Ten small business owners selected
Progressive Insurance has announced the recipients of its 2023 Driving Small Business Forward grant program. In collaboration with Hello Alice, this initiative aims to support Black entrepreneurs in their small business endeavors.
Each of the 10 selected small business owners has been awarded a $25,000 grant, specifically designated for the purchase of a commercial vehicle to enhance their business operations.
The challenge faced by Black entrepreneurs
According to McKinsey & Company, while 20% of Black Americans start businesses, only 4% of these businesses successfully navigate the initial stages.
Black entrepreneurs often face unique challenges, including difficulties with debt, raising capital, and a lack of supportive relationships within the business community. Recognizing these obstacles, Progressive seeks to provide crucial funding to empower Black entrepreneurs in their pursuit of success, the insurer said.
Supporting Black entrepreneurs
“At Progressive, we celebrate all business owners, yet we understand Black business owners still face unique challenges,” said Karen Bailo, commercial lines president at Progressive Insurance. “For the last two years, the Driving Small Business Forward grant program is one of the ways we’ve been supporting entrepreneurs on their small business journey, and we look forward to seeing how this grant helps these deserving recipients continue their work serving the community.”
The 2023 Driving Small Business Forward grant program has recognized 10 recipients. Their selection was based on strong applications that highlighted the positive influence their businesses have on their local communities. The grand recipients were:
- Derald Gray, owner of DG Visionaries in Indianapolis
- Elizabeth Abunaw, owner of Forty Acres Fresh Market in Chicago
- Theodore Smith, owner of Golfing for Excellence in Washington, D.C.
- Muna Mohamed, owner of Kalsoni in Minneapolis
- Shenicia Barnes, owner of Kidz on Wheelz LLC in Mansfield, Texas
- Sean Morrison, owner of Lets Ryde NC in Raleigh, N.C.
- Carmel Mims, owner of Pet Porter Pals in Pasadena, Calif.
- Robert Randolph, owner of Rob Ran Creative Services in Milwaukee, Wis.
- Dr. Alecia Gabriel and Deirdre Roberson, co-owners of The Lab Drawer in Detroit
- Kamilah Moss, owner of Tidy Pets Pooper Scoopers in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Abunaw, owner of Forty Acres Fresh Market in Chicago, established her business with a vision to address the resource and infrastructure disparities in predominantly Black communities. Through citywide delivery services, pop-up produce markets at community spaces, and a forthcoming brick-and-mortar store, Abunaw aims to provide affordable, healthy food options that are easily accessible to all individuals.
Barnes, owner of Kidz on Wheelz LLC in Mansfield, Texas, developed a door-to-door transportation service for children aged four to 18. This service offers parents a safe and reliable means of transportation for their children, particularly benefiting single parents who may face transportation challenges.
Collaboration with Hello Alice
To administer the grant program, Progressive partnered with Hello Alice, a business accelerator and financial technology organization that assists over a million small businesses in accessing capital. Hello Alice is dedicated to promoting financial equity among small businesses and expresses pride in supporting Black-owned enterprises, recognizing their significance in our economy and the future of the country.
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