By Milwaukee Ald. Cavalier Johnson

The recent news that Northwestern Mutual is committed to investing $20 million into companies founded by Black entrepreneurs through its Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures program, and accompanying partnership with gener8tor to launch the Northwestern Mutual Black Founder Ac-celerator, is a win-win for these entrepreneurs and our community.

The benefits to Black entrepreneurs and small business owners are plenty. It has been well documented that racial disparities exist in Milwaukee, and when it comes to venture capital funding the stats are no different. Recent estimates indicate that Black founders receive less than one percent of venture capital funding annually, and this partnership is one step forward in leveling the eco-nomic playing field.

It is also well documented that many small businesses fail to continue operations in the first three to five years. The gener8tor and Northwestern Mutual partnership recognizes that and was detailed enough to incorporate what I’m certain will be a robust mentorship program, and that level of in-formation sharing with others who have been through the ups and downs is surely invaluable.

Communities need a foundation in both education and employment to build off of, and this investment will help African American entrepreneurs have firmer footing to build on moving forward and create sustained success in the process.

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