NBA Hall of Famer Ervin “Magic” Johnson has been working overtime to support small businesses impacted by the pandemic.
In April, Johnson announced that his insurance company, EquiTrust, would provide $100 million in financing for women and minority-owned businesses as part of the Small Business Administration’s embattled Paycheck Protection Program. Shortly after, he partnered with MBE Partners and Carver Federal Savings Bank to fund another $225 million in PPP loans.
“Firms with fewer than 500 workers make up the vast majority of all businesses in the United States, well over 90%,” Johnson told For(bes) The Culture via email. “They are the pillar of our communities and anchor our economy, employing a little less than half of all Americans.”
His latest assist: Partnering with the Amazon Small Business division on its “Support Small” initiative that features his gift guide highlighting small businesses across the country to shop from this holiday season. Johnson joins the ranks of other celebrities including Ayesha Curry and Jessica Alba that have partnered with Amazon to create gift guides.
“Small businesses need our help now more than ever given the effects of Covid-19,” says Johnson. “So many have struggled to bounce back during this time, and we have to do all we can to ensure they are still around to support their communities. The holidays are supposed to be a time of joy and cheer, and hopefully we can support these small businesses and provide great gift options for many individuals.”
Among the companies Johnson has highlighted in his Amazon gift guide is Black-owned coffee company BLK & Bold.
“When partnering or endorsing a product, I like to look for three things: a good management team, products that I would use, and a unique offering from the company,” says Johnson. “It’s important for me to do my research on the leadership and get to know them personally.”
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Ahead of Prime Day last month and for the holiday season, Amazon vowed to allocate more than $100 million to help small businesses around the world grow their sales and customer bases.”
“Our country needs small businesses to keep the economy going, provide tailored solutions for their customers, and most importantly provide jobs and the ability for many Americans to build wealth for their families,” says Johnson.