Several NBA franchises have led initiatives that sit at the intersection of sports and activism. One of the latest teams to unveil an effort centered on addressing racial inequities in entrepreneurship is the Milwaukee Bucks. The team has joined forces with the nonprofit The Lonely Entrepreneur for the creation of an initiative designed to support Black business owners, the NBA reported.
As part of the partnership the organization—which is dedicated to providing entrepreneurs with tools, resources and opportunities needed to thrive—Black business owners nationwide will have free access to the nonprofit’s digital community. Through TLE’s Black Entrepreneur Initiative, founders will be able to take advantage of weekly live group coaching, online courses and connect with like-minded business owners. TLE will also offer free memberships for the Madison Region Economic Partnership, the Milwaukee Chapter of the National Black MBA Association and MKE Black; three grassroots organizations that are centered on economic empowerment.
Aware of the socio-economic barriers that Black entrepreneurs face, The Lonely Entrepreneur Founder Michael Dermer wanted to take actionable steps towards driving change. “Dr. King shared one thing with all entrepreneurs, a dream. But Black men and women face social and economic injustices that make that dream difficult,” he said in a statement. “We want to thank the Milwaukee Bucks for giving the dreams of Black men and women a better chance of coming to life. We hope to make a lasting and significant impact on their lives and their communities.” Milwaukee Bucks Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility Arvind Gopalratnam believes the effort will be instrumental in leveling the playing field for Black entrepreneurs. “We’re thrilled to partner with The Lonely Entrepreneur to help advance its Black Entrepreneur Initiative nationwide and here in Wisconsin,” he said. “TLE’s entrepreneurial platform is a fantastic resource for aspiring business owners, and we’re hoping to extend it to as many Black entrepreneurs as we can.”
News about the partnership comes after the Atlanta Hawks franchise made history by becoming the first professional sports team to ink an exclusive financing deal with Black-owned banks.