Amazon’s Black Business Accelerator sets Black business owners up for success as sellers
Best friends Pernell Cezar and Rod Johnson launched BLK & Bold to give back to children and teenagers in need. Amazon’s Black Business Accelerator helped them experience rapid growth and in turn, expand their mission.
Entrepreneurs Pernell Cezar and Rod Johnson grew up in Gary, Indiana, lived across the street from each other, and, thanks to basketball, immediately became best friends. After years of conversations over cups of coffee, they had a realization: They could fuse their love of coffee with their passion for supporting youth in need. This became their mission. In 2018, BLK & Bold* was born, focused on social impact and providing quality beverages.
Cezar bought a tabletop coffee roaster, and Johnson taught himself coding to build their first website. They focused on quality, and then Amazon helped them grow as entrepreneurs. Amazon’s Black Business Accelerator provides access to capital, business guidance, mentorship, and marketing support to help Black business owners succeed as sellers in Amazon’s store. “Amazon has been monumental for us,” Cezar said. “With Amazon support, the sky really feels like it’s the limit.”
Cezar’s and Johnson’s commitment to communities is at the core of BLK & Bold. “I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for my support system, if it weren’t for people who believed in me beyond my own thought process at any given time,” Johnson said. “So, I want to be very intentional to ensure that other people who are growing up in similar circumstances feel as though they have resources and people who care about them.”
BLK & Bold contributes 5% of their profits to organizations that support domestic youth in need, including after-school activities, coding camps, urban farming, mentorship, and other programs to support children and teenagers. The company’s coast-to-coast contributions include Sunset Youth Services in San Francisco, Code Fever Miami in Florida, and the By Degrees Foundation in Des Moines, Iowa, where the company is based.
Their coffee and tea company, BLK & Bold, continues to experience rapid growth, and it recently launched a medium roast called “The Warm Up” in partnership with the NBA. This smooth blend of beans from Ethiopia and Central America has caramel and fruity flavor notes that make for easy drinking.
Learn more about how Amazon’s Black Business Accelerator provides access to capital, business guidance, and marketing support to help Black business owners succeed on the Amazon Day One blog.
*Amazon does not endorse any of the products or information provided by the Merchant in this video.