Target's latest update seems to indicate positive movement.
Target has released an update and breakdown on its commitment to invest $2 billion in Black-owned businesses and has announced a fund designed to "uplift diverse voices."
As outlined in the new post on "A Bullseye View," the corporation pledged to grow the number of Black-owned brands both in-store and online and spend more with Black-owned suppliers to "build new resources for Black entrepreneurs" in April 2021. Target says its on track to reach the $2 billion by 2025 as originally outlined.
"Compared to 2020, we’ve increased the amount of money we’ve spent with Black-owned companies and suppliers by more than 50%, and we’ve doubled the number of Black-owned brands across our assortment to more than 100," the post reads. "And our support extends beyond getting more Black brands on our shelves: We also launched Forward Founders, Target’s new accelerator program designed to help early-stage Black-owned and diverse businesses increase their potential to be the next wave of wealth-building companies."
The update includes an interactive infographic filled with statistics on Target's goals. It's worth checking out, but here are the main takeaways:
- A 50 percent increase in Target's investments in Black-owned companies and suppliers since 2020
- More than 30 Black entrepreneurs supported through the Forward Founders program
- 2,000 underrepresented entrepreneurs have had access to free resources through the virtual Forward Founders program
- More than 100 Black-owned brands now available at Target across every major category
- A 65 percent increase in Black-owned beauty brands at Target over the past year (the corporation says it "leads the industry in this space"
- 50 Black-owned brands that will be in Target's food and beverage assortment by the end of the year
- More than 200 books from Black authors added to the company's assortment over the last year
New Media Fund
Target also announced the Roundel Media Fund. Designed to "offset the cost of marketing programs at Target," the fund is planned to award more than $25 million in media to BIPOC brands by 2025. Target says the fund will allow BIPOC businesses to tap into paid media through Roundel (formerly Target Media Network) with a highly reduced cost — $5,000 as instead of $50,000. BIPOC-owned businesses can apply for the Roundel Media Fund here.
Now, for a bit of editorial input. Yes, these numbers are a positive change. Target does seem to be taking steps to increase its support and amplification of Black-owned businesses. But I think the usual grain of corporate PR salt needs to be taken here.
Percentages in particular can be used to easily sugarcoat statistics. A 50 percent increase in investments in Black-owned companies reads well, but 50 percent of what? 50 percent of a tiny number is still a tiny number.
The same goes for some of the others stats. More than 200 Black-authored books added to Target's lineup is good, but without context like what that number represents from the total lineup or how that number stacks up to Target's offering of books from White authors, it doesn't quite tell the entire story.
I'll be reaching out to Target to see if there's any clarification on those points. Like I said, there's certainly positive growth here. It's just important to peel back the PR a bit to try to see the whole picture.