- Major retailers have joined forces with the Fifteen Percent Pledge, driving $14 billion into Black-owned businesses since 2020.
- The Pledge's aim is to generate $1.4 trillion for Black entrepreneurs by 2030, a bold step towards closing the racial wealth gap.
- Despite occasional pushback, initiatives like Nordstrom's "Buy Black" program underscore the tangible success of a more inclusive business model.
A groundswell of support for Black entrepreneurs has culminated in $14 billion in revenue channeled to Black-owned businesses since May 2020. Major retailers like Nordstrom, Macy's, Sephora, Ulta Beauty, and 25 others have joined hands with the nonprofit organization Fifteen Percent Pledge. The initiative calls for companies to dedicate 15% of their shelf space to Black-owned brands, mirroring the Black community's representation within the U.S. population.
Before embracing the pledge, many of these companies only allocated less than 3% of their shelf space to Black-owned brands. Now, each partner has agreed to meet the 15% target within a ten-year contract. "Let's make room for inclusivity and present an opportunity for Black entrepreneurs, who have long been marginalized, to amass generational wealth," declared LaToya Williams Belfort, the executive director of the Fifteen Percent Pledge.
With a commitment to generate $1.4 trillion in wealth for Black entrepreneurs by 2030, the Fifteen Percent Pledge has become more than just a symbolic gesture. Sephora led the charge as the first multibillion-dollar retailer to answer the call. This initiative was given wings in the wake of George Floyd's tragic death, reflecting a broader corporate push towards diversity, equity, and inclusion.
More than two-dozen companies have risen to the challenge. Among them are 20 apparel and furniture retailers, three lifestyle publications, and cannabis dispensary chain MedMen. The impact is palpable, as over 625 Black-owned businesses have forged relationships with these large corporations. Some, like Black beauty brand 54 Thrones, have experienced exponential growth, transforming from four-figure sales to five-figure days, thanks to the Pledge.
Despite some pushback against diversity, equity, and inclusion goals, there's optimism that change is afoot. The successes are real and measurable, as illustrated by Nordstrom's "Buy Black" pop-up market, which generated $14 million in one month alone. The Fifteen Percent Pledge isn't just a feel-good story; it's a model of how business, when committed to inclusivity and equity, can reshape society for the better.
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