January 18, 2021
Local Black-owned businesses are now eligible to apply for a new program the Philadelphia 76ers created to help them thrive amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The team unveiled the 76ers Buy Black Program on Monday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The program was developed to support Black-owned businesses by providing market consultation, advertising value, educational and developmental programs and other resources.
The program also will provide businesses with access to grant opportunities, assistance accessing Payroll Protection Program loans, networking events and future initiatives put together by the Sixers.
Black-owned businesses in the Philly region average less than a third of the annual sales of white-owned businesses, according to the 76ers.
During the public health crisis, 28% of Black-owned businesses were in industries with the largest total job losses compared to 20% of white-owned businesses. Between February and April last year, 41% of Black-owned businesses had to close compared to just 17% of white-owned businesses.
"It’s important that we acknowledge past policies, such as lending discrimination and segregation, that have kept Black business owners from accessing the investment and customer base that will help them grow and succeed," 76ers Chief Diversity and Impact Officer David Gould said.
"The Buy Black program is about celebrating all that Black Businesses have to offer our region and connecting them with the exposure and resources which they may not have had access to in the past. Leveraging the 76ers brand to help grow local, Black businesses is both a privilege and a responsibility."
Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, each participating business will have its own customized marketing strategy developed in partnership with the Sixers. The businesses will become official team partners. The Sixers will use their platforms and resources to help grow and sustain these entities.
"We know first-hand how important strategic marketing is in building a successful business," Senior Vice President of Marketing Brittanie Boyd said. "Our team of award-winning brand marketing and digital content professionals are eager to help these businesses and provide the resources that are key to their success."
Businesses interested in the program can apply on the team's website. Applications are being accepted through Feb. 2.
Sixers forward Tobias Harris took to Twitter on Monday to share his support for the organization's efforts to assist local Black-owned businesses.
The 76ers Buy Black Program is the latest initiative taken by the franchise to help out local businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Sixers also are featuring a local small business on their social media platforms for each game of the 2020-21 season, giving the businesses an opportunity to connect with millions of potential customers.