Coalition to Back Black Businesses – Grant Opportunity

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The coronavirus pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges for small businesses, and the Black community has been hit especially hard.

The Coalition to Back Black Businesses is a multi-year initiative to support Black small business owners and the communities they serve as they recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and chart a path forward. Small businesses are critical parts of communities – the strength of these businesses is essential to the recovery of their communities.

Through the Coalition, American Express, the National Black Chamber of Commerce, National Business League, U.S. Black Chambers, Inc., Walker’s Legacy, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, will work together over the next four years to provide $10 million in grants, training, and resources to empower Black-owned small businesses in distressed communities that have long been struggling with economic growth.

From 2020 through 2023, we will distribute $5,000 grants to more than 280 applicants each fall. We hope these grants can provide some assistance to the Black-owned business community to emerge from this crisis stronger than ever. We know the need for assistance is great, and we wish we could help everyone who needs it.

16 September Update: We are proud to announce that in addition to our Founding Partner, American Express, Altice USA has joined the Coalition to Back Black Businesses!

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To express your interest, you will only need to complete our streamlined application form below before 11:59 PM EDT on September 21, 2020.

After September 21, each applicant will be computer-assigned a random number, and 280 businesses will be selected as finalists. Additional applicants may be chosen for the waitlist.

Finalists will receive a more comprehensive online application form that will require your business’s W-9 form, Employee Identification Number (EIN), and other basic supporting information, including qualitative questions about your business. You will have one week to submit the finalist application from when it is received.


– Meet the criteria for being a Black-owned enterprise in a qualifying industry (See details below inWho is eligible to apply?”).
– Employ between 3 and 20 people, including the owner and any full-time employees, part-time employees, or individuals working under a 1099 or similar contractual agreement.
– Be located in an economically vulnerable community, according to the Distressed Communities Index.
– Have been harmed financially by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Please visit here, and enter the zip code associated with your business (as listed on your W9 Form) to see if you're eligible.


If you would like your Black-owned business to be considered for a grant from the Coalition to Back Black Businesses Fund and you meet the criteria, including employee count, business type, and business location, please answer the 10 questions here.


Small businesses across America are struggling to keep their dreams alive, and Black-owned small businesses have been hit especially hard. Black business owners are more likely to report difficulty obtaining loans, express fears about permanently closing, and predict declining revenues in the coming year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Coalition to Back Black Businesses is a collective effort to drive meaningful change within the Black business community by delivering much-needed short-term relief and supporting the long-term success of Black-owned small businesses and the communities they serve.


The $5,000 grants are only the start of the Coalition to Back Black Businesses’ efforts to support Black-owned small businesses. The grant program will involve three additional steps to invest in the long-term success and resilience of the Black small business community.

-Mentorship. Each grantee will receive exclusive access to a mentorship program, conducted in partnership with MicroMentor, to help grow their business with advice and guidance from industry- or subject-specific mentors.

-Enhancement Grants. Each summer following the distribution of the $5,000 grants, we will offer competitive $25,000 enhancement grants to those most promising grantees. Five percent of the grantees in each annual cohort will receive these funds to help take their business to the next level.

-Online Resources. This website will serve as a central hub featuring resources for all Black-owned small businesses. By working with our extensive network of partners, we will collect a strong library of programs and educational materials to help the Black small business community in their recovery and growth.


"This is going to create opportunity and in fact level the playing field for many of our members. I want to thank American Express for its vision in finding ways to make our businesses more competitive and positive in their approach. Access to capital has always been the missing link in regard to small business growth. We are now about to address that." ~ Harry C. Alford, President and CEO, National Black Chamber of Commerce

“Black entrepreneurs have been hit the hardest by the pandemic, coupled with historic levels of Black business closures and unemployment. We applaud American Express and the Coalition to Back Black Businesses for committing to fund $10 million in grants to Black businesses affected by the pandemic.” ~ Ron Busby, President, U.S. Black Chambers

“The National Business League is excited to partner with American Express, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and Coalition partners to provide $10 million dollars in grant funding for Black businesses throughout the country, as the NBL continues its economic recovery efforts in partnership with the public and private sector.” ~ Kenneth L. Harris, Ph.D., National President/CEO, National Business League, Inc. 

“Walker’s Legacy is honored to work with American Express in their commitment to diversity, through their generous effort to support and fund Black-owned businesses, and the organizations that aid them during this time of uncertainty.” ~ Natalie Madeira Cofield, Founder & CEO, Walker’s Legacy



The Coalition to Back Black Businesses is made possible by American Express.

The National Black Chamber of Commerce® is dedicated to economically empowering and sustaining African American communities through entrepreneurship and capitalistic activity within the United States and via interaction with the Black Diaspora. The National Black Chamber of Commerce® was incorporated in Washington, D.C. in March 1993. 140 affiliated chapters are locally based throughout the nation as well as international affiliate chapters based in Bahamas, Brazil, Colombia, Ghana, Kenya, France, Botswana, Cameroon and Jamaica and businesses as well as individuals who may have chosen to be direct members with the national office.

The National Business League is the first and largest nonprofit, non-partisan, and non-sectarian, Black business professional and trade association, founded August 23, 1900 by the iconic Booker T. Washington. The NBL has more than 120,000 members nationwide, with 4 regional offices in Atlanta, GA, Detroit, MI, Los Angeles, CA, and Washington, DC, and more than 360 local league chapters across the country. The organizations provide access to 2.6 million Black businesses throughout the United States, celebrating 120 years of service.

The U.S. Black Chambers, Inc.’s (USBC) mission is to provide committed, visionary leadership and advocacy in the realization of economic empowerment. Through the creation of resources and initiatives, USBC supports African American Chambers of Commerce and business organizations in their work of developing and growing Black enterprises. USBC represents 145 chambers in 42 states and 332,000 members, strategic partners, and small business associations nationwide whose involvement increases our capacity to serve.

Walker’s Legacy is the largest global platform for the professional and entrepreneurial multicultural woman. We exist to inspire, equip, and engage through thought-provoking content, educational programming, and a global community. Walker’s Legacy produces conferences, summits, masterclasses, entrepreneurship accelerators and programming to promote business and career advancement, skill sets, and networks of multicultural women in business and women entrepreneurs. For more information please visit


Businesses owned by black women have experienced unprecedented growth over the past two decades. This research, based on national data and a series of interviews with black women business owners, presents a summary of business owners’ motivation, challenges, support, and financial trends.

Every year, the National Committee on Pay Equity sets a date for “Equal Pay Day” to highlight the overall pay disparity between men and women who work full-time in the United States. This research shines a light on the wage gaps for Black women in the United States.

The U.S. Black Chamber’s platform powered by data and a national network of Black chambers.

USBC has created resources to help Black entrepreneurs navigate funding opportunities, educational webinars, and legislative updates on PPP and policies unique to business owners.

Through the Equality of Opportunity Initiative, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is developing and advancing data-driven business and policy solutions to bridge opportunity gaps and ensure that Black Americans and people of color have greater opportunities to succeed.

Small business owners across America are fighting to keep their workers employed and their dreams alive. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Save Small Business Initiative is committed to mobilizing and maximizing the impact of the nation’s response.

Visit to access free turnkey marketing tools, expert insights and advice, and special savings on curated solutions to help you market your business and other resources to assist with reopening.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is a private sector 501(c)(3) charity affiliated under the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and is not a government agency. To learn more, please visit