As some tech companies move on from their pledges to Black entrepreneurs, a few have doubled down on their commitments in major ways. Financial technology and online payment systems company PayPal has renewed its pledge by giving a $1 million contribution to The Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs (RICE) to create a new retail academy in Atlanta.
According to a statement from the company, the PayPal Retail Academy will provide an extensive curriculum of innovative coaching, specialized tools, and valuable resources to help entrepreneurs based in Atlanta. The academy will teach up to 50 business owners non-traditional paths to retail success, global marketing strategies, and innovative ways to navigate supply chain issues. Participating entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to receive grants ranging from $2,500 to $10,000, as well as mentorship from PayPal employees. “Empowering entrepreneurs and helping strengthen small businesses are key to PayPal’s mission to make our financial system more accessible and inclusive,” said Dan Schulman, president and CEO of PayPal. “Through invaluable partnerships with organizations like RICE, we can create greater economic opportunity and build thriving communities.”
RICE’s President and CEO Jay Bailey, along with his team of business partners, will manage and facilitate the formation of the Academy, which is slated to launch in January 2024.
“Beyond education, this partnership symbolizes growth for our entrepreneurial community,” said Bailey. “We recognize the paramount importance of harnessing retail avenues and embracing digital transformation. The PayPal Retail Academy will serve as a conduit for this knowledge, empowering RICE Stakeholders to navigate the complexities of retail with resilience and innovation. Every facet of the Academy is meticulously designed to elevate entrepreneurs to new heights.” According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the participating entrepreneurs will receive MBA-level retail training at the facility. RICE currently supports 360 Black-owned businesses from ideation to scale and is the largest business incubation hub dedicated to providing resources specifically for Black entrepreneurs in the United States.