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Mastercard Announces Incentives For Black Businesses During TWG2022

Bernadine Birdsong, at podium, owner of Michael's Steaks and Seafood in Birmingham's Southside community with Mayor Randall Woodfin, to her left, and area business leaders. (Ryan Michaels, The Birmingham Times).

By Ryan Michaels

The Birmingham Times

A new incentive, created through the partnership between the Birmingham Business Resource Center (BBRC) and Mastercard, to spend at Black-owned businesses during The World Games (TWG2022) was announced Thursday at Kelly Ingram Park.

Mastercard will offer cardholders 20 percent cash back, up to $50, each time they use their Mastercard to spend $20 or more at participating businesses in Birmingham from July 7-July 17 during TWG2022.

Additional information can be found here

Bob Dickerson, BBRC’s executive director, applauded Mastercard “for what it has done and continues to do for small businesses in our community,” especially as the world comes to Birmingham in July.

“These are exciting times in Birmingham as we prepare to serve as hosts for people from around the world. The BBRC’s staff is elated to have the opportunity to ensure that opportunities to benefit from the World Games are shared with our local Black owned businesses,” Dickerson said, in a statement released after the announcement.

This latest effort between Mastercard and Birmingham is part of a larger partnership between the two. Last year, the pair launched the #BuyBlackBham campaign to incentivize spending with Black businesses in the city.

Mayor Randall Woodfin said the city’s minority-owned business community, “the lifeblood” of the city’s economy, was hit the hardest by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

This effort is designed to encourage people to buy from local Black-owned businesses “that have been on the ground making a significant impact and providing services for their customers and or constituents,” the mayor said.

Salah Goss, senior vice president of the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, said the company’s commitment to Birmingham is “constant,” “deep” and “long-lasting.”

“We’re just so thrilled to be here, to keep coming here, heat or not, will not keep us away…and we’re happy that we’re seeing some early fruits even now,” Goss said.

LaToya Jolly, owner of Jolly Cakes & Treats, said she was appreciative of the work that the BBRC, Mastercard, the city and others are doing and spoke to the importance supporting minority Black businesses. “You’re not only giving back to your community but also helping to close the wealth gap in our community,” Jolly said.

In addition to the new incentive, Bernadine Birdsong, owner of Michael’s Steaks and Seafood in Birmingham’s Southside community, received a $10,000 grant from Mastercard and the Fearless Fund, an Atlanta-based venture capital firm founded by women of color.

Birdsong said she was “happy and proud to be able to stand here as the only woman-owned, black-owned steakhouse, fine dining and rooftop restaurant in the city of Birmingham and probably in the state.”

Arian Simone, president and CEO of the Fearless Fund, said women of color are “the most founded entrepreneurial demographic” but also the least funded. “We need more Black and Brown check cutters if we want more Black and Brown checks cut,” Simone said.

Updated at 8:46 p.m. on 6/26/2022 to correct the link.