The Black Economic Alliance (BEA) Foundation, the nation’s leading organization harnessing the collective expertise and influence of Black business leaders and aligned advocates to advance work, wages, and wealth for the Black community, filed a new amicus brief urging a federal court to deny the motion for a preliminary injunction to stop the Fearless Foundation, which helps bridge the venture capital funding gap for women of color starting businesses, from providing a grant to Black women entrepreneurs.
“Entrepreneurship is fundamental to the American dream and one of the surest paths to economic prosperity, yet Black entrepreneurs — and Black women in particular — face systemic barriers that make it harder to start and grow their own businesses,” says BEA CEO Samantha Tweedy. “Fearless Fund helps Black women overcome those barriers, which is good for Black work, wages, and wealth and good for our economy as a whole. Given BEA Foundation’s own recent polling that showed widespread support for businesses taking active steps to reflect the racial diversity of this country, it is clear that those trying to claw back pathways to economic progress for the Black community are out of step with the vast majority of Americans.”
BEA Foundation’s amicus brief focuses on the specific barriers that Black women entrepreneurs face. The brief notes that historically discriminatory systems are fully present to this day: Black women business owners who apply for funding face a rejection rate that is three times higher than that of white business owners and Black women receive less than one percent of venture capital funding. Programs like Fearless Strivers Grant Contest act to address these historical wrongs and, as the brief notes, ensure “…that the economy will benefit and grow as a result of this untapped pool of skill and innovation.” The lawsuit targeting Fearless Fund is the latest in a series of attempts to claw back gains made in improving racial diversity in the business sector. Recent polling by The Harris Poll and commissioned by the BEA Foundation clearly indicates that the vast majority of Americans across racial, ideological, and generational lines support businesses taking active steps to make sure that companies reflect America’s racial diversity and agree that racial diversity in business leads to greater profitability and innovation.