Fearless Fund, the first venture capital fund built by women of color for women of color, has teamed with peer coaching platform The Cru and the Tory Burch Foundation to provide a total of 150 women of color-led small businesses grants between $10,000 and $20,000 for a multimillion-dollar total investment.
Each recipient will also receive resources and peer coaching services to help them continue to build and grow their professional goals.
Black female-owned businesses are the fastest-growing economic force in the U.S., according to Entrepreneur Magazine. In 2018, U.S. companies raised a total of $130 billion in venture capital funding, but only 2.2 percent of that went toward female founded companies and less than 1 percent of total funding was allocated toward businesses founded by women of color.
Fearless Fund, which is 10 years old, invests in high growth, scalable, women of color-led ventures across the U.S. The fund invests in women of color-led businesses seeking pre-seed, seed level or Series A financing. Their mission is to bridge the gap in venture capital funding for women of color founders building scalable, growth aggressive companies.
Arian Simone, president and chief executive officer of Fearless Fund, said that in collaboration with the Tory Burch Foundation, these grants are targeted to women of color whose businesses generate annual reoccurring revenue of at least $100,000. They don’t have to be in business a certain number of years. Applicants will need to fill out an extensive application where they can tell their story and how the funds will be deployed if they were to win, and the level of impact the grants will have on their business. Simone said she anticipates it will be an annual program and ongoing.
Tory Burch Foundation is deploying the grant capital for the program.
“Fearless Fund and The Cru are driving forces for change. We couldn’t be more thrilled to work with two organizations shifting the landscape for women of color entrepreneurs,” said Tory Burch, executive chairman and chief creative officer of Tory Burch LLC.
Interested candidates need to identify as a woman of color-led, for-profit business and complete an entry form by Feb. 9 for a chance to be selected.
The grant committee will decide who the top 15 percent of the pool is, and with the Tory Burch Foundation, they will make the decision on the recipients.
Simone said not only are resources of capital necessary for women of color to grow their businesses, but resources of education and community are also needed. The Cru has a platform of coaching. “We love that in the partnership because we know how essential that community is for the success of a female entrepreneur. The role of entrepreneurship can get lonely if you don’t have community,” Simone said.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect that 150 grants will be given out, a number which changed after being published.
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