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KeyBank Sponsors Raising Up Black Businesses Initiative Black Business Leadership Conference

KeyBank Sponsors Raising Up Black Businesses Initiative Black Business Leadership Conference

Published 09-13-23

Submitted by KeyBank

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Pictured from left to right—Jimmy Ng, KeyBank Sr. Business Banking Relationship Manager; Michael Gartrell, Branch Manager; Rachael Sampson, National Director Key@Work & Key4Women; Lewis Rudd co-founder of Ezell’s Famous Chicken and founder of R.U.B.B; Cassandra Mitchell DE&I Engagement Manager at Key; Akil Primus, Branch Manager and Co-President of the African Heritage employee resource group at Key. 

At the recent Raising Up Black Businesses (R.U.B.B.) Initiative Black Business Leadership Conference, in Seattle, WA. KeyBank, participated in the event sharing the importance of banking relationships for Black Business owners.

The KeyBank team shared some hard facts about small business ownership.

  • There are 30.2 million small businesses in the US, but only a fraction of them will survive.
  • 20% of small businesses will fail in the first year, and half will not make it to 5 years.1
  • 80% of Black-owned businesses fail within the first 18 months.2
  • As of the last census bureau, there are 3.12 million Black-owned businesses, generating $206 billion in annual revenues and employing 3.56 million workers.

1Source: Why Black-owned businesses are struggling to stay afloat (

2Source: Facts About Small Business: Black Ownership Statistics (SBA's Office of Advocacy)

The team shared that while some of these facts may feel grim, there are resources throughout the community that business owners can use to establish a strong foundation and position their business for lasting success. One of most important resources is working with a banker you can trust and count on.

Attendees learned the importance of banking relationships for small businesses including:

  • What to expect from your Banker;
  • increasing and optimizing cash flow through banking solutions outside of credit;
  • demystifying the credit and underwriting process;
  • understanding collateral;
  • how to properly leverage business vs personal assets;
  • how to access special programs, community resources, and more.

Lewis Rudd is the co-founder of Ezell’s Famous Chicken (second largest black owned restaurant chain in the country with international locations) and is the founder of R.U.B.B and other community initiatives. R.U.B.B. is in its second year and was born out of the need that Lewis experienced during covid where many black businesses were left out of PPP due to a lack of knowledge around finances and not having a banking relationship.

Key is proud to be a sponsor of and participant in this important event.

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KeyCorp's roots trace back 190 years to Albany, New York. Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Key is one of the nation's largest bank-based financial services companies, with assets of approximately $176.2 billion at March 31, 2021. Key provides deposit, lending, cash management, and investment services to individuals and businesses in 15 states under the name KeyBank National Association through a network of approximately 1,100 branches and more than 1,400 ATMs. Key also provides a broad range of sophisticated corporate and investment banking products, such as merger and acquisition advice, public and private debt and equity, syndications and derivatives to middle market companies in selected industries throughout the United States under the KeyBanc Capital Markets trade name. For more information, visit KeyBank is Member FDIC. 

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