Small business owners across the U.S. were disproportionately impacted by shut-downs prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 40 percent of Black-owned businesses across the U.S. shut down between February and April of 2020, according to a study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

To help small businesses owners recover, MasterCard has launched a number of programs to help, including the Strivers Initiative, a platform to increase the visibility of Black female business owners.

The initiative includes a grant program in partnership with Fearless Fund, a VC fund built by women of color for women of color. The partnership will also promote digital tools Mastercard has built to help small businesses build and bolster their digital presence and reach customers online. 

Mastercard had previously announced a half-billion-dollar commitment to support Black communities over the next five years. That includes products, services, technology and financial support, as well as concentrated investments focusing on Black-owned businesses and providing Black people access to affordable financial tools and capital. Part of this program is focused on helping small businesses move online and provide access to products and services to potential customers. 

Mastercard provides a Small Business Digital Readiness Diagnostic, a free online tool to help entrepreneurs understand their strengths and weaknesses across digital, and the Digital Doors curriculum, which helps ensure businesses have the right tools to maximize their digital presence.

Learn more about this Mastercard program here.