Mega companies are providing funding for initiatives that focus on supporting Black businesses and entrepreneurs.
Wells Fargo Bank announced a $355,000 investment in The Inclusivity Project, a program of the Northern California Small Business Development Centers (NorCal SBDC), to support Black businesses.
“The Inclusivity Project is a strategic partnership between NorCal SBDC, the Black and African-American chambers, and Wells Fargo that supports Black business owners in building a bold new, inclusive economy, meaning new businesses, jobs, and creating powerful community impact, together,” the initiative’s website states.
According to Sacramento Business Journal, the funding from Wells Fargo will support Black entrepreneurs and businesses as part of the bank’s commitment to the initiative, providing no-cost advice, mentoring, workshops, and networking.
The investment is part of Wells Fargo’s deliberate plan to expand, as the bank focuses on its goal to expand diversity and inclusion in all aspects of its business
“Wells Fargo is proud to invest in the Inclusivity Project to shift systemic and institutional barriers to Black entrepreneurs and small businesses,” said Kären Woodruff, senior vice president of social impact and sustainability at Wells Fargo Bank, a subsidiary of Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC).
In addition, the new funding will “help Black chambers work more collaboratively with their members to start and grow businesses,” said Scott Rogalski, associate director of strategic initiatives with NorCal SBDC, which covers 36 counties in Northern California.
Rogalski shared that the commitment from Wells Fargo will help the initiative carry on with those services, providing business plans, credit repair, financial education, loan matching, and other resources. He clarified that the program is not an attempt to steer clients to Wells Fargo, but toward micro-lending programs or Small Business Administration financing.
The Inclusivity Project, which has serviced over 2,000 business owners and entrepreneurs, was launched in early 2021 after Black and African American businesses were hammered by the COVID-19 pandemic.