Operation Hope, one of the leading financial education and economic empowerment groups serving African Americans, teamed up with global e-commerce powerhouse Shopify to create 1 million Black-owned businesses over the next five years.
John Hope Bryant, the organization’s president and CEO, announced today the HOPE One Million New Black Business & New Black Entrepreneurship Initiative (1MBB) and its goal to develop multitudes of new Black-owned firms throughout the nation in the U.S. by 2030. To achieve this bold mission, Operation HOPE will work closely with Canada’s largest publicly-traded company which estimates the value of its commitment at $130 million over the course of this initiative.
Operation HOPE has also quantified its portion as worth tens of millions of dollars and will secure other partners who will make significant in-kind contributions. In fact, 100 Black Men of America Inc., the country’s top African American-led mentoring organization chaired by influential businessman and civic leader Thomas W. Dortch, Jr., helped initiate the effort as a key founding community partner. In that role, the organization has pledged to supply 1MMB with business mentors nationwide.
“Creating generational wealth through the creation of new Black businesses and Black entrepreneurs is a direct gateway to social justice. The creation of ownership, jobs, and opportunity in a generation helps to strengthen democracy and ensure freedom through self-determination. This is empowerment at scale,” Bryant said in a release. “To have Shopify actively supporting the 1MBB Initiative is a true game changer. Working together, we can scale our business creation platform to help underserved communities and enhance economic prosperity across America.”
“At Shopify, we believe more independent voices make commerce better for everyone. That’s why we work to break down the barriers to entrepreneurship every day,” Shopify President Harley Finkelstein said in a release. “By collaborating with Operation HOPE and working together on our shared passion for helping underserved communities succeed, we believe we can help unlock even more economic opportunities for Black business owners across the country, leading to greater choices for shoppers everywhere.”
Historically, the Black community has faced systemic barriers to entry. Moreover, COVID-19 has further served as an anathema to Black businesses. Operation HOPE reports “that 58% of Black firms were considered at risk or distressed as well as suffering from low profits, low credit scores, or income shocks in the months immediately following the onset of the pandemic And according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, more than 40% of such firms have been forced to close their doors.
Partnered with Shopify, Operation HOPE seeks to address these challenges by reducing impediments, encouraging more entrepreneurs to start and scale businesses and offer business-building tools, resources, and education.
According to Operation Hope, the program has launched its website and will provide guidance for those seeking to participate including :
- The 1MBB initiative is open to any Black entrepreneur or small business owner who has a dream of starting a business or taking their existing business to the next level.
- Each entrepreneur will create his/her unique path, depending on their work experience, how far along they are in their business plan and their specific areas of need. There is also a program for those with no experience, just the passion and drive to build a business, by utilizing the HOPE Business in a Box (HBIAB) online training program for those starting at square one. This program consists of a variety of self-paced learning modules and can be completed in as little as 10 weeks.
- 1MMB provides a wide range of services including creating or modifying a business plan; providing 1:1 small business coaching; getting advice from experts in a variety of areas.
It will also help entrepreneurs launch their operations either in a physical location and/or through an e-commerce platform; and provide guidance on ways to attract funding and customer development/retention.