Illustration for article titled SheaMoisture Just Announced a $1 Million Fund to Support Women of Color Entrepreneurs Affected by the COVID-19 Crisis
Photo: Robin Marchant (Getty Images)

Shea Moisture’s business model was built on the concept of “Community Commerce.” Now, in the wake of the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus outbreak, the personal care brand is once again making good on its promise to bring commerce to the community, announcing on Wednesday morning a one million dollar fund “to support women of color entrepreneurs and small businesses impacted by COVID-19.”

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As a press release from the brand explained:

The fund is driven by the brand’s long-established Community Commerce business model and the core belief that commerce and reinvesting in communities the brand serves creates economic opportunities and economic independence. The brand has always worked to empower women, transform communities and support purpose-driven businesses. Now more than ever, SheaMoisture is committed to this mission.

The grant and supportive measures will highlight the power of small businesses and how they help communities, while also minimizing the financial disruptions many are experiencing from the global outbreak.

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Starting today, April 1, influencers (like us!) began spreading the word about SheaMoisture’s newest effort, along with information on how to apply for the initial $100,000 worth of grants, which will be awarded to 10 businesses in need of support. “All minority small business owners and entrepreneurs of color (including restaurants, hospitality, grooming, entertainers, wellness instructors, etc.) who have the ability to convene communities online for good, or distribute goods door-to-door (or via e-commerce) are encouraged to apply,” says the brand, which stipulates that “business owners must demonstrate how the award will be used to cover their costs and assist others.”

For this initiative, SheaMoisture has partnered with We Buy Black, the largest marketplace for black-owned businesses to award relief funds through April. “The partnership will be branded the ‘Community Commerce Online Marketplace’ on SheaMoisture’s Instagram account to allow the brand’s community to shop and support those businesses,” the brand tells us.

But there’s more: to supplement the funding, SheaMoisture has created The Women of Color Businesses E-Lab, a virtual series platform “providing access to resources, mentorship, and advice on how to prepare for the economic downturn and how to plan for the recovery.” It will feature speakers from Sundial Brands, Unilever and its business community. “Once a woman of color entrepreneur completes the education series, she will be eligible to participate in a virtual competition to fund their economic recovery business plan,” says the brand, which has long been invested in the development of women-led businesses, and plans to stand by them during this crisis.

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“During this unprecedented time of upheaval, small businesses are being disproportionately affected,” says Cara Sabin, who is leading the effort as CEO of SheaMoisture’s parent company, Sundial Brands. “For SheaMoisture, which was once a small business, the power of community and entrepreneurship is close to our hearts,” she adds. “Through this fund, we are committed to giving back to the communities that have helped us become who we are.”

Maiysha Kai is Managing Editor of The Glow Up, an avid eyeshadow enthusiast and always her own muse. Nuance is her superpower.

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