Following a promise last year to make Black guests feel more welcome and a commitment to social justice and racial equity, Target has committed to spending more than $2 billion with Black-owned businesses by the end of 2025. The retailer is also pledging to add products across its multi-category assortment from more than 500 Black-owned businesses and engage more Black-owned companies to enhance its retail operations and shopping experience.
“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,” said Christina Hennington, Executive Vice President and Chief Growth Officer, Target. “The bold actions we’re announcing today reflect Target’s ongoing commitment to advance racial equity for the Black community. They also represent significant economic opportunity for hundreds of new Black-owned companies, who we look forward to doing business with for years to come.”
In addition to spending more with Black-owned companies, Target is introducing new resources to help its Black-owned vendors grow and successfully scale their businesses in mass retail. The Forward Founders program builds off Target’s accelerator program that helps entrepreneurs with a portfolio to drive innovation and instigate change. The company is introducing a new program called Forward Founders that will engage Black entrepreneurs earlier in their start-up journey to help them navigate the critical stages of ideation, product development, and scaling for mass retail. With increased access to subject matter experts and educational workshops earlier in the start-up process, Forward Founders is designed to help Black-owned businesses increase their potential for long-term success in retail.
“Make no mistake: Target is a for-profit corporation! If they are willing to commit dollars and resources at this level, they have already forecasted a significant enough ROI to justify the expense. They clearly recognize the potential for long-term exponential value of a Black & Brown consumer across multiple adjacencies—online and with their stores—such that it makes good sense for them to invest at this magnitude. The more products they have available that are either targeted at, or manufactured by, this demographic, the higher the probability Target has of being supported by the Black and Brown community,” said Corey Huggins, READY to BEAUTY founder and Managing Director. “The aspect of this initiative that is most appealing to me—and is truly needed—is the early-stage support. How can brands of color be expected to scale for a mass retailer like a Target when their earliest foundations were not built for this type of scaling?!”
With first-hand experience pitching Black-owned brands to Target and other retailers, Kendra Bracken-Ferguson, a Black digital marketing and brand development specialist, told AP News she believes the spending commitment at Target will make a difference. “Ultimately, Target is creating the pipeline that will fundamentally change how retailers must handle new brands coming into their stores.”
Target established its Racial Equity Action and Change (REACH) committee in summer 2020. The committee, composed of senior leaders from across the company representing a diverse range of perspectives and expertise, guide the retailer’s efforts to engage in the fight to end systemic racism in the US and drive lasting impact for the Black community.
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