Comerica Bank will commit $1 million over four years to the National Business League as part of a national partnership to develop and launch a new access to capital initiative that will assist Black businesses across the country, the Dallas-based bank announced today.
Called the Black Capital Access Program (BCAP), the program is set to pilot over the next three months, Comerica said. The innovative small business program will reach its five primary markets of Texas, Arizona, California, Florida, and Michigan. It will be available in all 50 states in 2021.
Envisioned as a “one-stop online platform for Black-owned businesses,” the BCAP program will give small businesses access to a capital toolkit, as well as a wide variety of technical services, financial planning information, webinars and more, according to Comerica.
“Small businesses face a myriad of inherent challenges to open their doors and remain viable, and the current conditions due to COVID-19 only deepened those issues especially among African American business owners,” said Curt Farmer, who was named Chairman and CEO of Comerica Bank in April 2019.
Farmer said the partnership with the National Business League “will become crucial in helping many Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs recover and survive this turbulent time.”
According to Comerica, the National Business League fights for policy and legislation to promote the growth of Black businesses. The nonprofit, non-partisan, and non-sectarian trade organization works aggressively in finding solutions to challenges in the marketplace.
“Capital access remains the most important factor limiting the establishment, expansion, and growth of Black-owned businesses,” Ken L. Harris, Ph.D., President/CEO National Business League, said. “As part of the organization’s mission to eliminate institutional, structural and systemic barriers to capital, it is important to develop public and private partnerships to address the financial burden on Black entrepreneurs who are trying to keep their businesses thriving in today’s economy, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The National Business League’s mission in the launch of the Black Capital Access Program and its partnership with Comerica Bank is to assist Black-owned businesses with capital needs and resources, Harris noted.
BCAP wants to help Black-owned businesses benefit from being capitalized, as well as “to create and grow sustainable enterprises that are consistently bankable and investment-ready in the digital economy,” Comerica said in its statement.
“We believe strongly that investing financially as well as connecting our team members to offer a wide range of technical resources will enable the NBL’s Black Capital Access Program to effectively reach and serve businesses in need,” Irvin Ashford, Jr., Chief Community Officer of Comerica Bank, said, adding that the bank is proud to support what is a 120-year mission of the National Business League, along with the mission “to deliver critical services to Black-owned businesses.”
Comerica’s $1 million contribution will kickstart the BCAP: The commitment includes a $150,000 financial contribution and in-kind and technical support valued at $100,000 for four years, the bank said.
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