Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, affected Black businesses will get a helping hand from Shaq. Former NBA player Shaquille O’Neal is on a mission to reverse the alarming trend. O’Neal recently teamed up with American Express for the creation of a program designed to support Black entrepreneurs.
The NBA legend, outspoken sportscaster and bold business mogul is partnering with American Express on the “Coalition to Back Black Businesses,” a newly-formed grant program intended to assist Black-owned small businesses in their post-COVID recovery.
O’Neal says it is important to support Black-owned businesses because they are the backbone of our communities. “Small businesses need our support now more than ever. Black businesses have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic,” he said in a statement, according to the news outlet. Black communities with Black businesses, a lot of people have lost their lifelong jobs. I’m happy to support the first-ever Coalition of Black Businesses.”
The coalition, which also includes the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc., National Business League, National Black Chamber of Commerce and Walker’s Legacy, has launched with a $10 million commitment to fund a grant program over the next four years. A portion of the grant will also fund leadership development and business mentoring.
“It helps owners with funding, and we also got a mentorship program to help them grow their businesses and recover from the effects,” O’Neal said. “We’re not only giving money but also guiding them and helping them with what they need to get to the next level.” he added.