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Mastercard Supports Black Women Entrepreneurs with Investment in Fearless Fund

Fearless Fund is a venture capital firm built by women of color for women of color. This investment continues Mastercard's Strivers Initiative elevating and supporting Black women entrepreneurs.

Black women are building and growing businesses faster than any other segment. Yet they receive less than one percent of venture capital funding. In addition, only three percent of the people actually leading investments at VC firms are Black, according to the National Venture Capital Association. To help further access to funding for Black women, Mastercard recently announced a multi-million dollar investment in Fearless Fund. Fearless Fund is a venture capital fund built by women of color for women of color.

The importance of funding Black women

“The significant investment gaps in women-founded companies, which is especially acute for Women of Color, holds everyone back,” said Michael Froman, president of strategic growth, Mastercard. “The need to narrow this gender and racial disparity is critical in driving forward innovation and fueling inclusive, sustained economic recovery across our country. We are investing in Fearless Fund and partnering to bring innovative programs to market to help Black women founders get access to the capital and resources they need to achieve their full potential.”

Expanding opportunities for Black women

The investment will allow Fearless Fund to further expand their portfolio of women of color founded and co-founded companies. Specifically, it will center on companies in the CPG, Food & Beverage, Beauty, Fashion, and Technology sectors. Additionally, the social impact of the investment will have a significant role in job creation and wealth distribution in underserved communities.

“This multi-million dollar investment from Mastercard is further proof of their commitment to providing resources in an effort to better serve the hard-working but severely underfunded Women of Color entrepreneurs who so deserve equal capital distribution. We have been working together with Mastercard for almost 3 years now and look forward to growing this relationship,” says Arian Simone, Co-Founder & General Partner of Fearless Fund.

Taking action to create change

Mastercard has long been an advocate for the small business community. The company reinforced its investments to support Black communities with the introduction of its Strivers Initiative earlier this year. This initiative is focused on elevating the visibility of Black female business owners. Many of these owners are overcoming obstacles to maintain and grow their business. It also aims to encourage consumers and businesses alike to shop, share and support them.

In solidarity across U.S. cities

Last year, Mastercard announced a half-billion-dollar commitment to support Black communities across the U.S. over the next five years. This is part of an effort to help close the racial wealth and opportunity gap starting in seven cities. As part of that effort, the company is hosting in a series of local In Solidarity events. These events aim to address financial barriers and figure out how to advance equitable growth. The tour includes Strivers programming, hosted by Arian Simone, General Partner and Co-Founder of Fearless Fund. It is in partnership with Create & Cultivate. Above all, the goal is to drive awareness on the state of Black women-owned business in select cities across the U.S. local markets.

The Strivers events will foster dialogue with local leaders and small businesses around delivering on the needs of local businesses. It will also address the actions cities can take to advance an equitable business climate. Mastercard and Fearless Fund have also launched the Fearless Strivers Grant Contest. This contest aims to help Black female small business owners across the U.S. who’ve been hit hardest by the pandemic. For instance, it will supply them with additional grants and tools to help grow their business.

Investing in Black women

These efforts build on Mastercard’s sustained commitment to building a more inclusive digital economy.  This includes its commitment to bring 50 million small and medium-sized businesses into the digital economy. Specifically, Mastercard is helping 25 million woman entrepreneurs grow their businesses.

For more information on how Mastercard is helping close the racial wealth and opportunity gap for Black communities across America visit here.

Fearless Strivers Grant contest rules

No purchase necessary, this is a skill based contest. Void where prohibited. Open to black females who are legal U.S. residents (including DC), 18+ and the principal owner of a U.S.-based small business (as described in the Official Rules). Ends May 23. For official rules and complete details, click here.

About Mastercard

Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere. We do this by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. Our decency quotient, or DQ, drives our culture and everything we do inside and outside of our company. We have connections across more than 210 countries and territories. We are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all.

About Fearless Fund

Fearless Fund invests in women of color-led businesses seeking pre-seed, seed level, or series A financing. Its mission is to bridge the gap in venture capital funding for women of color founders building scalable, growth aggressive companies. Fearless Fund is built by women of color for women. For more information on Fearless Fund, please visit www.fearless.fund.