Mayor Strickland Commits to Contributing 500 Black Owned Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs to Operation HOPEs 1 Million Black Business and Entrepreneur Initiative in 3 Years 

MEMPHIS, February 18, 2021 – Mayor Jim Strickland and the City of Memphis joins forces with Operation HOPE in support of its 1 Million Black Business and Entrepreneur Initiative (1MBB) aimed at launching 1 Million Black Owned Businesses nationwide by 2030. Mayor Strickland announced his commitment to the initiative at the Virtual HOPE Global Forum in November, and is now taking it one step further by committing to engaging through outreach 500 Black small businesses and entrepreneurs to the 1MBB program over the remaining three years of his term. Operation HOPE will be hosting a virtual event on Friday, February 19th at 1pm CST to celebrate the commitment, and educate the community on how they can get involved. Speakers include John Hope Bryant, Founder and CEO of Operation HOPE, Mayor Jim Strickland, Beverly Robertson, CEO of the Greater Memphis Chamber, Joann Massey, City of Memphis’ Director of Business Diversity & Compliance, Lance Triggs, President of HOPE Program Operations, and more. 

Operation HOPE has deep connections to Memphis. In July 2020, The City of Memphis partnered with Operation Hope to bring the HOPE Inside the Workplace employee financial wellness program to city employees. The program helps employees attain their financial freedom through improvements in FICO score, budgeting, debt management, and customized approaches to savings for life events. Memphis is also home to nine other HOPE Inside locations around the city. 

“Growing our minority and women-owned owned businesses has been a top priority of our administration since coming to office in 2016. For the last several months, we’ve been partnering with Operation HOPE on HOPE Inside with our employees, and it’s time to take it a step further with this new initiative,” said Mayor Jim Strickland. “I’m looking forward to the continued partnership, and equally as important, continuing to do all we can to grow our MWBE community.” 

Today, there are only 2.6 million Black-owned businesses in the U.S., accounting for only 9.5% of the U.S. total. The economic impact of COVID-19 has resulted in a 40% decline in working Black business owners – a far deeper drop than other racial groups. The 1MBB Program aims to bridge this gap by partnering with Shopify to provide a wide range of services for entrepreneurs and small business dreamers, including business plan development, 1:1 small business coaching, technical support, guidance on ways to attract funding, and help with launching the operation. 

“I am honored that Mayor Strickland is taking a hands-on approach to helping Operation HOPE launch 1 Million Black Businesses By 2030.” said John Hope Bryant, Founder and CEO of Operation HOPE. “The City of Memphis has such a deep history surrounding financial and human dignity for Black people in this country, and we’re honored to be able to come back to the city where Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his famous “Mountaintop” address speaking against the economic injustices experienced by the Memphis sanitation workers and create business opportunities for 500 Black small business owners and entrepreneurs.”

For more information on the 1MBB Initiative and the Virtual Event visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/838524990062044

About Operation HOPE, Inc.

Since 1992, Operation HOPE has been moving America from civil rights to “silver rights” with the mission of making free enterprise and capitalism work for the underserved—disrupting poverty for millions of low and moderate-income youth and adults across the nation. Through our community uplift model, HOPE Inside, which received the 2016 Innovator of the Year recognition by American Banker magazine, Operation HOPE has served more than 4 million individuals and directed more than $3.2 billion in economic activity into disenfranchised communities—turning check-cashing customers into banking customers, renters into homeowners, small business dreamers into small business owners, minimum wage workers into living wage consumers, and uncertain disaster victims into financially empowered disaster survivors. Project 5117 is our multi-year four-pronged approach to combating economic inequality that aims to improve financial literacy, increase business role models and business internships for youth in underserved communities, and stabilize the American dream by boosting FICO scores. Operation HOPE recently received its seventh consecutive 4-star charity rating for fiscal management and commitment to transparency and accountability by the prestigious non-profit evaluator, Charity Navigator. For more information: www.OperationHOPE.org. Follow Operation HOPE on Twitter and Facebook @operationhope

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