Kroger Celebrates Small Business Week and Offers Retail Partnership Guidebook to Advance Supplier Inclusion

Retailer achieved $4.1 billion in diverse supplier spend in 2020

The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) announced notable progress and new initiatives – including the launch of its Small Business Resource Guide – as part of its Framework for Action: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion plan, featuring steps developed in collaboration with associates and leaders to accelerate and promote greater change in the workplace and in the communities the organization serves.

“In 2020, Kroger achieved $4.1 billion in diverse supplier spend, representing an increase of 21% versus a year ago and build on our commitment to reach $10 billion in diverse supplier spend by 2030. We remain committed to doing the work to advance our longstanding and nationally recognized supplier inclusion program, reflecting partnerships with entrepreneurs of color, women, and veterans as well as companies founded by the LGBTQ+ community and business operators with intellectual and physical disabilities,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and CEO. “Greater racial, gender, health, and wealth equity will drive true and long-lasting change and better outcomes in our country. And as America’s grocer, we’re honored to play a role in driving this change as an employer, grocery provider, and community partner.”

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Bay Area Chef Launches Black Culinary Collective

The West Oakland collective offers community empowerment, engagement, and mentorship for emerging Black culinary entrepreneurs

In partnership with the Oakland Black Business Fund (OBBF) and Oakstop Alliance, Bay Area business owner Reign Free has launched the Black Culinary Collective to provide a creative, collaborative, and nurturing environment for Black-owned food and beverage producers. In addition to access to a fully-equipped commercial kitchen, the Collective offers members business consultation and mentorship services, as well as opportunities for financing through the Oakland Black Business Fund’s network.

The Black Culinary Collective is the expansion of Free’s vision to impact her community using her experience and expertise. An Ohio native, Free relocated to Oakland where she launched a successful one-woman catering business, The Red Door Catering (TRD). Established in 2006, TRD has grown into a multi-million-dollar company serving clients like the Obama Foundation, AfroTech, Facebook, Louis Vuitton, the Super Bowl, and Blue Shield of California. In 2020, TRD partnered with the Eat. Play. Learn Foundation, World Central Kitchen, and Great Plates to serve the community during COVID-19. In April 2021, Free hosted a roundtable welcoming Vice President Kamala Harris, Bay Area politicians, and small business owners to her kitchen to discuss their experience during the pandemic and the impact of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) in aiding small businesses.

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Barefoot Awards $50,000 in Grants to Black Female Entrepreneurs through its #WeStanForHer Campaign

After receiving a record number of applications, Barefoot is pleased to announce the five new recipients of the 2021 New Voices + Barefoot #WeStanForHer Grants. The #WeStanForHer campaign celebrates and supports Black women entrepreneurs in order to drive toward economic equity for the Black community. The grants, awarded in partnership with New Voices Foundation, celebrate, recognize, and uplift Black women-owned businesses and their founders’ unique journeys.

Each 2021 grant recipient will receive $10,000 to help develop their businesses and support their entrepreneurial spirit. The grantees will also receive business coaching and mentorship from the New Voices Foundation to further their business endeavors. New this year, Barefoot will also amplify the 2021 grantees’ businesses by using its own advertising platforms and resources to bring awareness to these companies and brands.

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Hennessy Announces $1MM Acceleration Fund to Champion Next Generation of Black Entrepreneurs


New “Never Stop Never Settle Society” Debuts During the 52nd NAACP Image Awards on BET with UNINTERRUPTED “Dear Destiny” Creative Featuring Grammy Award Winning Recording Artist Nas

Hennessy, the world’s best-selling cognac, today unveils the “Never Stop Never Settle Society,” a comprehensive growth accelerator co-created with the Marcus Graham Project (MGP) to ensure a more equitable landscape for Black entrepreneurship. To introduce the initiative, new “Dear Destiny” creative produced by UNINTERRUPTED and featuring hip-hop legend Nas debuted on March 27th during the 52nd NAACP Image Awards on BET, placing the spotlight on the legacy of Black Wall Street.

“The ‘Never Stop Never Settle Society’ builds on Hennessy’s long-standing commitment to Black communities and ongoing mission to champion cultural diversity by pushing the limits of potential for Black entrepreneurs,” says Jasmin Allen, Senior Vice President, Hennessy US. “We aim to expand on that legacy in the most impactful and meaningful ways by providing access to capital and resources to those demonstrating the ability to reshape Black communities through social impact.”

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BTB Spotlight: Mikas of Social B in Lisbon, Portugal

Mikas possesses this quiet energy of a wise man with the spirit of a creative artist. The Mozambique native arrived in Portugal in his youth at the age of 18. His signature style includes a fedora and a button-down shirt made from a colorful Mozambican fabric called capulana.

He wears many hats literally and figuratively. He is an artist, a sculptor, a purveyor of good vibes and good taste. He’s owned and managed over a dozen of Lisbon’s premier restaurants, a record store, shops, and rooftop bars in Greater Lisbon. He’s owned Atira-te Ao, Bicaense, WIP (Work In Progress), Clube Ferroviário, A Tabacaria, Castelo do São Jorge, Velho Senhora and many more.  He’s hosted Massive Attack and Thievery Corporation for live DJ sets.

Social B is a discreet bar in the Cais do Sodré neighborhood on Rua da Boavista and boasts an eclectic menu of African and Portuguese cuisine prepared by Chef Zola. The speakeasy worthy cocktails are handcrafted by bartender Ismael. Ever reticent, Mikas was candid and shared a glimpse of his over two decades of business expertise with Cuisine Noir. 

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