African American business owners face many challenges when it comes to successfully launching and expanding their businesses, but Credit Suisse Entrepreneurs Circle has found a way to help a small group of businesses overcome those obstacles.
The multinational financial services company knows a lot about creating a successful business and its new Entrepreneurs Circle program is going to help just over a dozen Black entrepreneurs take their businesses to the next level.
The men and women in the program have already garnered much success in their respective global industries but Credit Suisse explained that at some point any entrepreneur is going to need help with the “three c’s” – capital, curriculum and community.
These are the three c’s that many Black entrepreneurs struggle with due to racial biases in the financial industry.
“Data clearly shows that African-American business owners are underrepresented among all business owners and are generally underserved by large, global financial institutions,” said Pamela Thomas-Graham, Credit Suisse’s Chief Marketing and Talent Officer and Head of New Markets. “One of our goals is to begin to change that.”
Female and Black business owners receive loans for their companies 25 percent less frequently than their white, male counterparts.
Even when they are able to obtain a loan, they are often much smaller and come with higher interest rates.
Entrepreneurs Circle members, however, won’t have to deal with such frustrations.
Members will be offered access to unsecured debt capital from a dedicated loan portfolio with prices at competitive rates, New Republic reported.
The benefits won’t stop there.
The Entrepreneurs Circle will also address the need for a greater sense of community between Black business owners, which is why they decided to keep the group relatively small.
By keeping the program at an intimate size, Credit Suisse hopes to not only provide the business owners with financial assistance but they also hope to offer personal advice and help form bonds with all the entrepreneurs.
“We are focused on helping each member grow their businesses and make a lasting impact, which is only possible if we develop deep and meaningful relationships with them – not a one-off financing relationship,” Thomas-Graham explained. “The curriculum aspect of our program really underscores this, since we are offering impartial expertise on a consistent basis.”
It’s the type of expertise that even the most successful Black stars are seeking, including award-winning crooner John Legend, who is one of the program’s members.
Thomas-Graham explained that when it comes to expanding business ventures an entrepreneur will need more than fame to assure their success.
“You can be famous in one milieu and still face challenges crossing over into another,” she said. “Fame can surely improve your access to capital. But capital is a necessary but not sufficient condition for success. You need more than that, which is why our program has three C’s, not one.”
If the program is successful it could truly prove to be a revolutionary way to help more Black entrepreneurs deal with race-specific obstacles that come with growing their businesses.
The Entrepreneurs Circle isn’t a philanthropic endeavor; it’s a business move on Credit Suisse’s behalf that will happen to address a larger social issue as well.
The program is a way for the financial company to get even more clients and hopefully even more ethically diverse ones.
“The entrepreneurs we spoke with wanted to understand what was in the program for Credit Suisse – what our motives were – and we have been transparent about that,” Thomas-Graham added. “We’re committing to accelerating wealth creation in the African-American community, and we think working with talented entrepreneurs is an effective way to do that. We also want to grow our market share in the community, and this program will help us achieve that goal, too.”