Business owners, both small & large, are the backbone of this country’s economy and can often times be a driving force behind job creation and innovation. On Tuesday, February 21 Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth officially agreed to partner with The Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs (RICE), to empower Black and brown businesses. 

The crowd inside The Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs (RICE) Tues., Feb. 21, 2023. Photo by Noah Washington/The Atlanta Voice

Mark Jackson, VP at the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, enthusiastically took to the RICE stage during their information session to welcome new stakeholders. The revolutionary partnership will consist of a $950,000 investment over a three-year period and will go towards supporting the the center’s initiatives. 

“Mastercard has had a long history of financial inclusion, and we hold that near and dear, as we build a financially inclusive and sustainable digital economy,”said Jackson. “We want to be digitally enabled, so that we can continue to support the financial needs of these small businesses, and individuals. The Black community is so under-represented that the sustainability of those businesses is not as viable as other businesses. In building generational wealth, small business leads to that.” 

The RICE center is an entrepreneur and innovation generator that serves the Atlanta metro area. With this new partnership, Mastercard will help Atlanta small businesses and their owners expand their reach, gain access to new technologies, and increase operational efficiency.

Burunda Prince, COO of RICE, spoke to this exciting new partnership. “I am elated. This is one more resource for our Black entrepreneurs that we didn’t have before,” Prince said. “It means not only access to financial money that our stakeholders can get, but it also means access to the resources that Mastercard can offer.”

Overall, this new partnership between Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth small business owners marks an exciting development in the world of small business finance. 

“What Mastercard is doing is bringing our assets to the table, be it products, services, partnerships, so that we can complement what our banking partners are doing,” continued Jackson. 

With the new financing options, discounts, and data insights, small businesses will be able to invest in their operations and take advantage of emerging opportunities, like Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth and RICE are providing. With the level of investment, small business owners can confidently take their businesses to the next level.