A new coalition effort between four agencies and Black-led venture fund Harlem Capital has pledged to commit $1.5 million biannually in pro bono marketing services to diverse founders.
The Diversity Marketing Consortium (DMC) launched Wednesday with employee experience agency Cheer Partners, influencer agency Social Studies, SourceCode Communications and marketing firm Superbolt committing to offer free services to women and multicultural founders.
According to the consortium, the launch was driven by concerns over the Covid-19 pandemic’s disproportionate impact on women and POC-owned businesses. Between February and April 2020, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the number of Black- and Latino-owned businesses decreased by 41% and 32%, respectively, and the number of women-owned businesses declined by 25%.
The agencies and Harlem Capital aim to help underrepresented business owners immediately through free access to tools like influencer strategy, campaign programming, project launches and creative and content execution. The DMC will also offer consulting on internal growth, covering things like employee engagement, talent discovery and cultural DNA assessment.
“As a Black-led investment firm focused on economically empowering women and minority founders, we are driven by our charge to help underrepresented startup teams thrive,” said Henri Pierre-Jacques, managing partner at Harlem Capital.
The first companies to benefit from the pro bono marketing services will be some of those already within the Harlem Capital portfolio. That includes Black culture media outlet Blavity, femtech brand Aunt Flow Corp., cosmetics brand Beauty Bakerie and other companies ranging from tech and robotics to wellness and healthcare brands.
But new startups will also have an opportunity to apply for DMC’s pro bono marketing directly and through Harlem Capital’s pitch competition.
Greg Mondshein, founder of the Diversity Marketing Consortium and managing partner at SourceCode Communications, said the goal is to “further empower women and minority founders.”
“It’s our duty to do better and be a part of the change to narrow the race and gender gap in the entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Mondshein. “While there is still a lot of work to do as a society to ensure that diverse founders are given more opportunities, the Diversity Marketing Consortium is committed to using our skills and resources to help level the playing field.”
Throughout the spring, similar efforts have launched with the goals of funneling venture capital to diverse founders (the Consider Something Better fund for Black women founders) and of diversifying supply chains at large retailers (the 15 Percent Pledge, which Sephora signed on in June.)
The Diversity Marketing Consortium will renew its $1.5 million commitment to pro bono services every two years.