By Mefah Joyner, Sondra Kinney, and Christina Parrish, Support Black Businesses Leadership Committee
At TikTok, we value our diverse creator community, and this is especially true for the small business owners who are hustling every day to realize their dreams. We recognize that small business owners are recovering and rebuilding after a year like no other and that Black-owned businesses have been disproportionately impacted. More than half of all Black-owned businesses saw their revenue drop during the pandemic compared to 37% of white-owned businesses.
We are committed to not only reflecting on why these discrepancies exist, but taking action to reverse generations of economic hardship and lift up Black small business owners on our platform. Last year, we launched Support Black Businesses, an online hub where Black entrepreneurs can learn about TikTok's ongoing partnerships and initiatives that drive awareness, support and patronage of their businesses. This hub built upon our broader efforts to promote inclusivity in entrepreneurship, including a $500,000 donation to the Accion Opportunity Fund last summer to provide relief to Black small business owners impacted by COVID-19.
Today we are proud to announce that we are accepting applications for the next cohort of Support Black Businesses! In partnership with Vimeo, Support Black Businesses aims to give Black small business owners critical skills and resources to help them not only rebuild, but grow stronger. The second round of Support Black Businesses builds on the program we launched last year and gives participants tools and resources to better advertise on digital platforms and drive sales.
"TikTok's Support Black Businesses program gave me access to the same marketing strategies used by the largest brands in the world and helped me find fresh inspiration for my content," said Annya Brown, founder of NaturalAnnie Essentials and a participant in the inaugural cohort of Shop Black Businesses. "The best part of the program was interacting with and getting to know the other participants and learning about what they do. It was inspiring and gave us a strong sense of community as we were able to openly discuss our challenges as Black small business owners."
Amplifying Black voices through video
Participants in the program will benefit from $1000 in ad credits, roundtables with TikTok Creators, full access to Vimeo's Business tier tools to create, produce, host, share and stream pro-quality video and hands-on training, including a video creation workshop cohosted with Vimeo.
"Video is the most engaging medium available to businesses large and small to communicate, collaborate and connect," said Harris Beber, CMO at Vimeo. "What we have learned from the pandemic is that using video for your business is no longer a nice to have, it's a need to have. We're proud to partner with TikTok on Support Black Businesses by providing our tools and expertise to help the participants harness the power of video to build their businesses. Vimeo is committed to supporting a diverse and thriving community."
Video is a powerful tool for storytelling. Whether it's a 15-second vertical shot created on a phone or an action-packed scene filmed in HD, video allows us to be in someone else's shoes and amplifies the voice of the person behind the camera. Our goal with Support Black Businesses is to amplify and elevate the voices of the Black community, and we hope these workshops will give business-owners valuable video skills that will help them reach people and thrive.
Supporting Black Entrepreneurs
Support Black Business is also proud to partner with Talent x Opportunity (TxO), an accelerator program led by Andreessen Horowitz. TikTok's "BLXCK" employee resource group led efforts for TikTok to join TxO as a strategic partner and is working to amplify the success of founders TxO by unlocking access to the tools, resources, and network they need to transform their ideas into thriving enterprises.
“TikTok is a vital platform for creators and consumer brands trying to reach new audiences," said Nait Jones who oversees TxO. "We are thrilled to welcome TikTok as a strategic partner on this journey, and look forward to collaborating with them on all the essential work they're doing to support entrepreneurs."
Through the partnership, TikTok executives will dedicate their time, expertise, and resources to talented next-generation leaders, including exclusive access to cutting-edge trainings, marketing opportunities, and in-app creator showcases. As part of this partnership, TxO's entrepreneurs will also be a part of the second cohort of Support Black Business.
"The diversity of our community is what makes TikTok so dynamic and inspiring, and we're committed to supporting and elevating the individuals, businesses, and diverse voices who are driving culture, influence, and inspiration on the platform," said Nick Tran, Head of Global Marketing at TikTok and Executive Sponsor of TikTok's "BLXCK" employee resource group. "We're energized by the opportunity to partner with TxO and empower game-changing entrepreneurs with the tools and resources to help their businesses thrive on TikTok and beyond."
"As a member of TikTok’s BLXCK ERG, I’m thrilled to work at a company that empowers our diverse employee voices," said Hans Malzar, Brand Partnerships Team Lead. "TikTok enables its employees with the opportunity, resources, and recognition needed to create and pursue initiatives we’re passionate about, including uplifting Black businesses and entrepreneurs. Our partnership with TxO speaks to that commitment, and it's exciting to envision all the ways our BLXCK ERG can continue leading impactful programming in the years to come."
Beginning today, Black-owned businesses who meet the eligibility criteria are invited to apply for the next cohort. Finalists will be named in July.
To apply to be part of this program, your business must have the following:
- Less than 100 employees
- Public facing website representing their business
- Offering a product or service
- Current social media presence (does NOT need to have a TikTok account)
- Commit to attend at least 75% of the programming offered