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McKinsey Announces Its 1B Business Accelerator For Black-Owned Retail Brands In the U.S.

·2 min read

McKinsey, a global management consulting firm, has announced its Next 1B business acceleration program for Black-owned consumer and retail brands.

According to a McKinsey release, the program is eyeing the next Black Unicorn, startups with valuations of a billion dollars or more. The consulting firm reports in the last decade, less than five Black brands have reached the unicorn milestone.

“We looked at this data and said, ‘What role can McKinsey play in jump-starting growth for Black-owned businesses?’” Tabitha Strobel, an engagement manager at McKinsey said in the release.

The Next 1B program will assist Black-owned consumer and retail brands in the U.S. with essential resources to grow. The program offers two options for founders at different stages of growth,

Next 1B Founders is a ten-week program that will use McKinsey’s expertise and insight to deliver practical tools and leadership coaching to help brands below $15 million in revenue and is building a large community of Black businesses and entrepreneurs in retail.

Meanwhile, Next 1B Scalers will support brands with more than $15 million in revenue by providing them with a growth diagnostic, an execution plan and targeted support to ensure their growth. This part of the program debuted earlier this summer and McKinsey plans to expand the program through next year.

“We spoke to over 30 Black founders while designing Next 1B and we heard common themes around lack of access—to capital, to networks and insider knowledge, and channels,” Strobel added in the McKinsey release.

“So, we designed Founders to address these challenges, to share knowledge, build networks, introduce capital partners, and share retailer support and expectations as brands scale.”

Black businesses took a significant hit during the initial days of the COVID-19 pandemic falling by 40%. However many Black men and women used the pandemic to start their own businesses and today Black businesses are more than 30% above pre-pandemic levels. Despite the growth, Black businesses are still struggling to obtain seed money which could become a larger problem with a recession looming and the stock market falling.

One of the businesses McKinsey is helping is Myles Powell, the founder of 8Myles, a brand of comfort gourmet foods. According to Powell, the Next 1B Founders Program has helped him network and find a community of Black entrepreneurs.

“It can be very, very lonely as an entrepreneur. When you can be with people who understand where you are operationally and mentally—it’s the community and camaraderie that makes this special,” Myles said in the release.

In addition to helping Black retailers and consumer brands, McKinsey’s Next 1B program is also bringing together a litany of Black entrepreneurs and giving them the chance to listen and learn from each other and their experiences and possibly collaborate.