Author: TeShayla Coates

Available Grants and Programs for Small Businesses

Small business owners understand that success comes after investing time, money, and energy. Various grants and programs are available to help small businesses find success quicker.

Small businesses that have a great idea or noble intention stand a chance at being awarded a grant or selected for a program. Ready to find out more? Blacme shares the following insight to help you determine the best grant or program for your venture.

Choosing an LLC as a Business Structure

When starting a business, entrepreneurs are given a choice of business structures to select. Each option has its own benefits and pitfalls, but a limited liability company (LLC) is one of the most popular choices for small businesses.

As a legal entity, LLCs are easy and affordable to both form and operate. There are several additional benefits to choosing an LLC as your business structure. Here are a few of them;

●      Limited personal liability to protect personal assets

●      Less paperwork and a simple administrative process

●      Tax advantages such as pass-through taxation

●      Ownership flexibility

●      Management flexibility

●      Flexible profit-sharing options

When registering a business, it’s important to meet all legal requirements. These legal requirements can differ from state to state.

Hire a Formation Service

Each state has different legal requirements for starting a business and for forming an LLC. If you want your business to be legally valid, then it needs to meet each of these requirements. Researching the process by yourself can be intimidating, and that’s where a formation service can help.

Rather than hire an expensive lawyer to help dot the i’s and cross the t’s, a formation service offers affordable guidance. A formation service provides independent support for simple, fast, and cost-effective company registration.

Grants and Programs for Small Businesses

Regardless of the industry that you aspire to impact, there will most likely be a grant or program to help. Here are three options to kickstart your research.

Kuvio Impact Grant

Kuvio Creative is a business dedicated to helping other businesses. As a full-service web design and development company, Kuvio Creative has access to valuable digital skills. The organization strives to make a difference by providing entrepreneurs with small business grants and free services.

Applications for the Kuvio Impact Grant open three times a year. The grant, which offers up to 100 hours of free services, is reserved for nonprofits, women-owned businesses, minority-owned businesses, and veteran-owned organizations.

Find out more about the Kuvio Impact Grant here.

4.0 Schools Fellowships

Businesses that strive to improve education in the United States could be eligible for a fellowship from 4.0 Schools. Whether it’s a school, technology tool, or educational service, 4.0 Schools want to hear about it.

The fellowships offer small grants of $600 for business owners who want to put an early-stage idea into action. Larger grants to the value of $10,000 are available for more established businesses in the industry.

4.0 Schools are inspired to support businesses that work to make education more equitable and responsive to real needs.

Find out more about 4.0 Schools Fellowships and the application process here.

Microenterprise Development Program

The Microenterprise Development Program reserves grants for refugees that want to start a business. The grant is also available to support refugees with established businesses.

The grant, valued at $15,000, is offered by the US Department of Health and Human Services. Refugees who are not yet US citizens may participate in the grant program and benefit from the opportunity to grow a profitable business.

Find out more about the Microenterprise Development Program and the application requirements here.

Written by Jim McKinley, www.moneywithjim.org

4 Ways Small Spending Cash Can Make a Big Difference for Social Justice

Money makes an impact. We see this every day when we hear about the millions spent on political campaigns or large donations to foundations and causes. But our pocket change makes an impact, too. Anyone can make a difference by choosing which companies—big or small—we choose to buy products and services from. Even people on a tight budget can make a big impact when they spend their money at companies that emphasize diversity, equity, and inclusion. Here’s how.

Shop local

The best way you can make sure your dollars have a direct impact in your community is to shop at minority-owned businesses in your community. If you aren’t sure where to start, check out apps that essentially serve as a directory for people looking to intentionally shop with locally-owned businesses that are either owned by minorities or support minority and social justice causes. If you are concerned that shopping local comes with higher price tags, look for small businesses in your community who give discounts to veterans, teachers, seniors, and other groups.

Research big box brands

While some companies try to stay neutral, there are many national and international companies stepping forward to do their part to support diversity, equity, and inclusion. For example, Target recently committed $10 million toward the National Urban League and the African American Leadership Forum. Gap Brands, which includes Athleta and Old Navy, pledged a quarter of a million in donations to the NAACP and Embrace Race. For families on tighter budgets, you don’t even have to worry about costs when you use an Old Navy coupon and similar discount offers.

Meal Delivery Services and Food Brands

Millions of American homes receive their dinner in the mail. Meal delivery kits are much more commonly used in today’s busy, modern households. Many people save hundreds each month on food costs and food waste, so if you are already interested in exploring meal delivery services, be sure to check out some that support anti-racism and social justice movements, like Purple Carrot and Thrive Market.

The subscription service most synonymous with home delivery, Blue Apron, gave all of its employees a paid holiday for the U.S. election, removing a huge barrier for some voters to cast their ballots. Many budget-friendly fast-food chains have also committed their support to diversity, equity, and inclusion, like McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and Starbucks.

Support Returning Citizens, Incarcerated Men and Women, and Their Families

Incarceration is a world-wide diversity, equity, and inclusion issue, but especially in the United States. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, black males account for 34 percent of the total male prison population and Hispanic males 24 percent. When you support companies committed to providing jobs and rehabilitation services for formerly incarcerated individuals and their loved ones, you are supporting a path to equality for all.

And this doesn’t just impact people of specific ethnic backgrounds. Did you know what caucasian females comprised 47 percent of the prison population? Spending your dollars at CVS, American Airlines, and Walmart, or donating your gently used clothing and household goods to charities like the Salvation Army, helps men and women from all races find a path forward after incarceration.

With so many big problems facing our country and the world today, trying to help and make a difference can feel very intimidating. Many of us are worried we will get it wrong—say the wrong word or unintentionally act insensitively. But just remember, you can create change no matter how much money you have. All you really need is your heart.

Written by Jim McKinley, www.moneywithjim.org

How Blacme is adapting to Covid-19

We’ve temporarily removed certain items from our offering due to production closures. However, Blacme is still operating and we’re continuing to accept orders. The entire industry is grappling with challenges and we’re seeing delays in our supply chain, including distributors and shipping carriers. Fulfillment and shipping will take longer than usual but your order will reach you! Our fulfillment times are approximately 4 weeks plus shipping time. Your support means a lot to us, especially during this time. Stay safe and take care of yourselves.

Are we having an identity crisis?

Year 2019 marks 400 years since Africans were enslaved in the United States. It’s been 400 years and yet there are still so many underlying issues in the African American community. So many thoughts run through my head. Why do many blacks conform to be accepted? Do we know who we are? How do I identify myself? Have the negative images in the media of blacks affected the way I view myself and the way others view me? Why are we so feared? My conclusion is that there is an identity crisis in the black community. Hear me out. 

I’m sure we can agree that words have power. What does the word black even mean? I won’t even get started of what the n-word means. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary black means heavy, serious, soiled, and total or nearly total absence of light. Dictionary.com says black means being a color that lacks hue and brightness and absorbs light without reflecting any of the rays composing it. Wait. Aren’t these all negative definitions? Dear black people, I ask: Where is your outrage?

Just for fun, let’s look at synonyms and antonyms for black. Synonyms for black are dark, dirty, dingy, sad, depressing, disastrous, sinful, inhuman, and devilish. A few antonyms for black are white, clean, hopeful and cheerful. So why are we called black? Ok. Maybe you don’t identify yourself as being black but rather African American. 

The media portrays our origin, Africa, as a continent of severe poverty, corruption, and disease. The majority of images in the US media of Africa are children with swollen bellies and people living in huts. That’s the image that’s portrayed. How does that relate to how blacks/African Americans view themselves? A continent stricken with poverty, corruption, and disease is where we came from? Wrong! This is totally the Western perspective and disheartening. Here’s some food for thought about Africa. 

  • All of Africa is not corrupt. Remember Nelson Mandela?
  • All of Africa is not unsafe. Every continent, country, and city has sketchy areas that you shouldn’t visit.
  • Everyone in Africa is not poor. Yes, it is an issue in parts of Africa. However, isn’t poverty an issue in every major US city?
  • Africa produces roughly half of the world’s diamonds. 
  • The Kalenjin tribe in Kenya produces the fastest marathon runners in the world today. #Excellence
  • Ethiopia’s economy is growing faster than China’s.
  • The Seychellois are the most educated Africans. Seychelles’ literacy rates (Adult: 92%, Youth: 99%) Zimbabwe is 2nd (Adult: 91.2%, Youth: 99%). The Seychellois have a higher literacy rate than many American cities.

Dear black people, I ask: Where is your outrage? We came from greatness. Africa is rich in culture, and has a wealth of natural resources like oil, platinum, gold, and diamonds. It even has sandy beaches and breathtaking views. Because we live in the United States, we see things from a biased Western view. The misconceptions of Africa are due to misinformation, lack of knowledge, and stereotypes.

Why is so much negativity surrounded by just the color of your skin. The word black itself is negative. Africa is shown in a negative light. Blacks, especially black males, are often portrayed as welfare recipients, criminals, etc in the media. We’re over-represented in depictions of violence. We saw this firsthand during Hurricane Katrina coverage.

Black Americans tend to be underrepresented in U.S. newsrooms. While 7% of newsroom employees are black, 11% of U.S. workers overall are black, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of 2013-2017 American Community Survey data. Again, dear black people, I ask: Where is your outrage? We need more people of color in the newsrooms sharing accurate coverage of African Americans. Inaccurate depictions can affect self-perceptions and lead to diminished self-esteem.

I’m sure we all can agree that change is needed even 400 years after slavery began. That’s where Blacme comes in. I wanted to create a brand that would exude excellence in the black community and shed negative images. The word blacme is derived from black and amce. Acme meaning the point at which someone is best. I wanted to create my own narrative. I, personally, found my identity in Christ. Race aside, I am who God says I am. I was created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). I am righteous and reign as a king in life (Romans 5:17). I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). I have an amazing future (Romans 8:18). I am always triumphant (2 Corinthians 2:14). I am remarkably black. I am blacme and so are you!


TeShayla Coates
Founder and CEO, Blacme

Visit Us On InstagramVisit Us On FacebookVisit Us On Twitter