Clear Vision Impact Fund to distribute $ 100 million in loans to black businesses
As Black and brown business owners across the country continue to face the lingering effects of the pandemic, several initiatives have been created to provide relief. Among them is an effort led by the full-service investment banking and financial services firm. Siebert Williams Shank & Co.
The racial barriers faced by entrepreneurs of color have been exacerbated by the pandemic. Research revealed in the early cycles of the Paycheck Protection Program, although black-owned businesses were hit the hardest, they received fewer loans. CNBC reported Amid the public health crisis, 41% of black-owned businesses closed between February and April 2020.
Aware of the staggering statistics and racial inequalities, Siebert Williams Shank & Co. wanted to develop a solution that would prevent further closures. The company – which has been recognized as one of the leading investment firms run by women and led by women – has unveiled an initiative dubbed the Clear Vision Impact Fund. Through this fund, which was launched in August 2020, the company aims to provide more than $ 250 million in loans to small businesses run by Blacks and Maroons that employ and train people of color and support underserved communities. . The fund raised more than $ 100 million in capital commitments, closing its first round with backing from investors such as Microsoft Corporation, eBay, Comcast Corporation, Constellation Brands and Apple. The pledges are part of larger efforts by these companies that focus on racial equity.
Christopher J. Williams, Chairman of Siebert Williams Shank & Co., said the fund will help reverse the alarming trend surrounding closures of Black and Maroon owned businesses by providing economic resources. “The Siebert Williams Shank and Clear Vision Impact Fund team members are pleased to have received the support and trust of these leading corporate partners who made this important mission possible,” he said in a statement. “We look forward to improving the economic outlook for the diverse members of the community who will benefit from the economic growth made possible by this critically important investment initiative.” The company is expected to begin distributing the loans soon.
Amid the pandemic, businesses, organizations and individuals have stepped up to support entrepreneurs in need. Last August, NBA legend and mogul Earvin “Magic” Johnson associates with Carver Federal Savings Bank and MBE Partners for the creation of a paycheck protection program designed for minority and women owned businesses.