Tennis powerhouse Serena Williams is furthering her efforts to support Black entrepreneurs. In honor of Black History Month, a portion of proceeds from her jewelry company will be donated to a nonprofit dedicated to providing relief for Black small-business owners.
The organization, dubbed the Opportunity Fund, is spearheading initiatives to aid diverse business owners who have been significantly impacted by the public health crisis. NBC News reported Black entrepreneurs have had to shutter their businesses at more than twice the rate of white entrepreneurs. Further research revealed between February and April of last year, Black-owned businesses declined by 41 percent. Cognizant of the alarming disparities, the Opportunity Fund created the Small Business Relief Fund to support businesses led by women, people of color and immigrants.
“The economic and personal impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic are increasingly devastating for individuals, families and small businesses across the U.S.,” read a statement on the nonprofit’s website. “The Small Business Relief Fund provides relief to struggling self-employed and small business owners. We must step in as a source of stability for small businesses and self-employed individuals throughout this crisis.”
Williams has led a few efforts to support those who have been impacted by the pandemic. Aside from her work with the Opportunity Fund in July 2020, she teamed up with Scholastic and the National School Board Association to donate over 4 million face masks to schools throughout the U.S.
Several individuals have used their businesses to help Black business owners whether it is through monetary donations or spreading awareness about businesses that have been overlooked . Actress and entrepreneur Gabrielle Union created an initiative dubbed “Lift as We Climb” through her Flawless by Gabrielle Union haircare company in an effort to increase the visibility of small Black-owned businesses. Union’s company uses its digital platforms to amplify businesses that were created by Black entrepreneurs.