Comerica Bank pledges $1 million to launch Black-owned business fund

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Ken Harris Courtesy Comerica

Comerica Bank is putting $1 million behind a new initiative to inject capital into Black-owned businesses.

The bank said last week it is making a $1 million commitment over four years to the National Business League as part of a national partnership that will launch the Black Capital Access Program (BCAP), an initiative to assist Black-owned businesses across the country.

The small business program is set to pilot over the next three months and will reach Comerica’s five primary markets of Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan and Texas. The program will become available in all 50 states in 2021.

Curt Farmer Courtesy Comerica

A one-stop online platform for Black-owned businesses, BCAP will offer access to a capital toolkit, a wide variety of technical services, financial planning information, webinars and more.

“Small businesses face myriad 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, chair and CEO, Comerica Inc. and Comerica Bank. “We believe our partnership with the National Business League will become crucial in helping many Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs recover and survive this turbulent time.”

The National Business League promotes legislation and policy to promote the growth of Black businesses while seeking solutions to challenges and business problems in the marketplace. As a nonprofit, nonpartisan and nonsectarian trade organization, the National Business League collaborates with policymakers and CEOs to advance Black communities’ economic interest supported by research, data and evidence, while at the same time holding the public and private accountable, according to Comerica.

“Capital access remains the most important factor limiting the establishment, expansion and growth of Black-owned businesses,” said Ken Harris, president and CEO of the National Business League. “As part of (our) 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.

“Our mission with the launch of the Black Capital Access Program presented by Comerica Bank is to assist Black-owned businesses with their capital needs and resources, and we are thankful to Comerica for its extensive support and national partnership.”

The BCAP aims to ensure Black-owned businesses will benefit from being capitalized, to create and grow sustainable enterprises that are “consistently bankable and investment ready in the digital economy.”

Comerica’s $1 million investment to kickstart the BCAP includes a $150,000 financial contribution and in-kind and technical support valued at $100,000 for four years.

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