Contact: Ralph Mays, email@example.com
New Amicus Brief is Latest Effort by Black Economic Alliance Foundation to Preserve Pathways to Advancing Work, Wages, and Wealth Across the Black Community and Growing Overall U.S. Economy
New York, NY – The Black Economic Alliance (BEA) Foundation, the nation’s leading organization harnessing the collective expertise and influence of Black business leaders and aligned advocates to advance work, wages, and wealth for the Black community, announced today the filing of an amicus brief – joined by four leading business organizations – in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Previously, the BEA Foundation filed an amicus brief urging a district court to deny the motion for a preliminary injunction to stop the Fearless Foundation – which helps bridge the venture capital funding gap for women of color starting businesses – from providing a grant to Black women entrepreneurs.
The district court denied that motion for an injunction, but the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals unfortunately enjoined the program pending an appeal. The BEA Foundation’s second amicus brief in support of the program, co-signed by the Executive Leadership Council, the National Association of Investment Companies, the National Bankers Association, and the U.S. Black Chambers, was filed with the 11th Circuit.
“Despite facing systemic barriers, Black women entrepreneurs remain the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in America,” said BEA CEO Samantha Tweedy. “Investments from organizations like Fearless Fund are critical for these new businesses, which play a vital role in supporting the American economy. The BEA Foundation’s amicus brief, joined by the Executive Leadership Council, National Association of Investment Companies, National Bankers Association, and US Black Chambers, Inc., reflects what BEA Foundation polling confirms Americans already know: racial diversity in business is both a moral imperative and an economic one.”
The amicus brief focuses on the specific barriers that Black women entrepreneurs face. The brief notes that historically discriminatory systems are fully present to this day: Black women business owners who apply for funding face a rejection rate that is three times higher than that of white business owners and Black women receive less than one percent of venture capital funding. Programs like Fearless Strivers Grant Contest act to address these historical wrongs and, as the brief notes, ensure “…that the economy will benefit and grow as a result of this untapped pool of skill and innovation.”
The lawsuit targeting Fearless Fund is the latest in a series of attempts to claw back gains made in improving diversity in the private sector and in driving Black work, wages, and wealth.
The Fearless Strivers Grant contest, managed by the Fearless Fund, aims to bridge the gap in venture capital funding for women entrepreneurs of color after centuries of gender and racial discrimination. Venture capital funding for Black-owned startups, especially those led by Black women, is disproportionately low. From 2009 to 2017, a mere 0.0006% of VC funding was directed towards Black women-started businesses. Although there was a slight rise in 2021, with funding for Black and Latina women crossing 1%, the disparity remains stark. Fearless Fund, having invested in over 40 companies in just four years, including renowned names like Slutty Vegan and The Lip Bar, is a beacon of hope in this bleak landscape.
About the Black Economic Alliance Foundation
The Black Economic Alliance Foundation is the nation’s leading organization harnessing the collective expertise and influence of Black business leaders and aligned advocates to build economic prosperity and generational wealth for the Black community. We partner with leaders across the public, private, and social sectors to champion policy reimagination, develop investment and philanthropic programs, commission research, and elevate national understanding of the inextricable link between the health of the Black economy and the entire American economy. The BEA Foundation is the 501(c)(3) non-profit affiliate of the Black Economic Alliance, a nonpartisan coalition of Black business leaders and allies committed to advancing work, wages, and wealth in the Black community. | https://foundation.blackeconomicalliance.org