Big companies such as Google, Facebook and Netflix have committed to considerable financial support for black-owned businesses as Black Lives Matter gains momentum.
In the wake of the killing of George Floyd by U.S. police, followed by world-wide support for the Black Lives Matter (BLM) campaign, Google has announced a “set of concrete commitments” that are designed to build sustainable equity for Google’s Black+ community, and to make their products and programs more helpful to Black users.
Within Google itself, and extending outwards to “Googlers” everywhere, Google says that it is committing to:
– Improving Black+ representation at senior levels and committing to a goal to improve leadership representation of underrepresented groups by 30 per cent by 2025.
– Doing more to address representation challenges in hiring, retention, and promotion at all levels.
– Working to create a stronger sense of inclusion and belonging for Googlers, particularly the Black+ community.
– Setting up globally-focused anti-racism educational programs that are scalable to all Googlers.
– Working with health providers and other groups to better support the mental and physical health and well-being of the Black+ community.
Economic Opportunity Package
Google says that it is also committing to a $175 million+ economic opportunity package to support Black business owners, start-up founders, job seekers and developers. This new money is in addition to YouTube’s $100 million fund to help Black creators and artists.
The $175 million includes:
– $50 million in financing and grants for small businesses, in the Black community and in partnership with Opportunity Finance Network.
– $100 million in funding for Black-led capital firms, start-ups and organisations supporting Black entrepreneurs.
– $15 million in training to help Black job seekers to improve their skills.
– $10 million+ to help improve the Black community’s access to education, equipment, and economic opportunities as developers.
Facebook has also announced that it will commit $200 million to Black-owned businesses and organisations and has said that it will commit to increasing the representation of people of colour in the company’s leadership positions by 30%. Facebook says that this will include 30% more Black people.
The $200 million commitment will take the form of $25 million going to supporting Black content creators, $75 million as cash grants and ad credits for Black-owned businesses and non-profits serving the Black community, as well as $100 million being spent annually on Black-owned suppliers e.g. marketing agencies and construction companies.
Netflix has announced that it is looking to create long-term opportunities for entertainment creators, youth, and businesses in the black community by donating $5 million to non-profits creating direct opportunities for Black creators, Black youth, and Black-owned businesses. Netflix has also announced that it will be donating $1 million in grants to black youth organisations, matching 200 per cent of its employees’ donations to charitable causes and committing a further $2 million to as yet unnamed benefactors.
Amazon and Microsoft
Meanwhile, Amazon and Microsoft have both come under fire in the press over allegations about their response to recent events. For example, Amazon has been criticised for allegedly standing by its commercial partnerships with US police forces and over past treatment of non-white employee organisers, and Microsoft has been criticised over an alleged leaked email from a mural artist who appears to have been asked by Microsoft and advertising firm McCann to make a BLM mural in New York “while the protests are still relevant.”
What Does This Mean For Your Business?
The shocking murder of George Floyd, the BLM protests, and the toppling of prominent statues around the world appear to have created greater momentum for change. These commitments from some of the big tech companies are a way to ensure that some concrete action happens and that there are some real opportunities, benefits, and changes, although there is still a lot further to go. Now is a time for businesses to reflect on what they could be doing towards creating real equality in the workplace and in creating opportunities in the community for those who are not treated equally purely because of race or colour. Ultimately, this is a much wider challenge for all of us in examining our own attitudes and looking at how we can create a society that you would expect in the 21st century.