February 28, 2021
SPERGO and Girl Contracting, Inc., a pair of Black-owned businesses in Philadelphia, have been selected as the initial participants in the 76ers' Buy Black Program to help support and grow minority-owned establishments across the region.
Both companies will become official partners of the Sixers next season, the organization announced Thursday. As part of the collaboration, the franchise will provide both companies with customized marketing strategies that can help each grow.
Among the advertising resources that will be provided include TV and radio spots, email marketing and promotion across the 76ers' digital and social platforms.
SPERGO and Girl Contracting Inc. were selected from a pool of more than 700 applicants for the Buy Black Program, which was rolled out last month to help sustain local Black-owned businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Both companies "stood out as established businesses that are ready to grow," according to the organization's chief diversity and impact officer David Gould. He added that both businesses want to use their work "to inspire, make a difference, and have a positive impact in our communities."
Based in Brewerytown, SPERGO is a designer apparel brand that was started in 2018 by 15-year-old Trey Brown.
“Growing up as a kid in Philadelphia I would always watch the 76ers games, so to be a part of their Buy Black Program as a 15-year-old entrepreneur is a dream come true,” Brown said. “I started SPERGO three years ago and I would never have imagined that I would be officially stamped a 76ers partner by my home basketball team.”
Headquartered in Southwest Philly, Girl Contracting Inc. is a female-managed construction and real estate development company that has been around for 13 years.
“The Buy Black Program provides a pathway to the corporate expertise, resources and support to which Black-owned businesses, such as Girl Contracting, would typically not have access,” Girl Contracting, Inc. President Malhon Sutton said.
“Our official partnership with the Philadelphia 76ers means we can scale our business, but we don’t have to do it alone. The 76ers are a welcomed pillar of support for our Black and Brown communities, which are struggling during these challenging times.”
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.
More local Black-owned businesses who applied for the Buy Black program will be unveiled soon as team partners through two other initiatives, according to the organization.
The 76ers and the Enterprise Center, a local community nonprofit focused on supporting minority-owned companies and entrepreneurs, will offer businesses referrals to a $500,000 grant program for Black and Brown-owned establishments. They will also help support companies with applying and accessing PPP loans.
Six small businesses will also be selected to receive $2,5000 grants from Firstrust Bank and the African American Chamber of Commerce.
The Sixers have also been 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.