Alibaba.com, one of the world’s largest B2B ecommerce marketplaces and a business unit of Alibaba Group, announced the 50 U.S.-based entrepreneurs who will each be receiving a $10,000 cash grant as part of the company’s first-ever Alibaba.com Grants Program.
More than 12,000 applied for the grants and of the 50 recipients selected, more than 55 percent are Black entrepreneurs. These inspiring business owners run industries ranging from retail, beauty and health/wellness to tech and consumer goods and are from diverse backgrounds:
- 78 percent are women entrepreneurs.
- 80 percent of the Alibaba.com Grants Program recipients are people of color.
- 90 percent of recipients shared that the vast majority of their teams are from historically underrepresented groups, including persons with disabilities and LGBTQ+.
Funding is a major issue for any small business, as 44 percent of entrepreneurs say they require $5,000 or less in the first six months of launching their business, but has historically proven to be more difficult for Black-owned businesses and people of color. In partnership with Hello Alice, the largest community of underrepresented entrepreneurs in the U.S. that helps small businesses launch and grow, Alibaba.com is doubling that start-up amount in individual grants, as well as providing resources on business topics through the Alibaba.com Digitization Sprint for Retailers to fully support Americans in building their businesses online.
These diverse entrepreneurs share what this opportunity means to them and their future:
- Nick Yeast, Founder of Nick Ricardo Collection, a gender-neutral fragrance brand breaking gender barriers in the beauty and cosmetic industry, says: “This grant will enable me to access to new spaces to showcase my brand with big retailers and begin the process of scaling my business, adding new inventory and broadening my marketing outreach.”
- Zakiya Brown, Founder of STEM Powered Kits, a STEM-focused learning box for kids of all ages that are affordable, accessible and eco-friendly, says: “I can further fuel our growth and continue building the infrastructure needed to scale. The infusion of capital will help us tremendously with our next production run and new hires.”
- Joi Wadem Founder of Joiful Bee, a hair care company that provides unique natural hair tools and accessories designed specifically for women with textured and curly hair, says: “This grant from Alibaba.com will impact the trajectory of my business in many ways. As a solopreneur, I will be able to hire support—mental health is so important for entrepreneurs and I will utilize this grant to get support in marketing and operations, in addition to my usual business expenses like inventory. I look forward to helping more women embrace their natural beauty through our products.”