Black-owned businesses in many countries, including the U.S., are historically underserved and underfunded. Black entrepreneurs face significant obstacles when trying to access capital to start or grow their businesses.
For example, a 2020 report by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that Black-owned businesses are less likely to receive bank loans. When they do, they tend to receive smaller loan amounts and pay higher interest rates than white-owned businesses with similar credit profiles.
It’s not only limited access to capital, however. Black-owned businesses face challenges when it comes to accessing resources like mentorship, networking opportunities, and business training.
Thankfully, there are efforts being made to address these issues, including Dialpad’s Tech for Black Founders program that has worked with more than 140 Black-owned businesses across the U.S. and Canada; from tech to finance, and from real estate to community businesses, accounting for $700,000 per year in free products and discounts.
Tech for Black Founders is under the Dialpad for Good umbrella of programming. It provides resources aimed at supporting underrepresented founders and small businesses in and beyond the technology sector.
“Dialpad is committed to using our platform to champion growing Black-owned businesses by providing a robust, out-of-the-box Ai communications solution that serves to bypass obstacles, and costs, startup companies face when ramping up,” said Clinton Ball, Head of Dialpad for Startups. “We are focused on continuing to support underrepresented founders as they seek to bring their companies to new heights.”
Dialpad is further expanding its Tech for Black Founders program and partnership with Sacramento Kings’ point guard Davion Mitchell to promote Black-owned businesses and feature them monthly across social media until June 2023.
This partnership expands the program nationally and highlights five Black-owned businesses – College Thriver, Courtroom5, Didactic, Switchboard Live and Wiz Kid Learning – to offer support and increased visibility for historically underrepresented founders.
“I’ve really enjoyed building my northern California community so far, and I am looking forward to using what I’ve learned about teamwork and culture on the court to help Black-owned businesses unlock new levels of achievement and success,” said Mitchell.
CEO and Founder of College Thriver, Shawntia Lee (who has raised $100,000) says Dialpad is a way to save a lot of money and a way for minorities to see their visions come to life. College Thriver is one of the businesses highlighted in the partnership.
"Dialpad provides us with a great service at a great price, allowing us to keep our focus on helping first-generation, low-income students and students of color to achieve higher levels of educational attainment while avoiding student loan debt,” said Lee.
The Tech for Black Founders program is open to startups in the U.S. and Canada that are led by one or more Black founders who have raised less than $30 million in venture capital and have fewer than 150 employees. If selected, businesses receive 10 free lifelong seats of Ai Voice and Ai Meetings and continued discounts throughout the company’s growth.
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