Fintech Startup Hello Alice Scores Legal Victory For Diversity And Inclusion

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May 30 2024, Published 3:49 p.m. ET

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A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against Hello Alice, a financial technology platform that connects small businesses to capital and resources, marking a win for diversity.

The lawsuit, brought by America First Legal, headed by former Donald Trump administration adviser Stephen Miller. It targeted Hello Alice’s commitment to provide equitable access to capital and support for underrepresented entrepreneurs. In August, America First Legal sued Hello Alice over the platform’s administration of $25,000 grants for Black-owned businesses in partnership with insurance company Progressive, according to Fast Company. The lawsuit had the potential to dramatically limit how the business world uses diversity, equity and inclusion programs.

Fast Company also reports that America First Legal sued on behalf of Nathan Roberts, a white Ohioan who objected to being ineligible for the grants. America First Legal has brought similar lawsuits against what it calls “woke corporations,” such as Amazon, CBS and Meta.

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The judge in this case found that the lawsuit did not allege a harm that could be remedied by the courts, according to a news release from Hello Alice. In other words, the judge ruled that Roberts could not prove he would have received a grant if the contest has been race-neutral.

“This resolution marks a pivotal moment not only for our company but for the broader small business community in the United States,” said Elizabeth Gore, co-founder and president of Hello Alice, in the release. “Facing a labor shortage, heightened interest rates, and inflation, this country needs its small business owners, and they, in return, need the capital and resources that programs like Hello Alice provide. We are thrilled for the judgment in favor of Hello Alice, as this represents one less threat to our nation’s small business community and economy.”

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Hello Alice offers funding, education, tools and curated opportunities for small businesses to grow, according to its website. The platform recently closed its Series C venture raise and now supports 1.5 million small business owners. Its suite of financial products and programs include the Hello Alice Small Business Mastercard, the Business Health Score, the Equitable Access Program and the $70 Million Equitable Access Fund, and Elevate the American Dream.

According to the news release, 49 grants under the Elevate the American Dream have been distributed this. year to small businesses, putting Hello Alice’s grant funding at more than $40 million. The latest funding round will support the expansion of the Hello Alice AI-driven financial health services and Small Business Funding Center, which connects owners with capital needed to grow their small businesses.

“Following this decision by the courts, Hello Alice is more determined than ever to continue its mission of supporting small business owners,” the company said in a statement. “Throughout this legal process, the company has remained steadfast in its commitment to creating an inclusive ecosystem where every entrepreneur has the chance to succeed.”

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By: Gillian Smith

Gillian Smith is a professional communicator by day and night, leveraging more than a decade in the news industry to share stories that have a positive impact on society. Gillian believes everyone has a story worth telling, and she has made it her professional mission to tell those stories in a responsible way. Gillian received a BA in journalism from Ithaca College and a Master's in Journalism Innovation from Syracuse University. She is currently the director of external communication and media relations at Suffolk University.

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