— The City of Salisbury is the second US City to commit to 1MBB and pledge support to Black-owned business development through 2030–

SALISBURY, N.C. (Thursday, April 8, 2021) – Today, Salisbury Mayor Karen Alexander, in partnership with other Rowan County business leaders, formally announced a commitment by City Council to support Operation HOPE’s 1 Million Black Businesses Initiative (1MBB). In partnership with Shopify, 1MBB is aimed at giving 1 million Black entrepreneurs and small-business owners the tools and support they need to succeed. 

Operation HOPE, led by Founder, Chairman and CEO, John Hope Bryant, is a nonprofit for-purpose organization that has been working since 1992 to disrupt poverty and empower inclusion for low and moderate-income youth and adults. 

The 1MBB Initiative focuses efforts on development and support of a million Black-owned businesses through 2030 in an attempt to close the wealth gap between white and Black citizens. Rowan County business and educational leaders will support the initiative which provides business plan development, business coaching, ecommerce platforms and marketing and public relations support for business owners. Salisbury is only the second US city to commit support to the program and the smallest partner city based on population. 

“Economic vitality through business development activities across our diverse community is a key focus for us in Salisbury,” said Mayor Alexander. “The 1MBB program provides an opportunity for the Salisbury City Council, along with a coalition of community partners, such as First Horizons Bank, Livingstone College, Rowan Chamber of Commerce Minority Business Council, Rowan County EDC and the Salisbury-Rowan NAACP, to help surround new black businesses to grow and thrive. The City of Salisbury is already working with small businesses to participate in our procurement process for contracts with the City to give small, minority and women-owned business an opportunity to win contracts. This is yet another way to empower business development to happen equitably across our community.”

“I am delighted that Mayor Karen Alexander and the Salisbury City Council have joined forces with Operation HOPE and our new partnership through the 1 Million Black Businesses initiative.” John Hope Bryant, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Operation HOPE goes on to say, “we believe that lasting change happens when we work together through private-public partnerships and put people first. We look forward to the tremendous impact we’ll have in the community. We begin to see new enterprises and small business owners emerge throughout Salisbury in the months and years to come.”

Joining Mayor Alexander and Bryant on the virtual community presentation was Gemale Black, President of the Salisbury-Rowan NAACP; Rod Crider, CEO, Rowan Economic Development Corporation; John Everett, Institutional Advancement and Enrollment Management Director at Hood Theological Seminary and liaison to Salisbury [KB1] Minority Business Council and the Rowan Chamber of Commerce; Livingstone College President Dr. Jimmy Jenkins, and Bryan Jordan, CEO, First Horizon Bank. 

Salisbury City Council’s commitment includes support for 100 Black-owned businesses, per year over the next 10 years through the Rowan County Minority Business Council, strategic inclusion in government procurement processes and other equitable development initiatives. 

The City of Salisbury is located in the heart of the Piedmont region of North Carolina, midway between Charlotte and Greensboro. Salisbury is the county seat of Rowan County, and provides a full range of municipal services, including law enforcement, fire protection, zoning and code enforcement and water and sewer systems. For more information regarding the City of Salisbury and its services and departments, please visit us on the web at www.salisburync.gov. To receive updates regarding local initiatives, meetings, programs and events, please follow us on Twitter at @CitySalisburyNC and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CitySalisburyNC.

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

###