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Airbnb and Jamii Announce Initiative to Help Black-Owned Businesses During Holiday Season

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Airbnb recently announced a partnership with discovery platform Jamii that will offer financial help to Black-owned businesses. 

Known as the “See It Through” initiative, the new program- set to be launched during the holiday season in December- will focus on helping UK-based Black-owned businesses specifically. 

A total of £20,000 will be invested in the project, giving four participants £5,000 each to fund their businesses. To partake in the competition, the businesses will have to pitch their businesses to the initiative’s developers. 

For their part, Airbnb will offer the recipients the opportunity to expand their platform by giving them a membership to Airbnb Experiences. With the service, the awarded businesses will have the chance to garner more interest in their business by offering more activities to customers. 

“When we support Black-owned businesses, we support our communities today and for the future,” said the owner of Jamii, Khalia Ismain, in a statement. “The trickle-down effect within employment opportunities and visible representations of those working towards their dreams is one we need to encourage for a truly equitable future for all.”

The launch of the program comes after reports that businesses in the UK are facing a recession. According to CNBC, the Bank of England sent out a warning earlier this month predicting an incoming recession, claiming it’ll be the longest recession on record. About 500,000 jobs are estimated to be affected and businesses will face extra pressure. 

Black-owned businesses are expected to be amongst the businesses most affected. According to research reported by Jamii, in a survey, 50% of Black business owners reported that they don’t believe that they’ll be able to financially withstand a recession. In the study, 70% also reported that their resources have become more expensive and 76% reported that they don’t even have the ability to get necessary resources.

The lack of resources stems in part from the lack of funds that Black-owned businesses receive. According to UK venture capital firm Extend Ventures, only 0.24% of business venture capital funds between 2009 and 2019 went to Black-owned businesses. 

This amounted to financial support for about 38 businesses total during the ten-year period; of these 38 businesses, only one of the owners was a woman. 

“Over the last six years, I’ve had the privilege of listening to and understanding the barriers our community faces in achieving sustained success with their businesses,” said Ismain in a statement. “It’s an ongoing struggle – and it’s one felt even more deeply with the current financial crises.” 

“At Jamii, we see it as our vital role to aid our community where we can,” she said. 

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