Chicago, IL—The Empower Project has launched, with the goal of amplifying the voices of Black-owned businesses, according to a press release.

"Our goal is to capitalize on the strengths of our strategic partners and to jointly invest in a brand that we believe has the highest probability of success and can make the biggest positive impact on Black lives," said Steve Gaither, Chief Marketing Officer at C.A. Fortune, who first conceived the idea for the project, alongside William Madden from Whole Brain Consulting, and brought the other partners together.

It was created by a consortium of nine firms to bring greater representation of Black voices into the consumer-packaged goods (CPG) space. These firms—in fields including branding, marketing, communications, food manufacturing, e-commerce, financial strategy, and legal issues—will be investing nearly $700,000 in services to a Black-owned CPG business to help it achieve rapid growth and the opportunity to succeed.

Eligible businesses must be Black-owned or -founded with current annual revenue between $150,000 and $10 million. The business must be able to dedicate time and energy to this project, and must have the ability to cover the hard costs of items including packaging, printing, and distribution.

Applications are being accepted,from now until January 15, 2021. On December 15, 2020, at 11 A.M. CST, there will be akickoff eventto allow applicants to meet the agencies and individuals who will be working with the chosen business.

Five finalists will be chosen and invited to attend a virtual pitch slam on February 16. The winner will be announced on February 26, 2021.

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"The consumer-packaged goods industry is a difficult space for any new company to break into," said Kyle Gardner, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Dobson Avenue Capital Partners. "My core business is focused on supporting underrepresented entrepreneurs and I am eager to not only provide funding to this business, but also to share my business acumen with them to help take them to the next level. I am so grateful to be a part of this project with all of these other powerhouse partners."

The title sponsor of The Empower Project is C.A. Fortune, which offers clients a comprehensive solution including sales management, an outsourced sales accelerator, marketing and branding, insights, retail activation, digital and e-comm services.

The other nine firms partnering with the project are:
  • C.A. Branding
  • C.A. E-Comm
  • Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
  • Dobson Avenue Capital Partners
  • JConnelly
  • 1o8
  • Propeller Industries
  • Whole Brain Consulting