Nov 09 2020

Bridging the Gap for Black-Owned Businesses

By Meta Careers
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This post was published before the Facebook company became Meta. For the most recent Meta Careers blog posts, visit our blog homepage.
Up close and personal, the Amplified Unscripted event series brings together Black leaders at the Facebook company who are influencing company culture, product decision, and community direction. With these virtual and interactive events, we provide a platform for honest dialogue about issues that are deeply relevant and impactful to the Black community.
For our ‘Lifting the Voices of Black Businesses, Entrepreneurs and Community’ event, Jason T., Director of Global Supplier Diversity, moderated a discussion with Black leaders and allies including Rich R., Vice President of Small Business Group and Gene A., Vice President of Commerce Business & Operations.
The discussion centered around the work each team is doing to lift up underrepresented businesses, and drive change from the inside. “In our communities, we’ve always valued real talk around real issues. Whether they’re one-on-one or one too many, they’re always authentic. And that was the goal of this event,” Jason says.
Read on for more about what each leader shared.

Building Programs to Support Black-Owned Businesses

"Rich R., Vice President, Small Business Group"
“We all know COVID hit businesses hard, but it hit minority-owned businesses the hardest. To support small businesses owners, we created a grant program, with half of the grants committed to minority-owned businesses. We saw so much demand we were compelled to do more. We announced that we are providing $100 million to the Black community in the United States, which includes businesses, creators and nonprofits.
When we set out to develop these programs, I advocated for more research on the needs of Black and minority-owned businesses than has been done in the past. Now, we are much more aware of our audiences and how to adapt to serve them. Listening, understanding, and building for people is at the heart of what Facebook does. And now, we're becoming better at it.
The move to digital is happening right now, and the great news is we have a bunch of tools to help small businesses establish their presence, connect with their communities, and use their voices. Our goal is to help as many businesses as possible realize their full potential by using online capabilities.” ––Rich R., Vice President, Small Business Group
"Jason T., Director of Global Supplier Diversity"
“When we talk about supporting underrepresented businesses and communities, we have to approach building products and programs in ways that will help address structural inequities. That begins by thinking first about the unique experiences and challenges of Black business owners, entrepreneurs and creators.
I feel fortunate that I get to spend my days talking to entrepreneurs who are my inspiration. I keep telling my team, if we aren’t here for them, who will be? We have a chance to do something that hasn't been done. We have the ability to help minority-owned businesses connect to the massive reach that Facebook has. I’m excited and motivated to be part of that.” —Jason T., Director, Global Supplier Diversity

Driving Progress at Scale

"Gene A., VP, Commerce Business & Operations"
“One of the best things about Facebook is I'm not alone at the table. I've been working in tech for over 20 years, and this is the first place where I have experienced a broad and connected Black community. Earlier in my career, identity never came up in conversations at work. At Facebook that’s not the case. I’m encouraged to openly discuss racial issues and be a leader for change. It can feel overwhelming to hold this responsibility, but I would rather have my voice heard than the opposite. As a leader, I truly believe we can use our voices to drive progress at scale.
We have had several discussions about how we’re going to change the company for the better, and it's been empowering to weigh in and ensure we’re making improvements over time. We’re constantly thinking about how to incorporate racial justice and equity in our planning. And then, how we can build these ideas into our products.
A big part of what we’re doing is creating tools that give businesses the ability to level the playing field. Our biggest challenge is working with communities that have historically not gotten access to the tools, or received training to utilize them, that would help their businesses thrive. My team is building programs to change that. A great example of this is a program called "Elevate" where we invite businesses to get mentoring and training by people working at Facebook. Initiatives like these demonstrate the power and scale of the Facebook community. We can accomplish so much when we all work together.” ––Gene A., VP, Commerce Business & Operations
The Facebook company’s Amplified Unscripted events celebrate both the intersectionality and the diverse cultural richness of multiple communities. Through the amplification of diverse voices, we can celebrate our unique perspectives and help bring the world closer together. You can re-live the experience and check out our other Amplified Unscripted episodes on-demand here.

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