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About 41% of Black-owned businesses shut down in the U.S. between February and April 2020, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which outpaced all other owner groups. As has been the case in the past during the pandemic, many of those businesses were owned by women – businesses vital to their communities, giving back to them and supporting their financial growth.
To support and elevate Black women-owned businesses, Mastercard has announced it will be launching a multifaceted consumer-facing platform, the Strivers Initiative, that will elevate Black female business owners’ visibility overcoming obstacles to grow their business. The initiative includes a grant program and an educational roadshow.
“For years, Black women have built businesses at a pace far greater than any other minority group, with a focus on building businesses that give back to their communities,” said Cheryl Guerin, EVP marketing and communications in North America for Mastercard. “The pandemic has delivered financial headwinds that threaten the economic progress of Black female business owners and because of this, Mastercard is taking action, while also calling on consumers and corporates alike to shop, share and support these women.”
The new initiative includes a grant program for Black women-owned businessesMastercard has announced a partnership with Fearless Fund to launch a grant program that will offer funding and leverage Mastercard digital tools to assist businesses in building their digital presence.
The tools include the Small Business Digital Readiness Diagnostic, which allows entrepreneurs to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses across digital, and Digital Doors curriculum to help businesses ensure they have the right tools to maximize their digital presence.
The two companies will also collaborate with women’s online community Create & Cultivate to embark on an educational roadshow around the country.
Jennifer Hudson, Grammy Award-winner and Mastercard ambassador, will help kick off the initiative in a new Mastercard commercial with her rendition of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”
“I am fortunate to have been influenced and inspired by so many incredible Black female role models as I’ve pursued my dreams, but that’s not always the case for all Black girls and women,” Hudson said. “Entrepreneurship has always been a part of the American Dream and the work that Mastercard is doing to elevate these visible, strong Black Women business owners and highlight the support they’re providing our communities is hugely important to me and to the impact of future generations.”
The commercial premieres on prime-time TV and across digital channels on Feb. 17.
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