Walmart announced $2.9 million in new grants to organizations working to provide business education and advice on accessing capital to Black-owned businesses and Black entrepreneurs.
The grants will be administered through the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer's Walmart.org Center for Racial Equity, which launched in 2020. One of Walmart's goals in creating the center was "to make it easier for entrepreneurs in the retail industry to strengthen and scale their companies, in turn helping to sustain their communities across the country," Center Director Monique Carswell wrote in a Walmart blog post.
Carswell noted that only 5% of Black Americans hold business equity, according to McKinsey & Co. data, compared with 15% of white Americans. As an entrepreneur herself leading a consulting agency, Carswell shared, "I saw my primarily minority clients struggling to access capital, credit, expertise and networking"—challenges that have existed for centuries, she noted, because of discriminatory language written into laws as well as other institutional roadblocks.
Walmart's initial $2.9 million in funding will support organizations such as Winrock International, which will serve 200 Black-owned businesses across Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi, and business accelerator SEED SPOT, which will provide training on marketing, pricing and supply chain management in partnership with Black Dollar Corp.
"Reducing the racial wealth gap will take time, so this will be a journey," Carswell wrote. "But in the long run each Black business owner can become part of a rising tide that lifts other boats."