In a move to ramp up its support of Black-owned businesses, popular retail giant Target (No. 13 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2020) has announced a plan to spend more than $2 billion over the next four years to identify and support promising Black entrepreneurs, as well as adding products from more than 500 Black-owned brands to store shelves and its online marketplace.
In a statement, Target’s Chief Growth Officer Christina Hennington said, “We have a rich history of working with diverse businesses, but there’s more we can do to spark change across the retail industry, support the Black community and ensure Black guests feel welcomed and represented when they shop at Target.”
“The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and protests across the country have ratcheted up pressure on corporate leaders to advance racial equity and do more than simply cut a check — or risk losing business,” CNBC’s Melissa Repko reported. “The uneven death toll of the coronavirus pandemic and financial toll of the recession also spotlighted the country’s sharp racial disparities with health care and economic opportunity. Floyd was killed in Target’s hometown of Minneapolis, now the site of the murder trial for the police officer who kneeled on Floyd’s neck. One store, located near the site of Floyd’s death, had to be completely rebuilt and some of its other stores were damaged.”
Target’s announcement comes as more and more companies are increasing their commitment to diversity and inclusion, aware that an ever-growing number of consumers — especially Gen-Z individuals in their teens and early 20s — now prefer to spend their dollars with companies that have values aligning with their own beliefs.
According to Repko, Target also plans to “actively seek out advertising firms, suppliers, construction companies and other kinds of businesses that are Black-owned.”
“[Target] will create a program called Forward Founders for early-stage startups led by Black entrepreneurs to help them develop, test and scale products to sell at mass retailers like Target,” Repko reported. “It will be modeled off of Target Accelerators, a program for startups that the retailer uses to foster up-and-coming brands and ultimately, to sell fresh and exclusive products that attract customers and help it differentiate from competitors.”
Prior to Target’s most recent announcement, Repko noted that the company and its foundation had also “previously committed to increasing Black representation in its workforce by 20% over the next three years” and also donated “$10 million to nonprofit organizations focused on addressing barriers for Black communities.”