MerchantMaverick.com, a business product comparison site for small business owners, announced the winners of its inaugural Opportunity Grants Program. Four $10,000 grants were open to Black female entrepreneurs in the United States.
Providing grants, boosting entrepreneurs
Merchant Maverick launched the grant program as a way to give back to the business community. The program will target a different underrepresented business demographic every year. This year, the company chose to award the grants to Black female entrepreneurs. Lack of access to business capital significantly impacts Black women. Read more the grant winners here.
While the winnowing process was painstaking, Merchant Maverick is proud to stand behind the four business owners elected to receive the grant money:
- Abena Foli, owner of POKS spices in St. Paul, Texas
- Jennifer Greer, owner of Jane Deaux Investigations in Clarksville, Tennessee
- Brianna Hairlson, owner of Bri’s Dance Place in Merrillville, Indiana
- Robin Holmes, owner of Deddle’s Mini-Donuts in Pikesville + Baltimore, Maryland
Helping others in the COVID era
The pandemic crippled many businesses over the past year. However, the B2B comparison site saw an increase in website traffic as businesses navigated government loan programs. CEO Amad Ebrahimi was thankful for increased traffic and affiliate earnings brought by Merchant Maverick’s pandemic-related content. As a result, he did not want to profit off of COVID: All money earned from COVID-related traffic in 2020 was reinvested in the Opportunity Grants Program.
Spurred by the obvious need for more resources in the small business community, the executives at Merchant Maverick thought about how the company could help all applicants — not just the winners. Every woman who applied will receive a free eBook on how to negotiate payment processing. They will also have the opportunity to appear in content on the Merchant Maverick site.
“I’m a great believer in Karma,” says Ebrahimi. “Generosity has a ripple effect, and giving back to the business community is the right thing to do.”
Creating opportunity through grants
Julie Titterington, Editor-in-Chief and Opportunity Grant Program Coordinator, agrees. “The response to our program was overwhelming. We received over 2,000 applications within the first few weeks alone. Black women form the backbone of so many communities across the country, and we feel incredibly privileged to have heard so many of their small business stories.”
Two of Merchant Maverick’s affiliate partners also stepped in with generous offers for the applicants. Stax (formerly Fattmerchant) and Payment Depot are both giving every applicant the opportunity to sign up for discounted payment processing services and software.
“Stax and Payment Depot really went the extra mile for these applicants,” says Markus Mazen, Merchant Maverick’s Partnership Manager. “For these 2,000 business owners, savings on payment processing fees may make the difference between a business staying open or closing forever.”
The Opportunity Grants Program will continue annually, addressing different underrepresented business demographics every year.
With more than 700,000 page views per month, MerchantMaverick.com is an online publication devoted to providing business owners with accurate, unbiased reviews for their businesses. The company’s goal is to provide the most honest, accurate, and useful reviews of business products and services to empower entrepreneurs with businesses of all sizes.
Read all about two amazing Black female entrepreneurs in American history, Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley and Madam C.J. Walker! Despite rampant racism and sexism in their eras, both women managed to achieve success.