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Former Head of Yeezy-Adidas Innovation Lab Launches FCTRY LAb with $6 Million Fundraise

FCTRY LAb is an independent innovation studio that is US-based to avoid the risks and delays of overseas supply chains, thus shrinking product development time from 8-12 months to a short 1-3 months

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Representing One of the Largest Investments in a Black Founder in 2022

LOS ANGELES /PRNewswire/ — FCTRY LAb is a BIPOC-led, LA-based footwear prototyping lab and venture studio aiming to democratize sneaker production and open-source innovation for emerging and established designers and brands of all sizes. FCTRY LAb’s fundraise for their launch on December 15th is one of 2022’s largest investments in a Black Founder.

FCTRY LAb Co-Founders Omar Bailey and Abhishek Som

Founded by Omar Bailey (Former Head of Yeezy-Adidas Innovation Lab) and Abhishek Som (Former Wall Street & Private Equity Executive), FCTRY LAb is an independent innovation studio that is US-based to avoid the risks and delays of overseas supply chains, thus shrinking product development time from 8-12 months to a short 1-3 months. Making high-technology accessible, FCTRY LAb is working to provide equity in an industry where large sneaker corporations often make an overwhelming majority of profits off the creative power of minority designers, influencers and athletes.

This initial $6 Million tranche included a diverse group of venture capital firms, top professional athletes and a myriad of pedigreed angel investors. Investors include the Co-Founder of Tinder (via Time Zero Capital), Co-Founder of WeWork, the West Coast Head of Warburg Pincus, and a consortium of NBA & NFL stars via Chicago based Aurelien Capital. Venture capital investment was led by the LA-based, Pay-Pal-backed Slauson & Co, with additional investment from Relay Ventures, Elysian Park Ventures (the private investment arm of the Los Angeles Dodgers ownership group), Level One Fund & Fog City Capital among others.

Omar Bailey helped transition the gap from cutting edge conceptual design into physically wearable footwear during the $1 Billion revenue growth of Yeezy-Adidas. With over 20 years of global product development and manufacturing practice as a design engineer, his other experiences include developing footwear for entertainers such as Jay-Z and Lady Gaga, athletes such as Karim Benzema and working alongside culturally-impactful brands like SupremeNew Balance, K-Swiss & TimberlandSatyan Gohil, also a footwear prototyping and development veteran at Yeezy-Adidas, has joined FCTRY LAb as Head of Innovation. In a short period of time FCTRY LAb has already designed, prototyped and manufactured multiple lines of collaborative footwear with top design and brand partners and a reigning Super-Bowl winner.

About FCTRY LAb

FCTRY LAb is a footwear innovation lab based in Los Angeles, California, repurposing state of the art technology in additive manufacturing & 3D printing (traditionally used in aerospace and defense industries) with traditional knit and footwear development processes to create a one of a kind, end-to- end facility for footwear design, development and prototyping. The innovation lab is a bridge between product creation and large-scale manufacturing. FCTRY LAb has partnered with Stratasys Ltd. (SSYS:NASDAQ), for use of its advanced 3D printing technology. FCTRY LAb will follow ESG & sustainable development practices. B2B inquiries and more information is available at www.fctrylab.com.

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SOURCE FCTRY LAb

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Business and Finance

Black-Owned Businesses Fuel Economic Impact with Growth and Optimism

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Funding Remains a Top Challenge 

WASHINGTON /PRNewswire/ — Black entrepreneurship is on the rise, benefitting both local communities and the U.S. economy, according to SCORE, a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration. This Black History Month, SCORE is celebrating America’s more than two million Black-owned small businesses and offering support and resources to Black entrepreneurs who want to launch or grow a business.

Black-Owned Businesses
Lenora Ebule, founder of Black- and woman-owned business Bailan Spice, successfully funded and scaled her startup with support from her SCORE mentor.

“As new small business applications continue at a record-setting pace, Black business owners are thriving, but face unique challenges no matter what their business stage. SCORE is here to provide the tools to meet and overcome these challenges on the road to success,” said SCORE CEO Bridget Weston.

In a recent SCORE data report, Black business owners reported a 23% uptick in annual revenue growth – twice as fast as overall U.S. employer-businesses. Black-owned small businesses also added employees at double the rate of all other U.S. businesses. Despite these gains, Black entrepreneurs struggle to find funding, citing difficulty securing loans or a lack of trusted banking relationships.

A free, virtual SCORE webinar, “How To Find Funding Opportunities For Black-Owned Businesses,” on Feb. 7 will discuss financial opportunities available to the Black community. Click here to register or learn more. “The key is to learn what the different options are, where to find them and most importantly, how to qualify,” explains presenter Phyllis Johnson of PKJ Consulting. 

In addition to offering small business workshops and training, SCORE’s nationwide network of expert business mentors can provide Black business owners with critical guidance and connections, customized to the needs of each entrepreneur. Mentoring can take place in-person, virtually or via email and is always free of charge.

“Without my mentor and SCORE, I would not have been able to get the funding I needed to grow,” says Lenora Ebule, SCORE Memphis client and founder of Bailan Spice. “I started with one store with one product and I have gone to an entire range of nine products in more than 30 stores, including Kroger. Working with SCORE has helped me tremendously and I believe it would help any business.”

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Visit SCORE for Black Entrepreneurs to learn more.

About SCORE:
Since its launch nearly 60 years ago, SCORE has helped more than 11 million entrepreneurs start or grow a business. SCORE’s 10,000 volunteers provide free mentoring, workshops and educational services nationwide. Visit SCORE at www.score.org. Follow @SCOREMentors on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. 

Funded [in part] through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. 

SOURCE SCORE

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Business and Finance

FACE teams up with TD to launch the “Propelling Black Entrepreneurship Program” with 50 grants to support Black entrepreneurs

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he program will support Black business owners in the creation of critical business and financial documents to help improve access to financing

MONTREAL /CNW Telbec/ – The Federation of African Canadian Economics (FACE), a nonprofit organization offering the first-of-its-kind Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund has collaborated with TD Bank Group (TD) to deliver its new “Propelling Black Entrepreneurship Program” and offer 50 grants ranging from $2,500 to $5,000 to Black entrepreneurs across Canada. This program has been developed to support Black entrepreneurs in the creation of their business and financial documents, including business plans, financial statements, and tax filings to help improve access to financing

Participants in the program will receive training, tools, best practices, and mentorship opportunities related to managing and presenting financial documents and have access to FACE’s regional partners and corporate service providers, spanning leading financial and consulting firms. Business owners will also have the opportunity to partake in quarterly virtual and/or in-person sessions focused on preparing a strong business case for financing from lenders. The program has been designed to help Black business owners through the different stages of their entrepreneurial journey, so they can successfully access capital and scale their businesses.

FACE teams up with TD to provide 50 grants to support Black entrepreneurs

“There are many challenges for entrepreneurs as they pursue their business ventures, including navigating financial processes and paperwork. These challenges are accentuated for Black entrepreneurs who often also face bias in the financial system,” says Tiffany Callender, Chief Executive Officer of FACE. This program addresses some of these barriers by providing them with tools and advice so they can best manage and present their documents. Our sponsorship by TD helps support these applicants to be able to submit financially strong applications, thereby significantly increasing their chances of securing funding. Moreover, this program is open to all Black business owners interested in applying for loans, even if they have not worked with FACE before.”

“We are extremely proud to support “Propelling Black Entrepreneurship” through the TD Ready Commitment, the Bank’s corporate citizenship platform,” said Alicia Rose, Associate Vice President, Social Impact – Canada, TD Bank Group. “We know the value that entrepreneurs bring to our communities and to our local economies. Through these 50 grants, our aim is to help remove the barriers and potential bias that limit Black entrepreneurs from accessing financing to help fund their ambitions.” 

Since its inauguration in 2021, FACE has raised $160 million in capital, including $130 million from Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), and disbursed $21.7 million, cementing itself as a catalyst for Black generational wealth creation and empowering Black Canadian entrepreneurs.

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The Propelling Black Entrepreneurship program will launch in April 2023, the details for participating in this program will be available on FACE’s website at https://facecoalition.com/

About FACE

The Federation of African Canadian Economics is a coalition of Black-led organizations dedicated to stimulating economic growth and creating generational wealth for Canadians of African Descent. In 2021 FACE was launched to address the needs of Black business owners and entrepreneurs who were economically devastated during the pandemic.

SOURCE The Federation of African Canadian Economics

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The Media Trust Warns of Increased Digital Attacks Targeting Children and Elderly

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2023 outlook reveals growing assault on consumer expectations of digital trust and safety

MCLEAN, Va. (Newswire.com) – The Media Trust, the preeminent leader in digital trust and safety for websites and mobile apps, released a report detailing the harms experienced by consumers through their everyday use of websites and mobile apps. When accessing common online environments — news, entertainment, shopping, travel — children and the elderly were increasingly affected by malware, a 3.7X and 11X growth, respectively, throughout 2022. 

The report CYA 2023: 7 Digital Safety Trends for Uncertain Times highlights malware and ad-quality challenges facing brands, publishers, and platforms as they navigate consumer-loyalty concerns and the economic uncertainties of 2023. From poor security to inappropriate content, the consumer experience is under attack, which threatens monetization channels including commerce and online advertising. 

The report confirms:

  • 4,500+ active attacks targeting millions of consumers each month 
  • 1.3 billion malicious ads blocked on Fortune 1000 websites and apps
  • 2.2X growth in e-skimming attacks since 2020
  • 3X increase in just three months of an attack leveraging a particular corrupted JavaScript library
  • 16X rise in backdoors being installed on devices — personal, corporate, government

“Threat actors have greatly improved their ability to get their malicious wares in front of the most vulnerable consumers online,” explained Chris Olson, CEO of The Media Trust. “Every business with a digital channel — website, app, gaming console — needs to be aware of how these assets are used to target and harm your customers. You cannot simply look the other way and leave children and the elderly to fend for themselves. Your family, friends, and neighbors are all being hunted every time they use the internet.”

An informative, 30-minute webinar is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023. Register for  CYA 2023: 7 Digital Safety Trends Webinar

About The Media Trust: 

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Today’s digital ecosystem relies on The Media Trust to safeguard the consumer experience. We fix the issues that harm your customers, drive data breaches, violate regulations, impede revenue, and tarnish your brand. Acting as your audience, our unique digital safety platform captures their true user experience and stops harmful activity so you can better monetize and govern your digital assets. Since 2005, hundreds of digital businesses have depended on The Media Trust to protect their strategic digital revenue channels. Why not yours? The Media Trust — your partner in digital trust and safety. Learn more at www.mediatrust.com.

Source: The Media Trust

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