ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J., June 24, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Throughout history communities of color have been affected by systemic racism and societal injustice. The global pandemic of COVID-19 has further highlighted the ongoing economic, health and social inequities communities of color face. As a brand that aims to empower and uplift women, we recognize that, women of color entrepreneurs and small business owners face specific challenges and lack of access when it comes to starting or sustaining their businesses.
Today, Caress has announced a $1,000,000 investment over the next 2 years to support women of color entrepreneurs through a founding partnership with IFundWomen of Color. IFundWomen of Color (IFWOC), is the leading platform for diverse entrepreneurs to raise capital through crowdfunding, grants, and coaching. Through this partnership these entrepreneurs will receive the support needed to stay open, re-open, and ensure their long-term success. Beginning with a $500,000 immediate relief donation to support 200 women of color entrepreneurs, already in the IFWOC community, with funding and IFWOC group coaching, mentorship, and connections needed to sustain their businesses.
Of the 1,800 new businesses started by women in this country every single day, 89% are founded by a woman of color1. Unfortunately, less than 1% of women of color receive venture funding for new ventures2. Furthermore, 90% of minority and women small business owners are predicted to be denied a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan because financial institutions favor pre-existing customers when distributing the funds3.
"Caress and IFundWomen of Color have a shared belief that every good idea should have the ability to thrive. We're committed to fighting systems of inequity deeply rooted in our society to ensure these entrepreneurs are set up for long term success," said Esi Eggleston Bracey, EVP & COO North American Beauty and Personal Care, Unilever. "It's important that we not only support ideas, but also recognize and work to dismantle the systems that have disenfranchised communities of color, especially the Black community, for too long."
"Caress and IFundWomen of Color have partnered to support our growing community of diverse women entrepreneurs as they navigate building their businesses and bringing their visions to life," said Olivia Owens, General Manager, IFundWomen of Color. "So many in our community of business owners are feeling at risk given the massive impact of systemic racial injustice and disproportionate impact COVID- 19 has had on communities of color. Access to capital and expert coaching are critical to helping them adapt, pivot, and thrive for long-term success."
For more information on the Caress X IFWOC COVID-19 Grant Program visit ifundwomen.com/woc. Follow @Caress on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and IFundWomen on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and TwitterFacebook and Twitter .
Caress®, a global Unilever beauty brand and trusted name for more than 30 years, is known for products that give women gorgeous skin they will want to flaunt. Offering an exceptional variety, Caress® beauty bars and body washes deliver both supreme moisturization and exquisite fragrances so women can have it all. Caress® has been committed to creating products that turn every shower into a fully immersive sensorial experience - moments that are proven to spur creativity. It's what inspires Caress' belief that no great idea should go down the drain. Caress® is committed to helping women, particularly women of color, take their ideas from dreams to reality. Visit www.caress.us for more information and follow @Caress on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter .
About IFundWomen of Color
IFundWomen of Color is the platform for women of color to raise capital through crowdfunding, grants, coaching, and the connections needed to launch and grow successful businesses. This is the go-to funding ecosystem designed specifically for women of color who are early-stage entrepreneurs. IFundWomen launched in 2016 with a mission to bring parity to funding and it is the go-to marketplace for women-owned businesses and the people who want to fund them. Learn more at www.IFundWomen.com and follow on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter @ifundwomen.
About Unilever North America
Unilever is one of the world's leading suppliers of Beauty & Personal Care, Home Care, and Foods & Refreshment products with sales in over 190 countries and reaching 2.5 billion consumers a day. In the United States and Canada, the portfolio includes brand icons such as: Axe, Ben & Jerry's, Breyers, Degree, Dollar Shave Club, Dove, Hellmann's, Klondike, Knorr, Lever 2000, Lipton, Love Beauty and Planet, Magnum, Nexxus, Noxzema, Pond's, Popsicle, Pure Leaf, Q-tips, Seventh Generation, Simple, Sir Kensington's, St. Ives, Suave, Talenti Gelato & Sorbetto, TAZO, TIGI, TRESemmé and Vaseline. All of the preceding brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of the Unilever Group of Companies.
Unilever's Sustainable Living Plan (USLP) underpins the company's strategy and commits to:
- Helping more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being by 2020.
- Halving the environmental impact of our products by 2030.
- Enhancing the livelihoods of millions of people by 2020.
The USLP creates value by driving growth and trust, eliminating costs and reducing risks. The company's sustainable living brands delivered 78% of total growth and 75% of turnover in 2019.
Since 2010 we have been taking action through the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan to help more than a billion people improve their health and well-being, halve our environmental footprint and enhance the livelihoods of millions of people as we grow our business. We have already made significant progress and continue to expand our ambition – most recently committing to ensure 100% of our plastic packaging is fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. While there is still more to do, we are proud to have been recognized in 2018 as sector leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and as the top ranked company in the GlobeScan/SustainAbility Global Corporate Sustainability Leaders survey, for the eighth-consecutive year.
For more information on Unilever U.S. and its brands visit: www.unileverusa.com
For more information on Unilever Canada and its brands visit: www.unilever.ca
For more information on the USLP: www.unilever.com/sustainable-living/
1 American Express. (2019). STATE OF WOMEN-OWNED BUSINESSES REPORT. https://about.americanexpress.com/files/doc_library/file/2019-state-of-women-owned-businesses-report.pdf
2 Fearless Fund Launches $5 Million Dollar VC Fund For Women Of Color Entrepreneurs. (2020). Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/pauleannareid/2020/02/03/fearless-fund-launches-5-million-dollar-vc-fund-for-women-of-color-entrepreneurs/#19277bda6dea
3 Up to 90% of minority and women owners shut out of Paycheck Protection Program, experts fear. (2020). CBS. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/women-minority-business-owners-paycheck-protection-program-loans/