(RTTNews) - Mastercard is continuing its support for black women entrepreneurs with a multi-million dollar investment in a venture capital firm built by women of color for women of color. The payments company will invest in VC firm Fearless Fund as part of its Strivers Initiative that reinforces commitment to black women-owned businesses across the U.S.
Strivers Initiative is a consumer-facing platform that elevates the visibility of Black female business owners overcoming obstacles to maintain and grow their business, as role models for the community and future generations. Mastercard announced the Strivers Initiative in mid-February.
"The need to narrow this gender and racial disparity is critical in driving forward innovation and fueling inclusive, sustained economic recovery across our country," said Michael Froman, president of strategic growth, Mastercard.
Black women-owned businesses are among the hardest hit by the impacts of the pandemic. Only three percent of the people actually leading investments at VC firms are Black, according to the National Venture Capital Association.
Mastercard is now investing in Fearless Fund and partnering with them to bring innovative programs to market to help Black women founders get access to the capital and resources they need to achieve their full potential.
The investment will allow Fearless Fund to further expand their portfolio of women of color founded and co-founded companies in the CPG, Food & Beverage, Beauty, Fashion, and Technology sectors. The investment will also play a significant role in job creation and wealth distribution in underserved communities.
Mastercard had earlier partnered Fearless Fund to launch a grant program aimed at supporting black women business owners in cities across the U.S., providing not only funding, but also leveraging Mastercard digital tools to help the businesses build and bolster their digital presence.
"We have been working together with Mastercard for almost 3 years now and look forward to growing this relationship," says Arian Simone, Co-Founder & General Partner of Fearless Fund.
This investment in Fearless Fund builds on Mastercard's previously announced half-billion-dollar commitment to support Black communities over the next five years to help close the racial wealth and opportunity gap starting in seven cities.
This includes products, services, technology and financial support, as well as concentrated investments that will focus on providing Black-owned businesses and Black people access to affordable financial tools and capital.
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