The MasterCard’s Strivers Initiative traveled to Atlanta Tuesday to connect with local small business owners, small business associations, and nonprofits.

Their mission seeks to elevate Black female business owners that are overcoming obstacles to maintain and grow their companies.

This event connects local leaders with small businesses based on the needs of each company. While in Atlanta, MasterCard spoke with female entrepreneurs to get an inside look at the state of their small businesses in Metro Atlanta and surrounding areas.

Mastercard is investing millions of dollars into the Fearless Fund, a venture capital fund built by women of color for women of color. MasterCard says the investment will allow Fearless Fund to further expand their portfolio of women of color founded and co-founded companies in the CPG, Food & Beverage, Beauty, Fashion, and Technology sectors.

Through this investment, MasterCard and Fearless Fund launched the Fearless Strivers Grant Contest to provide Black female small business owners across the United States with additional grants and tools to help grow their business.

So far, MasterCard and Fearless Fund have awarded two local Atlanta business owners—Erin Blake of LoveLivePlay and Jasmene Bowdry of SHIFT StyleHouse. Both owners received $10,000.

The Fearless Strivers Grant Contest is still giving money to business owners. For more information on the grant, visit

Arian Simone, President, and CEO of the Fearless Foundation, hosted a virtual event that included nine female entrepreneurs as a part of the MasterCard’s Strivers Initiative.

The audience participated in virtual sessions that included small business start-up stories, words of encouragement, and testimonies from the following individuals: Jacquelyn Rodgers of Greentop Gifts, Jasmine Lewis of Vie Beauty, Adrianne Jackson of Magnolia, Bonika Wilson of Invest Atlanta, Martina Edwards of Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs, Yolanda Owens, Salah Goss, Jaclyn Johnson of Create & Cultivate, and Cheryl Guerin of North America Marketing and Communications.

“We are incredibly grateful to receive this investment from Mastercard and for their continued support in furthering our mission to fund women of color entrepreneurs. Women of color are notoriously underfunded and we need more industry players to follow Mastercard’s example and provide financing to these incredible women of color entrepreneurs to ensure they can maximize their business and find success,” said Arian Simone, Co-Founder & General Partner of Fearless Fund.

MasterCard also announced that it will partner with Greenwood, a Black-and-Brown-owned bank, to bring Greenwood its first financial offerings to market. Two new Greenwood Debit Mastercard products will enable cardholders a digital financial management solution.

“As Greenwood works toward bringing practical products to market this summer, it’s encouraging to know that Mastercard is aligned with our mission of economic empowerment for people of color,” said Ryan Glover, Chairman and Co-Founder of Greenwood.

“Mastercard’s desire to partner with us to produce content that will speak directly to our community while also providing access to the exclusive World Debit program means Greenwood customers will get a best-in-class product and the tools to grow wealth. Both of these benefits map directly to our mission.”

Glover says the net worth of a typical white family is nearly eight times greater than that of a Latino family and ten times greater than that of a Black family. He says this wealth gap is a curable injustice that requires collaboration.

“I hope that Greenwood, and the work that we’re doing, inspires others to create these affinity brands that are laser-focused on nurturing a certain community,” said Ryan Glover, Chairman and Co-Founder of Greenwood.

“I think that there needs to be more Greenwoods that are servicing the African-American and Latinx community. This is a huge problem that I don’t think we can solve on our own.”

Photo: Associated Press

Dawn has ascended through the ranks at the The Atlanta Voice. Starting out as Sports Editor in 2017, Montgomery currently serves as the Chief Brand Officer. Montgomery earned a Bachelor's degree from Oglethorpe...

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