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Mastercard pledges millions to aid Black businesswomen with 'Fearless Fund'

By
Don Johnson
“This is part of our broader work on financial inclusion,” Mastercard executive Michael Froman said Tuesday. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI
“This is part of our broader work on financial inclusion,” Mastercard executive Michael Froman said Tuesday. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

April 20 (UPI) -- Mastercard announced on Tuesday that it plans to spend millions to help Black American businesswomen with the "Fearless Fund," a venture capital project built by women of color.

The Fearless Fund provides financing to companies started by women of color. Other investors in the fund include Bank of America and PayPal.

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The investment announced on Tuesday is part of the company's ongoing efforts to aid businesspersons of color. Last year, Mastercard launched a half-billion-dollar initiative to support Black communities in the United States.

"The significant investment gaps in women-founded companies, which is especially acute for women of color, holds everyone back," Michael Froman, president of strategic growth at Mastercard, said in a statement.

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"We are investing in Fearless Fund and partnering to bring innovative programs to market to help Black women founders get access to the capital and resources they need to achieve their full potential."

Mastercard didn't detail the exact amount of the investment.

The three co-founders of the Fearless Fund are Chief Development Officer Keshia Knight-Pulliam, a former actress who played Rudy Huxtable on the "The Cosby Show," general partner Arian Simone and Chief Operating Officer Ayana Parsons.

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Earlier this year, Mastercard unveiled its Strivers Initiative, which focuses on helping Black female entrepreneurs.

Mastercard on Tuesday also announced a partnership with Greenwood, a financial tech firm that focuses on Black and Latino business owners, to issue debit cards.

"This is part of our broader work on financial inclusion," Froman told CNBC. "We want to bring all the assets of the company to the table, to engage with them, help them succeed."

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