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Why ‘New Beginnings: Make It Count’ program winners are proud of Jack Daniel’s

Jack Daniel’s winners are proud of the corporations’ dedication

Jack Daniel’s puts its money where its mouth is.

The corporation gave grants to small Black businesses as part of its “New Beginnings: Make It Count” program. Two of the program’s 2021 winners, Grant Blvd’s Kimberly McGlonn, based out of Philadelphia, and Tagg Magazine‘s Eboné F. Bell, based out of Washington, D.C., recently spoke to rolling out about the experience.

At what point of your journey did you get passionate about entrepreneurship?

McGlonn: My parents were small business owners, they experimented with that, so I grew up as a little kid volunteering. My sisters and I volunteered in their restaurants, so they really cared a lot about figuring out how to get Black folks on the north side of Milwaukee just easier access to fresher food. I think that was always in the peripheral of my thinking about how I could show up for Black folks in particular.

Bell:  I think I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit. When I look back at things and started a group for queer people of color when I was at the University of Maryland, and held events for LGBTQ people because I wasn’t seeing it.

When I don’t see something, I want to be a part of the solution instead of part of the problem.

How pivotal is it to receive corporate support from somewhere like Jack Daniel’s?

McGlonn:  I think what Jack Daniel’s has done, and it continues to do, is continue this commitment they’ve made to make this particular kind of investment. What large corporations have an opportunity to invest in is creating some of that momentum shifts in moments where small businesses, in particular, are really trying to figure out how to hold on to their footing,

Bell: I couldn’t have agreed more. What I love about Jack Daniel’s is what they’ve done is that they’re intentional. I would say it’s one thing to have good intentions, and it’s another to be intentional.

I’ve shared this stat probably a billion times, but I think it’s important to say that during the pandemic, out of 1.1 million businesses, 41% percent of Black-owned businesses had to shut their doors compared to 17% of their White counterparts. It’s statistically known that Black-owned businesses get less venture. Capital investments, and even support. If you’re a Black woman in business, it’s like, forget about it. It makes like 2% of that number, which is absolutely ridiculous.

I say this because I always talk about where you can make a difference, even just locally. I love that Jack Daniel’s is like, “I see this issue. I see this problem, and we want to do something about it.”

How has support been for Black business owners in 2022 compared to the awakening of 2020?

McGlonn: This is another reason why I’m here with excitement about Jack Daniel’s long-term commitment. There was a lot of public positioning by corporations in 2020, but Jack Daniel’s is still here and still doing the work. One of the things I think has fallen off with other corporations is the commitment to making financial sacrifices. A $10 million commitment is one thing, but for a corporation that makes a billion dollars in profit, is that really a significant contribution to a community that helps up your business?

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