As part of its broader efforts to help improve economic outcomes for those from underserved communities, Facebook has today announced that it has joined Andreessen Horowitz’s Talent x Opportunity Initiative (TxO).
Founded in 2020, the TxO program aims to provide entrepreneurs from underserved communities with opportunities to receive funding, and/or learn skills to help grow their businesses.
Which is a critical area of focus at this time - as explained by Facebook:
"According to the most recent data from Facebook's State of Disruption Annual Report 2021, Black, Latinx and Hispanic founders received approximately 2% of the total $156 billion in funding that went to all founders in 2020. We acknowledge that there are historic inequities that can result in additional barriers to entry for underrepresented founders and small business owners, and we are committed to extending our resources to help them learn the strategic digital marketing skills they need to grow and scale."
For its part in the program, Facebook will look to provide guidance and assistance, including ad credits, and strategic guidance via Facebook Elevate, to provide new pathways for participating businesses.
The initial TxO program has seen seven companies take part in the program, but it's now expected to expand, with the doors opened to more founders to help them build upon their ideas.
As noted, it's the latest in Facebook's broader efforts to provide assistance for underseved communities, which have been hit especially hard by the pandemic and the related mitigation efforts.
Indeed, according to Facebook's State of Small Business Report, businesses in majority-minority neighborhoods have faced poorer business outcomes as a result of COVID-19 shut downs, including a higher closure rate (36% versus 22%) overall.
In response to this, Facebook has announced various funding initiatives for minority communities, including a $40 million grant program for Black-owned businesses, which is part of a $100 million funding pledge for the Black community.
Given the data, help is clearly needed in this respect, and this latest initiative will help Facebook expand its efforts to assist more business owners in need.