How would you like to call Gwyneth Paltrow, Kristen Bell, or one of Hello Alice’s co-founders your mentor? Only a week ago, Hello Alice awarded our first $10,000 Grant and Mentorship opportunity to Abena Boamah-Acheampong, founder of Hanahana Beauty. Today, we are excited to launch Business for All, which could provide an unparalleled boost for you and your business.
What is it? Business for All is a nationwide movement led by entrepreneurs, celebrities, business support organizations, and corporate executives that will provide the opportunity for mentorship and funding to 100,000 small business owners.
A series of grants will provide up to $50,000 each to numerous small business owners, coupled with mentorship opportunities with some of business’s biggest names, through the Hello Alice platform. Grants will be open to all with a special focus on women, people of color, LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs, military affiliated business owners, and entrepreneurs with disabilities. We have established a grants council to guide the nomination and vetting process with entrepreneur organizations, including Bunker Labs, digitalundivided, and Reno Keoni Franklin, emeritus chairman of the Kashia Band of Pomo Indians. But we support a little self-interest where it’s due: Business for All will also encourage entrepreneurs to nominate their own companies.
“As entrepreneurs ourselves, my co-founder Elizabeth Gore and I know how valuable it is to have a network of people and resources in your corner when trying to turn a small business dream into reality. All businesses start small, and through Business for All, we will provide 100,000 owners with the opportunity to receive grants and mentorship through Hello Alice. I hope every American thanks their favorite small business by nominating them for the funding and mentorship they deserve,” said founder and CEO of Hello Alice, Carolyn Rodz.
All grant applicants will have full access to resources available on helloalice.com, from small business how-to guides and advice to guided video mentorship series and digital support communities. Featured mentors for Business for All include: Carolyn Rodz and Elizabeth Gore, co-founders of Hello Alice; Goop founder Gwyneth Paltrow; Kristen Bell, founder of Hello Bello; Carol’s Daughter founder Lisa Price; Case Foundation CEO Jean Case; Phyllis Newhouse, president and CEO of Xtreme Solutions; global fashion designer and Female Founder Collective’s Rebecca Minkoff; and Zaw Thet, co-founder and CEO of Exer Labs.
By offering these grants, Business for All is addressing the largest barrier to entry entrepreneurs face when starting a small business: access to capital, and the implicit bias in capital decisions that limits opportunities for the New Majority of small business owners. Within the last 10 years, New Majority entrepreneurs have represented more than 50% of new businesses started, creating 4.7 million new jobs. We’re proud of those numbers, but these owners are largely excluded when it comes to funding, receiving only a 2% share of venture capital each year. Only 5.5% of women-owned businesses in the U.S. access capital from banks or other financial institutions compared to 11.4% of male-owned companies.
In addition to providing funding access through the grants program, Business for All will also engage small business owners and policymakers on priority issues critical to small business growth ahead of the 2020 presidential election. Business owners are unusually politically active. In fact, according to the National Small Business Association, 93% of business owners are expected to vote in the upcoming election, and Business for All elevates their voices and needs during this critical year.
Hello Alice will host nonpartisan Business for All listening sessions with small business owners from across the country which will help to create a letter addressed to both presidential candidates later this year. We will also host a round table on Capitol Hill with influential policy makers in order to generate an ongoing dialogue around small business needs ahead of the inauguration of the new Congress in January 2021.
“I believe we should give every small business owner the tools they need to succeed. Business for All provides a combined voice, grants and mentorship to ensure success for every entrepreneur no matter their background,” said Kristen Bell, entrepreneur, actress, and advocate.