The global pandemic that is COVID-19 is impacting organizations in unimaginable ways. Companies are having to adapt and adjust to a fully remote workplace, and leadership is forced to pivot in ways that they could never fathom. Organizations now have to navigate the management of employees through an unprecedented era—and many organizations are suffering because of it. Product-based companies have seen a disruption in their supply chain as many businesses are dependent on China for their supplies. While the long-term effects of the virus are unknown, there has already been noted trends, like a decline in consumer spending. Large and small businesses alike are being hit hard by COVID-19 and in many large companies, CEOs are forfeiting their salary to avoid having to lay off employees. Large companies within the United States may receive financial relief from government, but many small businesses are struggling to stay afloat.
With the uncertainty that many business owners are experiencing right now, Shea Moisture has just announced a $1 million relief fund to help support women entrepreneurs and small business owners of color. Through a long-established program called Community Commerce, SheaMoisture aims to give back to business owners in need, who have been devasted by COVID-19. A portion of the proceeds of each purchase goes to support the education, access, and funding for small business owners of color. With the announcement, SheaMoisture shared how the company will be supporting business owners through this rough time. Funds will be awarded for minority-owned businesses that are creating unique ways to reach their customers and communities. SheaMoisture will also provide educational resources in the form of online learning tools through the Women of Color Businesses E-Lab.
SheaMoisture is encouraging business owners of color to apply now and throughout the month of April. Ten business owners will be selected and awarded $10,000 each. An additional component of the COVID-19 relief will be providing support specifically for Black-owned businesses throughout the month of April. An unfortunate result of COVID-19 is that Black business owners, who already experience unique barriers to access and funding, are now challenged with the additional burden of having to navigate the crisis. Often times communities of color are those hardest hit during recessions and economic downturns. The support that SheaMoisture is providing Black businesses can be the difference between sinking or swimming. To award the relief funds, SheaMoisture plans to partner with We Buy Black. Cara Sabin, the CEO of SheaMoisture’s parent company Sundial, said in a statement: “During this unprecedented time of upheaval, small businesses are being disproportionately affected. For SheaMoisture, which was once a small business, the power of community and entrepreneurship is close to our hearts. Through this fund, we are committed to giving back to the communities that have helped us become who we are.” Sabin provides us with a great example of how we can each support each other through times of difficulty and disaster. Though the negative impacts of COVID-19 are far-reaching, the love and support we can provide each other during these times is far greater.