Black founders with a passion for food are in for some great news, just in time for Black History Month.
According to a recent announcement, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and Uber Eats have joined forces to launch a new investment program that will provide growth capital to Black restaurant owners.
“Black-owned restaurants have historically been locked out of economic opportunity, which limits their ability to grow and thrive,” said Julia Paige, Uber’s director of social impact in a news release. “Uber and LISC created the Black Restaurant Fund to help close the resource gap by connecting Black food entrepreneurs to flexible capital to fuel growth and expansion while seeding wealth creation in Black communities.”
The Black Restaurant Fund will uniquely provide investments that don’t need to be paid back.
“We take a different approach to underwriting than many investors do because we can look beyond traditional metrics to consider the real-world potential of these enterprises,” said George Ashton, managing director of LISC Strategic Investments. “It means we can build collaborations and investment products that support their plans for sustainable growth—like this new program with Uber—while at the same time helping owners build a financial track record that can help open doors to conventional investors in the future.”
The program comes nearly three years after the height of the pandemic, a time when Black businesses absorbed the biggest financial shock compared to other groups. Data shows about 58 percent of Black-owned businesses were at risk of financial distress before the pandemic, compared with about 27 percent of white-owned businesses.
Ashton continued: “This program is making an investment in a healthy, equitable future for Black restaurant owners and their employees as well as the communities where they operate,” said, which is overseeing the initiative.
More information on the Black Restaurant Fund can be found at https://www.liscstrategicinvestments.org/uber-black-restaurant-fund.