Operation HOPE, the nation’s leading non-profit dedicated to financial empowerment for underserved communities, recently announced that its groundbreaking 1 Million Black Business (1MBB) initiative has supported more than 155,000 unique businesses to date. According to the 1MBB 2022 Impact Report, which will be released in Q1 2023, this accounts for approximately 5 percent of all Black-owned businesses in the U.S.
Launched in October 2020, Operation HOPE and lead partner Shopify established 1MBB to help create and support up to one million new Black-owned businesses by 2030. Shopify committed resources to the initiative valued at approximately $130 million. In addition, Operation HOPE has signed a coalition of more than 60 other corporate, governmental and private partners that have committed to supporting the effort. This includes the U.S. Small Business Administration, Truist, First Horizon, Wells Fargo, the NFL, MasterCard, Comcast, iHeart Radio, Aprio, Clark Atlanta University, New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, Reid AME Community Development Corporation, Fraternities Kappa Alpha Psi, Phi Beta Sigma and municipality partners including the cities of Birmingham, Memphis, Jackson, St. Louis, Los Angeles, Kansas City, Charlotte, Salisbury and Montgomery, among others.
The no-cost program helps Black entrepreneurs acquire the knowledge, skills and access to resources required to start, scale and grow their businesses. Through 1MBB, Black business owners have the opportunity to sign up for Operation HOPE’s award-winning model of community uplift, financial literacy and education – HOPE Inside – and upon graduation, Shopify has committed to providing aspiring Black entrepreneurs education, programming and resources to help launch or expand their businesses. Other 1MBB partners have also committed to providing in-kind services and support for these business owners.
Quotes from Operation HOPE and BlkSunflower’s CEOs
“I have consistently espoused that ‘silver rights’ is the ‘civil rights’ issue of this generation. Operation HOPE’s bold 1MBB initiative is equipping entrepreneurs with what they need to create and sustain a viable business,” said John Hope Bryant, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE. “1MBB offers a real, actionable approach to tackling financial disparities and building stronger communities. The data shows that we are having a true impact and empowering Black businesses.”
“Operation HOPE, 1MBB, and Shopify gave me the ability to build and launch a beautiful, easy-to-manage website with no prior experience along with the capital from my first loan to acquire the things I needed to continue to grow my business,” said Jazmin Richards, Founder & CEO, BlkSunflower.com. “Operation HOPE and 1MBB also provided me with amazing coaches and resources that help set BlkSunflower up for success. With the resources and coaching, especially access to funding, and business development tools, I now know that I am supported and the sky is the limit.”
To date, 1MBB has achieved the following results
- Onboarded more than 30,000 hours of professional services including accounting, legal, e-commerce strategy and marketing advice services from 1MBB partners to support Black business owners.
- Established a strategic alliance with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), which includes the support of municipal partners and civic and community leaders in more than 200 U.S. cities, to help raise awareness of tools and resources available to underserved communities through the SBA.
- Activated nearly 100 certified financial wellness and small business coaches to provide one-on-one sessions to source, train, certify and support program participants via virtual webinars and in-person events.
- Expanded national efforts to recruit new small business owners through various business trade groups, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), as well as members of the ‘Divine 9’ National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC).
Research from the latest HOPE Minority Small Business Index reveals that Black entrepreneurs remain optimistic despite recent inflation, hikes in interest rates, and supply chain disruptions. Through the 1MBB initiative, removing barriers to business success such as mentorship, risk tolerance, lack of technological innovation, digital strategies and limited access to capital can help improve outcomes.
Launched in October 2020 with founding partner Shopify, 1MBB aims to remove traditional hurdles to Black entrepreneurship and encourage more aspiring Black business owners to start – and scale – by providing them with the tools, resources, and education needed to succeed. To level the playing field, 1MBB will focus on critical tools for business growth such as technology and resources, educational programs, and the opportunity to access capital. Through this program, Black business owners can sign up for Operation HOPE’s award-winning model of community uplift, financial literacy and education, with access to tailored tools and resources upon graduation. To learn more about 1MBB or to get your business started, visit HOPE1mbb.org.
About Operation HOPE, Inc.
Since 1992, Operation HOPE has been moving America from civil rights to “silver rights” with the mission of making free enterprise and capitalism work for the underserved—disrupting poverty for millions of low and moderate-income youth and adults across the nation. Through our community uplift model, HOPE Inside, which received the 2016 Innovator of the Year recognition by American Banker magazine, Operation HOPE has served more than 4 million individuals and directed more than $3.2 billion in economic activity into disenfranchised communities—turning check-cashing customers into banking customers, renters into homeowners, small business dreamers into small business owners, minimum wage workers into living wage consumers, and uncertain disaster victims into financially empowered disaster survivors. For more information: OperationHOPE.org. Follow the HOPE conversation on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
To read more context about 1MBB, check out One Million Black Businesses Empowered in E-Commerce Arena.