February 02, 2022


Nearly 500 Black-owned businesses will receive a $5,000 grant each to support their long-term success

CBBB’s second annual impact report highlights the urgent needs of the Black business community and the impact of the initiative’s multi-year commitment

Washington, D.C.—Today the Coalition to Back Black Businesses (CBBB) co-founded by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, American Express, and four leading national Black business organizations – announced 491 Black-owned small businesses across 39 states were awarded a $5,000 grant each as part of a multi-year grantmaking and mentorship initiative. The recipients will be eligible to apply for enhancement grants of $25,000, which will be provided to a select number of 2021 grantee recipients in July 2022.

The CBBB was formed in September 2020 to address the needs of businesses impacted by the pandemic and support thir long-term growth. Since its launch, CBBB has awarded grants to more than 1,000 Black-owned small businesses.

“From nationwide supply chain disruptions to worker shortages, Black small business owners are facing new and daunting challenges brought on by the pandemic,” said Carolyn Cawley, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. “The strength of our economy depends on the success of these business owners. We look forward to working with our Coalition partners to empower more Black-owned businesses so they can recover from these challenges and continue to create jobs and opportunities in their communities.”

“We are proud to be a partner of CBBB and the truly impactful work it is doing to provide funding and educational resources to small business owners,” said Madge Thomas, head of corporate social responsibility at American Express. “As part of our “Backing Small” efforts to invest in the small business economy, this program enables American Express and our partners to meet the urgent needs of Black business owners and provide meaningful support where they need it most to ensure long-term success.”

“Any business needs money, but Black and brown businesses get such a small percentage of new business funding, limiting the opportunity of these entrepreneurs; people with amazing ideas, amazing drive and amazing vision,” said Mandi Masden, owner of Apostrophe Puzzles and recipient of CBBB’s 2021 grant. “That’s the number one thing we need. We need financial support. We need investors. We need grants.”

Funding from ADP, the AIG Foundation, Altice USA, parent company of Optimum and Suddenlink, Dow, the S&P Global Foundation, Shopify, and Stanley Black & Decker brought the Coalition’s total impact to $14 million, which will be provided as immediate financial aid and longer-term resources, such as mentorships and trainings, to support Black small business owners across the country through 2024.

2021 Impact Report

The CBBB’s second annual impact report released today, shines a light on the challenges grantees faced last year and how the CBBB grant has helped these businesses advance. Fifty-eight percent of 2021 grantees cited a lack of capital as an obstacle for Black business growth. Among the newest cohort of grantees – 68% of which are women-owned businesses – top reported obstacles include reduced consumer traffic (73%), employee availability (50%), enforced shutdown by state/local agencies (41%), and supply disruptions (39%).

Despite these challenges, 88% of survey respondents feel very optimistic about the future of their business, compared to 71% of the 2020 grantees. Most of the grantees are using the CBBB funds to support their businesses’ growth through marketing and staffing – another stark difference from last year when most grantees reported using the funds to deal with emergency payments such as bills, rent, or loan repayment.

Ron Holloway, co-owner of Woofbowl, a food truck exclusively for dogs, emphasized the grant’s impact on his company.

“The biggest challenge during the pandemic was growing our customer base because no one wanted to do anything, no one wanted to go anywhere,” Holloway said. “The support from the grant was a lifesaver. It’s the first grant we’ve ever received, and we were almost in tears because it meant so much to have that kind of support.”

On February 10, CBBB will host a virtual event to share insights on the state of Black-owned businesses in America, how the Coalition is supporting them, and how others can join this effort. To register, click here.

For more information and the latest updates on the Coalition’s work, visit