New York, November 19, 2020 - Today, American Express (NYSE: AXP) revealed the 100 Black women entrepreneurs selected for its “100 for 100” program, which will provide each with grants of $25,000 and 100 days of business resources, including business education, mentorship, marketing, virtual networking, WorkSpaces by Hilton hotel reservation credits and more. KAZMALEJE is proud to announce that our co-founder, LaToya Stirrup, is one of the grantees and participants selected to be a part of this groundbreaking program.
American Express created this program in partnership with IFundWomen of Color, the leading platform for women of color to raise capital, to support Black women entrepreneurs as they work to jump start and grow their business ventures. The initiative is part of American Express’ recently announced $1 billion action plan to enhance diverse representation and promote equal opportunities for its colleagues, customers and communities.
Prior to the pandemic, Black-women-owned businesses were growing at unprecedented rates yet still making less revenue than their counterparts. In fact, according to last year’s State of Women-Owned Business report, commissioned by American Express, Black, women entrepreneurs were founding 763 new businesses every day – making them the fastest growing entrepreneur group in America. Yet, they still do not have equal access to the resources they need to grow and be successful.
“American Express is proud to support the highly talented and innovative entrepreneurs selected for our 100 for 100 program, as they kick start their ventures and keep the momentum going so their businesses can continue to evolve,” said Clayton Ruebensaal, EVP Global B2B Marketing, American Express. “The Black women entrepreneurs selected for the program have created many types of innovative, early-stage businesses across the country, inspiring and carving new paths for others to follow. Their business plans demonstrate that great ideas often come out in times of hardship, and American Express is committed to continuing to back small businesses and advance equal opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs, particularly during these challenging times.”
“Through our years of experience with businesses in need of funding, we have found $25,000 can truly change the trajectory of an emerging business. It could be the difference between one month of rent or five months, between being able to develop a decent prototype or a prototype that’s really not-so-great, and between doing real consumer testing or no testing at all. It means a business can do marketing to promote their product or service to drive more revenue and they can afford more payroll. We are thrilled to work with American Express to provide a meaningful difference for these inspiring 100 Black women-owned businesses, so they can grow and succeed,“ said Karen Cahn, Founder and CEO, IFundWomen.