At Altice USA, we have a unique responsibility in the areas that we serve. Connectivity has always played an important role for businesses, but in the last year, the ability to connect with customers virtually has become critical for their survival as a business.    

While working with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation to launch the Save Small Businesses Fund we learned about their upcoming launch of the Coalition to Back Black Businesses (CBBB). CBBB planned to launch in fall of 2020 as a multi-year grantmaking and training initiative to help support Black-owned small businesses as they recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, and chart a path forward. The CBBB mission was directly in line with the ways that Altice USA aims to provide support and connectivity for companies, in a variety of different ways, that have a real and lasting impact.

Since becoming a partner for the CBBB, Altice USA has contributed $1.5 million to the program. Additionally, there has been an opportunity for Altice USA employees to become involved in a hands-on way by mentoring the small businesses as needed. We spoke with three of our employees who are active volunteers about their experience working with the Black-owned small businesses that the CBBB supports. Here’s what they had to say:

Austin Brock, CX Training Manager: I’ve had the opportunity to work with a very talented educator who founded and operates an academy that provides educational opportunities as well as daycare for children in her community. The company does an amazing job of partnering with parents and educators to ensure that her students are having fun while they learn. I didn’t really imagine that I would have much to give, but I found that regardless of your role, the experience we have all had at Altice USA provides us so much insight in how to assist an entrepreneur in building their brands and business. Working with this business owner has been such a joy!  My biggest learning has been how important it is to have a support system at work and often an entrepreneur can feel a bit alone at work. Having a chance to be a support system and offer some advice based on my work experience has been wonderful. I really encourage anyone at Altice USA to give some of your time to mentor an entrepreneur through the Coalition to Back Black Business. We all have a lot of great information to share and this organization has found some wonderful business owners to partner with.  For me, I feel like I’ve made a life-long friend through this program and I really thank Altice USA for providing this opportunity! 

Jon Caruso, Senior Financial Analyst: I am in business planning at Altice USA and wanted to use my knowledge of finance to help small businesses in need. I connected with one of the companies who needed assistance with budgeting. Once connected, I was able to build an Excel budget template, along with other financial models tailored to support the business and its needs. I met with the business owner via Zoom and she was very excited with what I provided. She understood how it worked and planned to utilize it in the future.  We also discussed her business, her life and the struggles she faced with COVID-19. There are so many businesses that are in need of guidance through these difficult times. Being able to help someone from the comfort of your home by using your day-to-day work knowledge is great.

Suyang Wang, Associate Emerging Talent: Due to the pandemic, I see a lot of Black-owned businesses struggling to keep and operate their businesses. Through this program, I have been able to support a business owner with their accounting and finance for short-term and long-term business goals. I have been meeting with her weekly to build financial statements for her bookkeeping and teach her how to keep the documents updated on her own. I hope to give her the accounting and finance skills that she needs to solve similar problems by herself after this program, although we will definitely keep a long-term friendship. The CBBB program comes with many benefits including gaining a deeper understanding of our customers, improving self-esteem and building stronger connections to our neighborhood, community and society.

You can learn more about the Coalition to Back Black Businesses here: https://webackblackbusinesses.com/.