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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A national initiative kicks off right here in Memphis with the goal of launching one million Black-owned businesses across the United States by 2030. The initiative is called 1MBB.

The intiative allows aspiring and even existing business owners the oppurtunity to take advantage of a parnterhip between Operation HOPE and Shopify, an ecommerce platform. This includes the opportunity to create or grow an ecommerce platform through Shopify free for 120 days.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland was one of the first mayors to make a committment to support Opeation HOPE’s initiative several months ago. Now, he’s gone a step further saying his administration will help launch 500 small businesses over the next three years of his term.

Recent statistics show that in 2021 there are only 2.6 million Black-owned businesses in the nation, accounting for 9.5 percent of the total. In Memphis, that number is even lower.

“When you add up all the business transactions in Memphis, not just by city government but by all of us, only one percent is transacted with black-owned businesses,” said Strickland during an interview with WREG. “In a city that is 65 percent African American that’s not fair and it’s also not good for the city, so we’ve got to grow that number.”

Small businesses are the backbone of our city and we have to build Black wealth, he added.

“I am honored that Mayor Strickland is taking a hands-on approach to helping Operation HOPE launch 1 Million Black Businesses By 2030.” said John Hope Bryant, Founder and CEO of Operation HOPE. “The City of Memphis has such a deep history surrounding financial and human dignity for Black people in this country, and we’re honored to be able to come back to the city where Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his famous “Mountaintop” address speaking against the economic injustices experienced by the Memphis sanitation workers, and create business opportunities for 500 Black small business owners and entrepreneurs.”

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