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American Express commits $2.5 million to “100 for 100” program to invest in future of Black women entrepreneurs in the U.S.

By Marshall A. Latimore | The Atlanta Voice.

American Express 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. Nine of the recipients were business owners from Metro Atlanta.

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 programs, as they kick start their ventures and keep the momentum going so their businesses can continue to evolve,” said Clayton Ruebensaal, the executive vice president for Global B2B Marketing at 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.”

Ruebensaal said that 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’s recently announced $1 billion action plan to enhance diverse representation and promote equal opportunities for its colleagues, customers, and communities.

“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,” said Karen Cahn, the founder and CEO of IFundWomen. “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.”

The “100 for 100” program is part of American Express’ broader commitment to provide access to capital and financial education to at least 250,000 Black-owned small and medium-sized businesses in the U.S. by the end of 2024, to help them navigate today’s environment and thrive into the future.

American Express worked closely with IFundWomen of Color to select and surprise 100 unique and passionate innovators across a number of different industries including fashion and beauty, food and beverage, finance, fitness and wellness, home goods and apparel, technology, social good, and more. Many of the women are also creating content and fostering communities to empower the next class of Black women leaders.

The 100 days of business education for the entrepreneurs will kick off virtually in January 2021, with a tailored curriculum focused on topics for early-stage companies such as managing cash flow and growth, securing and maintaining customer relationships, and finding balance, all taught by industry experts and seasoned entrepreneurs. Many of the experts teaching the curriculum will also serve as mentors to the 100 women throughout the program, sharing insights during coaching sessions to help these entrepreneurs navigate business challenges and find the path towards growth.

Other resources for the women include marketing support from American Express to drive awareness of the entrepreneurs and their businesses across a variety of channels, complimentary access to a one-year premium subscription with the sleep and mediation app Calm, and a $1,000 credit to use towards WorkSpaces by Hilton, a new work-from-hotel solution that provides guests with a private, distraction-free workspace to increase efficiency, all backed by the elevated cleanliness standards of Hilton CleanStay with Lysol Protection.

Hilton, a longstanding American Express partner, is also offering Hilton Honors Diamond status to the 100 women, to help plus-up their work-from-hotel experience and provide valuable elite benefits. The 100 days of resources will culminate with an online event hosted on the Amex Virtual Campus, bringing the women together for networking, informative panels, and more.

Resources also include Business Class from American Express – a modern business education platform offering world-class know-how and essential insights to help entrepreneurs navigate the current environment – available to anyone, all at no cost.

The 100 Black women entrepreneurs joining American Express’ “100 for 100” program include:

Ahlilah LongmireAscot ManorLong Island City, New York
Alex McConneyHOOP YORK CITY LLCBrooklyn, New York
Alex SteinmanThe CovenSt. Paul, Minnesota
Alyscia CunninghamHer House MediaSilver Spring, Maryland
Alyssa AckermanBooked ‘N BusyNew York, New York
Andrea OseiOsei en RoseMaplewood, New Jersey
Angela HawkinsBambluAtlanta, Georgia
Angela RichardsonPUR HomePahrump, Nevada
Anna GilchristSandfish Publishing LLCHarrison, New Jersey
Ashlee AmmonsMixtrozBirmingham, Alabama
Ashley (Elbi) ElmThe Culturist UnionGuyton, Georgia
Ashley SodipoPink Flamingo Party Co.Brooklyn, New York
Bea ArthurThe DifferenceNew York, New York
Berly CorderoWomen’s Worth, Inc.Boston, Massachusetts
Bianca JacksonBrickRose ExchangeBaltimore, Maryland
Briaan BarronGrailSeattle, Washington
Brianna HairlsonBri’s Dance PlaceGary, Indiana
Bridgette WallaceG|Code,IncBoston, Massachusetts
Brittany CribbsCloud 9 Easy Go, LLCPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania
Brittany RhodesBlack Girl MATHgicDetroit, Michigan
Carina GloverHerHeadquartersOmaha, Nebraska
Chavonne HodgesGrillzandGranolaEast Elmhurst, New York
Cheryl IngramInclusologyCalabasas, California
Christa LynchBrooklyn BraisedBrooklyn, New York
Christiannah OyedejiTrymyfabDecatur, Georgia
Christine WachiraThe Wachira Group LLC dba Wachira WinesOakland, California
Crystal HinesSuper Media Company LLCLos Angeles, California
Cydnie Smith- McCarthyDrink MameyPortland, Oregon
Dainelle RileyHBCU Culture ShopTampa, Florida
Day BibbHelen Rose SkincareVancouver, Washington
Del MartinL’abio CoutureAtlanta, Georgia
Diana HilaireWhen She Comes HomeBrooklyn, New York
Dinai YelvertonPerfect Vision 2020 (The uDe Agency LLC)Lansing, Illinois
Domonique TownsendWork Life SuccessNashville, Tennessee
Elayne FlukerSiS AcademyDecatur, Georgia
Elisa MolinaCOVEDOZA LLCTucker, Georgia
Elizabeth GayÌpàdéWashington, D.C.
Elorm Dela-SeshieAdorn Me AfricaMansfield, Massachusetts
Esther WallacePlaya SocietyBoston, Massachusetts
Fikile MthwaloGlubbsNew York City, New York
Ife ObiThe Fit InBrooklyn, New York
Jasmine RuKimMonicat DataSaint Paul, Minnesota
Jimanekia EbornTending The GardenChino, California
ChiChi AnyanwuCHI Talent ManagementNew York, New York
Joy LindsayButterfly Dreamz, Inc.Newark, New Jersey
Jules PorterSeraph 7 StudiosSt. Paul, Minnesota
Kalilah WrightMess In a BottleBaltimore, Maryland
Kamilah MitchellTeas With MeaningOakland, California
Karen WilsonChildNEXUS, Inc.Los Angeles, California
Khadijat AKA Khadi OlagokeSober Black Girls Club, Inc.Staten Island, New York
Kim RoxieLAMIK BeautyHouston, Texas
Kisha HowellThe Harambee CollectiveNew York, New York
Laci ChisholmFit4DanceBrooklyn, New York
Lalese StampsLolly Lolly CeramicsColumbus, Ohio
LaSonya WinsteadHarmony WinesCharlotte, North Carolina
LaToya StirrupKAZMALEJECutler Bay, Florida
Lindsey MurphyThe Fab Lab // MurphMedia LLCPortland, Oregon
Lundyn CarterLaine LondonAtlanta, Georgia
Maghan MorinThynk GlobalMiami, Florida
Makeda MikaelMakeda Mikael Work BagsBethesda, Maryland
Mandi MasdenApostrophe PuzzlesBrooklyn, New York
María Lara BregattaCafé MamajuanaColchester, Vermont
Marsha StephansonCater to MomPflugerville, Texas
Marty McDonaldBoss Women MediaDallas, Texas
Maryam AjayiDive in WellLos Angeles, California
Melissa Mueller- Douglas, LMSWMYRetreatEast Rochester, New York
Michelle WaltonThe Collective – OaklandOakland, California
Mikki HernandezMixedKids&CoLos Angeles, California
Monica McCoyMonica Motivates, LLCConyers, Georgia
Nadirah SimmonsThe GumboBrooklyn, New York
naj austinethel’s clubBrooklyn, New York
Nicole FennerSister Girl Publishing LLCHalifax, North Carolina
Nikki PorcherBuy From A Black WomanAtlanta, Georgia
Odessa JenkinsWomen’s National Football ConferenceRowlett, Texas
Paulana LamonierBlack People Will SwimUniondale, New York
Phylicia BenjaminPerfect Score Athletic Training CenterGardena, California
Queen Precious-Jewel ZabriskieIndulge Catering, LLCDurham, North Carolina
Reese ScottWomen’s World of BoxingNew York, New York
Renee BobbMusic City Icons Professional Women’s Basketball TeamNashville, Tennessee
Rose HallTessie’s TeasCoral Springs, Florida
Ruth Jean-MarieThe August ProjectBrooklyn, New York
Salma NakhlawiStrongHER GirlsBrooklyn, New York
Samantha SinclairPathway To PurposeBrooklyn, New York
Samia BinghamFlavorsFort Washington, Maryland
Sandra JohnsonGlobal Mobile Finance, Inc.Cary, North Carolina
Shannon LeonVPack For WomenHomestead, Florida
Shauntavia WardeleMINT Skin Health & Wellness StudioAustin, Texas
Sherin DawudPower Pump GirlsBaton Rouge, Louisiana
Sissi JohnsonSelfSellsNew York, New York
T’Nisha Symone GlennBLAQUE Inc.Jamaica, New York
Tammeca RochesterHarlem CycleNew York, New York
Taylor LongNomads SwimwearCincinnati, Ohio
Tiffany DaysThe Communal GroupAtlanta, Georgia
Tracie SheltonAlamo KitchensSan Antonio, Texas
Tracy SkellyThe Little Cocoa Bean Co.Boston, Massachusetts
Trenelle DoyleGo Girl Ride LLCPortland, Oregon
Trista SanfordBespoke Bakery & Dessert BarGraham, North Carolina
Victoria-Pearl WrightThe Creative’s Corner Support FundHouston, Texas
Whitney Osei-AkintajuEthnic DistrictDuluth, Georgia
Yosara TrujilloSweet Water Dance & YogaBronx, New York
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