For DonorsFor Applicants

Annual Black Entrepreneurship Grant

Funded by
Picture of the donor
The Impact Fund
1 winner$2,000
Next Application Deadline
Dec 1, 2020
Next Winners Announced
Jan 15, 2021
Education Level
Undergraduate, Graduate
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements

Talent is evenly distributed, but opportunity is not.

Although African-Americans comprise 13.4% of the US population, just 1% of start-ups receiving venture funding have Black founders.

While entrepreneurship is one of the most impactful ways to move communities and the country forward, the pipeline of funded entrepreneurs does not reflect the diversity of our country.

And since the focus of funded start-ups tends to reflect the experience of their founders, lack of representation means blindspots in innovation. Critical, solvable problems go unaddressed. Concurrently, funding often flows in favor of ideas for businesses in saturated markets with less potential for impact and scale.

Solving this problem will take deep dedication across the start-up, tech, and venture capital world. 

As one small part of this, the Annual Black Entrepreneurship Grant will be awarded each year to a Black undergraduate or graduate school entrepreneur who is currently building or who aspires to build a new business.

Current or aspiring Black entrepreneurs across any field or business stage will be considered.

Winners will be selected on the merit of their business idea, and on the impact that additional support would have for them.

Selection Criteria:
Impact, Pragmatism, Curiosity, Drive
Published June 6, 2020
Essay Topic

Please tell us a bit about yourself and your business (or business idea). What inspired you to start it? What do you hope it will achieve?

500–1000 words

Winning Application

Mazey Copeland
Mt Hood Community CollegeVancouver, WA
Five years ago, I saw through the viewfinder of a video camera for the first time. Class projects soon became film festival entries, and I found myself giving a script to my actors, a shooting schedule to my crew, and holding a camera in my hands. Hello, my name is Mazey Copeland. I'm a 19-year-old Video student at Mt. Hood Community College and I'm developing my own production company. Ideas and stories exist in the minds of hundreds of thousands of people. Many don't have the funds to support their ideas, the camera to record their film, and the agent to advertise it. As I work towards my degree, I've learned that even those who have these privileges lose control of their projects once they are distributed. Black actors have been taken off of posters to make the films more "marketable", and scripts are bought and put on shelves to erase competition. Many do not have the resources to pursue this career path, and when they do, it's rarely on their terms. This brought me to start developing my own production company. Gathering a lot of inspiration from companies like Corridor Digital, the main purpose is to be able to develop films and projects separate from Hollywood and large-scale funding. This provides independence for individuals and gives them more ownership over their creative ideas. From then on, I want to encourage others and give them the resources to start their own production company as well, all to help break down the high barrier to entry in the film industry. As we are in the very beginning stages, MarcieProductions is focusing on social media advertising and local small-business spotlights. We've developed three small budgeted short films, and have several clients in our local area we regularly create video content for. We are currently in the planning phase to create scheduled content for our social media pages. We are working on another short film with a larger budget in the next couple of months, and a gaming documentary with access to materials from influential gaming companies. Once we garner more of a following and reach our revenue goals, we are hoping to begin pre-production for a feature-length motion picture, we have been developing and begin the festival screening process. One of the setbacks I have had in developing this company is student debt. While investing in materials and equipment for my company at this stage in development is crucial, I have to allocate my earnings towards living expenses and tuition, as my loans do not cover the entirety of my education. When I'm not creating budget sheets, scheduling clients, and going to school full-time, I'm editing for my own personal clients to cover these residual costs so that I can continue my education. Receiving this grant would not only aid in covering my tuition expenses, it would also allow me to allocate more of my time and earnings towards my company's development. The film industry incredibly risky to enter, with few large production companies developing the vast amount of media we consume. I aspire to be able to provide what this grant could provide for me, opportunities for talented and underprivileged filmmakers to tell their stories. With the development of my company, I aim to level these high barriers and put the control back in the hands of the skilled and talented, rather than the opportune.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Dec 1, 2020. Winners will be announced on Jan 15, 2021.

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