A sign outside a San Diego Gas & Electric building. Courtesy of the company

In honor of Jackie Robinson Day, The San Diego Foundation and San Diego Gas & Electric Thursday announced a $42,000 grant to the Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce in support of a new initiative to support Black women entrepreneurs in the region.

“Black women entrepreneurs are among the fastest-growing group of women-owned businesses, but they still face the dual challenges of racial and gender discrimination,” said Tashonda Taylor, SDG&E’s vice president of customer operations.

“We remember #42 for breaking the color barrier in professional baseball, but he also opened the door for greater equity and diversity in business as the first Black vice president of a major American corporation after baseball,” she said. “In his honor, we hope this grant will contribute to greater equity for Black women-owned business in the San Diego region.”

While many Black women continue to make significant strides in the business world, many still face numerous business challenges, such as disproportionately limited access to capital, smaller business networks and insufficient skill development and mentorship opportunities, according to the foundation.

“To realize just, equitable and resilient communities, Black women entrepreneurs can now receive much needed financial support to launch, sustain or scale their businesses,” said Pamela Gray Payton, the foundation’s chief impact and partnerships officer. “This grant and the leadership of the Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce will also help continue to build generational wealth for San Diego’s Black community.”

A separate Black Business Relief Grant Fund was launched last June by the Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce to provide pandemic relief to thousands of San Diego Black business owners.

Supported by the city, SDG&E, The San Diego Foundation, Sony Electronics, the San Diego Padres, Cox Communications and several other individuals and organizations, the fund provided assistance to 200 small Black- owned businesses.

“Our ultimate goal is to develop support and recognize Black-women business owners,” said Donna Deberry, CSDBCC’s president and CEO. “It’s important to give them equitable opportunities to compete in the marketplace.”

Interested applicants can apply on the CSDBCC website — https://sdblackchamber.org/ — starting July 1.

–City News Service

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