ABOVE: Irvin Ashford, Jr.
Comerica Bank recently announced its $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 access to capital initiative to assist Black businesses across the country.
This innovative 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.
A one-stop online platform for Black-owned businesses, BCAP will offer access to a capital toolkit, wide variety of technical services, financial planning information, webinars and more.
“Small businesses face a myriad of 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, Chairman and CEO, Comerica Incorporated 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 fights for legislation and policy to promote the growth of Black businesses, while aggressively finding solutions to challenges and business problems in the marketplace. As a nonprofit, non-partisan and non-sectarian trade organization, the National Business League collaborates with policy makers 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.
“Capital access remains the most important factor limiting the establishment, expansion and growth of Black-owned businesses,” said Ken L. Harris, Ph.D., President/CEO National Business League, Inc. “As part of the 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 that 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.
“We believe strongly that investing financially as well as connecting our team members to offer a wide range of technical resources will enable the NBL’s Black Capital Access Program to effectively reach and serve businesses in need,” said Irvin Ashford, Jr., Chief Community Officer, Comerica Bank. “We proudly support the 120-year mission of the National Business League and its mission to deliver critical services to Black-owned businesses.”
Comerica’s $1 million investment to kick start the BCAP includes a $150,000 financial contribution and in-kind and technical support valued at $100,000 for four years.
Comerica Bank has been helping small businesses succeed for more than 170 years. Comerica’s small business relationship managers are part of a decision-making team with the local credit authority so they can go to bat for all small businesses and entrepreneurs. Comerica serves the bank’s communities with 435 banking centers throughout its footprint, with several in the Greater Houston area.