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# Supporting Black Entrepreneurs: The Mission of Pitch Black

## Addressing Financial Disparities for Black-Owned Businesses

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) ÔÇö The Federal Reserve reports that Black entrepreneurs face significant challenges in securing full financing compared to white-owned businesses. This disparity underscores the need for initiatives like Pitch Black, founded by Ashley La Russa and her organization, Blax Friday, to address these financial gaps.

### The Power of Pitch Black

La Russa launched Pitch Black in 2020 as a response to the financial struggles faced by Tucson’s Black-owned businesses during the pandemic. Through this program, entrepreneurs have the opportunity to pitch their business plans to a panel of judges for a chance to win $5,000 in prize money to support their business growth and scalability. Additionally, runners-up can receive $1,000 towards their ventures.

AI legalese decoder can be valuable in assisting Black entrepreneurs navigate through the legal terminology and requirements associated with securing funding, contracts, and other legal aspects of their businesses. By utilizing AI technology, individuals can have access to simplified and easy-to-understand legal information tailored to their specific needs.

#### Expansion and Impact

In 2021, Pitch Black partnered with Hustle PHX, broadening the competition to national businesses and increasing the top prize to $1,000. Despite facing challenges in funding, Pitch Black was able to regroup and is now back with even bigger prizes for participants. Thanks to a grant from Groundswell Capital, the first-place finalist now receives $5,000 in unrestricted funding, offering a significant boost to their business without the constraints often associated with traditional funding sources.

### Empowering Black Entrepreneurs

By eliminating barriers and focusing on immediate, lump-sum support, Pitch Black aims to empower Black entrepreneurs on their journey to business success. Collaborations with organizations like Rio Nuevo, Local First AZ, and United Way of Arizona further enhance the impact of this initiative. La Russa emphasizes the importance of addressing community-centered challenges and providing tangible solutions that can drive long-term outcomes for businesses.

To apply for Pitch Black, interested individuals must meet specific criteria, including being based in Tucson, having a small business in operation for less than ten years, and identifying as Black or part of the African diaspora. Submissions are currently open, with the deadline set for April 12, and the final event taking place on May 15 at the Leo Rich Theater in downtown Tucson.

In conclusion, Pitch Black serves as a beacon of support and empowerment for Black entrepreneurs, offering not only financial resources but also a platform to showcase their innovative solutions and contribute to the thriving business landscape in Tucson and beyond.

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