Target has launched the Bet on Black pitch competition series, which will highlight 12 Black-owned startups in a range of industries. The series, which will premier digitally on Jan. 10, 2022 and on the REVOLT channel on Jan. 11 is part of Target’s Racial Equity, Action and Change (REACH) commitments.
Bet on Black contestants will face a panel of judges including Target Senior Divisional of Merchandising in Apparel & Accessories and former Target Director of Multicultural Merchandise Melanie Gatewood-Hall; music artist T-Pain; costume designer Zerina Akers; and radio personality and record producer DJ Envy. Pernell Cezar, founder of BLK & Bold and founding alum of Target Forward Founders, will serve as a coach for each startup.
Target is providing $500,000 in funding for the startups without requiring any equity stakes, so each company can retain full ownership and control of the business. The retailer also will award four finalists one-on-one meetings with a Target executive to provide additional mentorship as they grow.
“Target is committed to being a brand for all families,” said Maurice Cooper, SVP of Marketing at Target in a statement. “And while we’ve had a long history of partnering with diverse media organizations to reach our guests, we realize that there is more that we can do to show up in ways that inspire and add value to the spaces where our guests enjoy content. I understand the importance of this work personally, because as a Black man and a consumer, I have spent years wanting to see brands that I love focus on what is most important to me and my community.”
Target has made a commitment to invest at least 5% of its annual media budget in Black-owned media, which resulted in the retailer investing four times more with Black-owned media in 2021 than 2020. The company also has doubled the number of Black media companies it partners with and added more internal resources to help further diversify its media spend.