Sponsor firms are providing nearly $700,000 in professional services; Applications are now being accepted.
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The Empower Project was created by a consortium of nine firms with the intention of amplifying the voices of Black-owned businesses. Too often, in both the world at large and within the consumer-packaged goods (CPG) space, Black voices are underrepresented, leading to greater inequality and a further widening of the wealth gap. The goal of The Empower Project is to begin eradicating those disparities.
The firms making up The Empower Project are all recognized leaders in their respective fields, which include branding, marketing, communications, food manufacturing, e-commerce, financial strategy, startup investing, financial strategy, data analysis, and legal issues. Together, they will be investing nearly $700,000 in services to a Black-owned CPG business to help it achieve rapid growth and the opportunity to succeed in a highly competitive marketplace. Applications are being accepted now at caempowerproject.org.
"Our goal is to capitalize on the strengths of our strategic partners and to jointly invest in a brand that we believe has the highest probability of success and can make the biggest positive impact on Black lives," said Steve Gaither, Chief Marketing Officer at C.A. Fortune, who first conceived the idea for the project, alongside William Madden from Whole Brain Consulting, and brought the other partners together.
Eligible businesses must be Black-owned or founded with current annual revenue between $150,000 and $10 million. Additionally, the business must also be able to dedicate time and energy to manage this project and have the ability to cover the hard costs of external expenses for items including packaging, printing, and distribution.
"The consumer-packaged goods industry is a difficult space for any new company to break into," said Kyle Gardner, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Dobson Avenue Capital Partners. "My core business is focused on supporting underrepresented entrepreneurs and I am eager to not only provide funding to this business, but also to share my business acumen with them to help take them to the next level. I am so grateful to be a part of this project with all of these other powerhouse partners."
Eligible businesses are invited to apply between now and January 15, 2021. Prior to that deadline, there will be a kickoff event to allow applicants to meet the agencies and individuals who will be working in concert to help the chosen concept reach its fullest potential. The Empower Informational 101 Event will take place on December 15, 2020 at 11 a.m. CST via Hopin.
After careful consideration of all applicants, five finalists will be chosen and invited to attend a virtual pitch slam on February 16, where they will be able to pitch their business venture to the sponsors. The winner will be announced on February 26, 2021.
C.A. Fortune, the private-held, full service-consumer brands agency, is the title sponsor of The Empower Project. They offer their clients a comprehensive solution including sales management, an outsourced sales accelerator, marketing and branding, insights, retail activation, digital and e-comm services, and are eager to host all partners in this initiative.