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Fearless Fund, the first venture capital fund created by women of color for women of color, has partnered with peer coaching platform The Cru and the Tory Burch Foundation to provide a total of 75 women of small businesses run by women of color. grants between $10,000 and $20,000 for a total investment of several million dollars.
Each recipient will also receive resources and peer coaching services to help them continue to build and develop their professional goals.
According to Entrepreneur Magazine, Black women-owned businesses are the fastest growing economic force in the United States. In 2018, American companies raised a total of $130 billion in venture capital funding, but only 2.2% of that amount went to women-founded companies and less than 1% of total funding was allocated to businesses founded by women of color.
Fearless Fund, which has been around for 10 years, invests in high-growth, scalable businesses led by women of color across the United States. Their mission is to bridge the gap in venture capital funding for women of color founders who are building scalable, dynamic businesses for growth.
Arian Simone, President and CEO of Fearless Fund, said that in conjunction with the Tory Burch Foundation, these grants are for women of color whose businesses generate annual recurring revenue of at least $100,000. They don’t need to be in business for a certain number of years. Applicants will be required to complete a detailed application where they can tell their story and how the funds will be deployed should they win, and the level of impact the grants will have on their business. Simone said she plans for it to be an annual, ongoing program.
The Tory Burch Foundation is deploying grant capital for the program.
“Fearless Fund and The Cru are drivers of change. We couldn’t be more thrilled to be working with two organizations that are changing the landscape for women entrepreneurs of color,” said Tory Burch, Executive Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of Tory Burch LLC.
Interested candidates must identify themselves as a female color-led for-profit company and complete an entry form by Feb. 9 to stand a chance of being selected.
The grants committee will decide who is the top 15 percent of the pool, and together with the Tory Burch Foundation, they will make the decision on recipients.
Simone said not only are capital resources necessary for women of color to grow their businesses, but education and community resources are also needed. Le Cru has a coaching platform. “We love that about the partnership because we know how critical that community is to the success of a female entrepreneur. The role of entrepreneurship can get lonely if you don’t have a community,” Simone said.
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