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Mastercard Addresses Investment Gaps in Businesses Led By Women of Color

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Nearly half of businesses started by women in the past year are minority owned, and yet Black women receive less than 1% of venture capital funding. Complicating matters, only 3% of the people who lead investments at VC firms are Black, according to the National Venture Capital Association.

“The significant investment gaps in women-founded companies, which is especially acute for women of color, holds everyone back,” said Michael Froman, Mastercard president of strategic growth. “The need to narrow this gender and racial disparity is critical in driving forward innovation and fueling inclusive, sustained economic recovery across our country. We are investing in Fearless Fund and partnering to bring innovative programs to market to help Black women founders get access to the capital and resources they need to achieve their full potential.”

The Fearless Fund invests in women of color-led businesses seeking pre-seed, seed level or series A financing. This week, Mastercard announced a multimillion-dollar investment in the fund.

Mastercard said its investment will allow Fearless Fund to grow its portfolio of women of color founded and co-founded companies in the consumer packaged goods, food and beverage, beauty, fashion and technology sectors.

“This multimillion-dollar investment from Mastercard is further proof of their commitment to providing resources in an effort to better serve the hard-working but severely underfunded women of color entrepreneurs who so deserve equal capital distribution,” said Arian Simone, Fearless Fund co-founder and general partner. “We have been working together with Mastercard for almost three years now and look forward to growing this relationship.”

“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.”

Earlier this year, Mastercard announced the Strivers Initiative, a consumer-facing platform to elevate the visibility of Black female business owners overcoming obstacles to maintain and grow their businesses, as role models for their communities and future generations.

“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, Mastercard executive vice president of marketing and communications in North America. “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.”

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