Mergers & Acquisitions Pilot to Explore Strengthening Black Women-Owned Retail Entrepreneurship

business owner stock

Media Outlet

(WASHINGTON) – Prosperity Now, a national racial economic justice research, network and advocacy organization, today announced an innovative "Pilot Design" data-driven lab to strengthen Black women entrepreneurs in retail. With support from the Center for Racial Equity, Prosperity Now selected two organizations to participate in what will be a research-intensive effort to explore the capabilities of retail sector Black women-owned small businesses looking for opportunities to scale-up and grow.

The two businesses selected to participate are The Enterprise Center (TEC), based in Los Angeles, CA, and Vermont Slauson Economic Development Corp (VSEDC), based in Philadelphia, PA. In the last six years, TEC has served over 8,000 businesses throughout Greater Philadelphia. As the Corridor Manager for the 52nd Street Neighborhood Commercial Corridor, home to over 201 retail businesses and as operator of four federal centers, TEC has cultivated several opportunities for local women-owned small businesses. Since its inception in 1983, VSEDC has produced more than $60M in physical development projects, served over 25,000 entrepreneurs and small businesses and assisted clients in accessing approximately $250M in capital from partners while directly deploying $3M in micro-lending primarily to the Black-owned business community.

In concert with Prosperity Now, each business will identify strategies designed to facilitate mergers and acquisitions in the retail space for Black women entrepreneurs. Other aspects of the pilot will create fresh forward-thinking strategies that can support sustainability and scalability for the targeted population.  

“We’re excited to see Black woman-owned retail businesses grow and build resilience,” said Monique Carswell, Director of the Center for Racial Equity.

“This project aims to build upon Prosperity Now’s existing body of work and data, which show that closing the racial wealth divide entails creating accessible pathways and support for entrepreneurship to BIPOC Americans,” added Prosperity Now Interim President and CEO Cherie Collins Sims.   

Prosperity Now has a long history of providing essential expertise for economic and wealth-enhancement programming – working closely with local nonprofits to provide technical assistance and lending to BIPOC entrepreneurs to start, scale or acquire a business. Many of the entrepreneurs these nonprofits serve are faced with systemic barriers and challenges that limit their access to much needed financial business support to thrive. Black women, for example, represent 42 percent of new women-owned businesses, yet only 3 percent of those businesses survive. The critical lessons learned through this pilot will be shared with the greater entrepreneurial support community to begin creating sustainable pathways for BIPOC entrepreneurs.