NAACP Invests ‘Unprecedented’ in Sonoma County Business Resource Portal Hello Alice

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The National Association for the Advancement of People of Color plans to acquire a stake through its “empowerment program” in Hello Alice – a multi-channel platform co-founded by Sonoma County entrepreneur Elizabeth Gore.

Hello Alice is an online resource whose creators say they designed it to help women and other unrepresented groups seek out business opportunities.

He reports that with a community of nearly 500,000 business owners in all 50 states and around the world, the service “is building the nation’s largest owner network while tracking data and trends to increase the rate. of entrepreneurial success “.

The NAACP, founded in 1909 to address civil rights issues, especially among black populations, said that to tackle inequality and foster business opportunities in the black community, it had previously worked with Hello Alice to develop a center Resource for Black-Owned Businesses which includes capital and networking opportunities for Black small business owners across the country. Forty-four percent of small business owners on the Hello Alice platform identify as black business owners, both groups said.

From now on, she will become part owner of Hello Alice through its empowerment programs. He takes a stake in the capital and acquires the voting rights in the company co-founded by Gore and Carolyn Rodz, now CEO of the organization.

“To champion true racial equity, we must tackle the long-standing economic inequalities that have left black communities underfunded and undervalued for centuries,” said NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson, in the ad. “This is why we have taken the unprecedented step of joining as a co-owner of Hello Alice. Our black-owned businesses, which already faced long-standing institutional hurdles to succeed, continue to recover. devastation inflicted on them by the pandemic. “

The nonprofit cited statistics from the US Small Business Administration that there are about 2.6 million black-owned businesses in the country.

“It’s time for the word fairness to take on real meaning in business,” said Elizabeth Gore, co-founder and president of Hello Alice. “Black business owners are the most enterprising of all ethnicities in our country and a critical set of clients for our business. As a platform focused on the New Majority, the NAACP Empowerment Programs share our values ​​to ensure that all small business owners have access to the capital they need to grow. This is the best economic bet we can make.

In August, the Journal reported that the company was named one of Inc. magazine’s top 5,000 companies in terms of revenue growth, placing it at 1,323. The publication reported that Hello Alice’s revenue has jumped 361% since its inception in 2017 to 2020. With 61 employees, split between Houston and Santa Rose, Gore said this summer, as the company does not disclose its revenue, its growth over the past two years. alone was about 1000%.

In June, Hello Alice raised $ 21 million in Series B funding led by QED Investors.

In addition to the money coming in to grow the business, Hello Alice has also set up a Pandemic Investment Program to distribute grants and other alternative funding to small businesses.

The company has already handed out $ 21 million in grants in the past two months, and the goal is to distribute $ 50 million next year, Gore said.

With Thursday’s announcement of NAACP, the QED investment at the start of the year, Hello Alice said its investors include SVB Financial Group, How Woman Invest, Green Book Ventures, Backstage Capital, Harbert Growth Partners, Serena Ventures. , Phyllis Newhouse and Jean Case.

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