November 16, 2022

Wells Fargo Invests $355K To Support Black Businesses

Financial giant Wells Fargo recently announced that it would be investing $355,000 in a new diversity program, The Inclusivity Project.

The Inclusivity Project

The Inclusivity Project was first launched in 2021 and has since been run by the Northern California Small Business Development Centers (NorCal SBDC).

Initially designed to support Black and African American businesses seriously impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the project has since become a community open to all business types and stages. The project offers free advice, mentoring, workshops, and networking, as well as access to exclusive events. 

The Inclusivity Project has already serviced over 2,000 business owners and entrepreneurs, providing transferable skills to help them embark on their journeys successfully. 

The new funding from Wells Fargo will “help Black chambers work more collaboratively with their members to start and grow businesses,” added Scott Rogalski, associate director of strategic initiatives with NorCal SBDC. 

According to Sacramento Business Journal, the additional funding is a part of Wells Fargo’s broader commitment to helping Black business owners on their entrepreneurial journey. 

“Wells Fargo is proud to invest in the Inclusivity Project to shift systemic and institutional barriers to Black entrepreneurs and small businesses,” said Kären Woodruff, senior vice president of social impact and sustainability at Wells Fargo Bank. 

Wells Fargo’s Turbulent Past

Earlier this year, reports revealed that the company had been more inclined to reject Black homeowners than to accept them. Additionally, the company was found to preferentially approve mortgage applications sent by white applications compared to Black and brown homeowners.

Federal civil rights prosecutors also investigated the company for conducting fake interviews with Black and female job applicants with no intention of offering them a full-time job.

Despite Wells Fargo’s new attempts to rebuild its relationship with the Black community, many find it hard to overlook the scandals that once plagued the comapny’s reputation.

Kumba Kpakima

Kumba Kpakima is a tech reporter at POCIT. A documentary about the knife crime epidemic in the UK got her a nomination for the UK's #30toWatch Young Journalists of the Year.