefits of Amazon’s Black Business Accelerator
Participants in the program will receive personalized coaching, training, and mentorship, as well as promotional opportunities and early access to new Amazon programs and features. There are three main categories through which Amazon helps business owners:
- Financial assistance: Credits and cash investment opportunities to help jump-start business growth and customer acquisition
- $500 credit to assist with start-up and operational costs for newly-registered Amazon Professional sellers
- 3-year Sponsored Enhanced Digital Certifications for Black-owned businesses through SupplierGATEWAY
- Business education and coaching
- Onboarding support
- Access to Amazon’s extensive educational library
- Monthly webinars that review topics like hiring employees, expanding your audience, and more
- Marketing and advertising support
- FREE imaging services for up to 50 products to help showcase your catalog
- Up to $3,000 in advertising credits to increase brand exposure
- Use a $1,000 Buy with Prime credit to offer ecommerce shoppers fast, free shipping and trusted checkout
Beyond the BBA
In addition to the Black Business Accelerator, Amazon has launched several other programs and initiatives aimed at empowering minority-owned and small businesses to achieve long-term success in its store. In April of 2022, AWS Launched a $30 Million Impact Accelerator for Underrepresented Founders. Last fall, Amazon launched Amazon Catalytic Capital, an initiative that invests $150 million into funds that focus on Black, Latino, Indigenous, women, and LGBTQIA+ founders. Amazon has also launched dedicated storefronts to help promote minority-owned and small businesses by providing them with increased visibility in Amazon’s store.
The Importance of Amazon’s Black Business Accelerator
The Black Business Accelerator is part of a larger trend among companies and organizations that are looking to address systemic inequalities and promote diversity and inclusion in their operations. As more companies recognize the importance of supporting underrepresented groups, programs like the Black Business Accelerator will likely become more common.
To show the weight of a program like this, the Small Business Credit Survey found notable inequality when it came to black business owners when compared to white:
- 77% of Black-owned firms reported that their financial condition was poor or fair, while only 54% of white-owned firms reported similar conditions
- Nearly 75% of Black- and Asian American-owned firms reported difficulties paying their operating expenses, compared to 63% of white-owned firms
- Black small business owners were also the most likely to experience difficulty accessing credit (53%)
The Black Business Accelerator is an exciting $150 million-dollar initiative from Amazon that can potentially create real opportunities for Black-owned businesses. The program provides resources, support, and mentorship to Black entrepreneurs, helping them overcome the unique challenges they may face in growing their businesses. Amazon’s commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion in its marketplace through initiatives like the Black Business Accelerator is an important step toward creating a more equitable business environment for all. For more information, or to sign up, visit Amazon’s Black Business Accelerator page.