By Zac Cornell
The NBA announced a new multi-year partnership with LegalZoom to provide financial grants and support for underrepresented small business founders. The first program in the partnership is the “Fast Break for Small Business” initiative. The program has set aside $3 million for capital and $3 million for services to help support people who have traditionally had more difficulty getting outside support to start their businesses. The program is described in a press release as, “This first-of-its-kind program provides capital and other critical resources small businesses need to operate and grow, changing the game by removing barriers minorities, women, immigrants, and members of the LGBTQ+ community often face.” Former NBA All-Star Grant Hill is an ambassador of the program.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver explained the program’s goals saying, “Our partnership with LegalZoom is a significant extension of our commitment to increasing economic opportunities for historically marginalized communities. Together we will bring meaningful resources to entrepreneurs and directly address many of the challenges facing minority-owned small businesses.”
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses currently employ 47% of the U.S. private sector workforce, and the past year has seen a major increase in small business launches with more than 1.5 million business launches in the third quarter of 2020, more than double than that time frame the year before. However, not all small businesses are launched equally with women and minority founders facing more hurdles for capital, bank loans, and services.
LegalZoom CEO Dan Wernikoff explains the company’s desire to even the playing field,
“Our mission at LegalZoom is to democratize law in ways that help all small business owners thrive. Our commitment to promote social equality and economic inclusion align perfectly with the values of the NBA, WNBA and NBA G League. The ‘Fast Break for Small Business’ program accelerates our ability to support both new and existing small businesses while reducing the endemic inequalities in the financial and legal systems.”
Grant applications for “Fast Break for Small Business” are open now through November 23, 2021 at www.legalzoom.com/fastbreakforsmallbusiness. This is just the first round of grants which will be awarded two times a year for the three years. The grant winners for the first round will be revealed in early 2022.