NEW YORK: Four New York agencies have formed the Diversity Marketing Consortium to provide free PR and marketing resources to minority-owned startups.
The group -- formed two weeks ago by SourceCode Communications, Cheer Partners, influencer shop Social Studies and marketing agency Superbolt -- has pledged to offer $1.5 million in free marketing services to women and minority-led startups bi-annually.
The consortium is working with Harlem Capital, a venture capital firm that funds companies whose founders are underrepresented, to identify companies to help and will also be accepting applications on its own website.
Harlem Capital will be holding a pitch competition, said Greg Mondshein, the consortium founder and SourceCode managing partner. The Diversity Marketing Consortium will help all finalists. If a startup applies via the consortium’s website, applications will be evaluated on a needs basis and on the viability of the business.
“We go through the traditional discovery process and all the normal vetting an agency would do with a client,” Mondshein said. “We’ll ask, ‘What do they need?’ and ‘Where do they have gaps?’ And based on that initial intake figure out where they need to go.”
The consortium will place limits on the amount services each startup can receive, Mondshein said, “to make sure the money lasts.” He added that, if they want to continue those services, “that’s a conversation each agency can have with that brand.”
Mondshein said he came up with the concept for the consortium in March amid a conversation SourceCode was having with Harlem Capital about one of its portfolio companies.
“It was a very back-of-a-napkin idea,” Mondshein said. “[We wanted to] get some agencies together to do a certain amount of pro bono work in support of early stage minority businesses. Harlem Capital loved it and we got a few agencies on board and then started building out the who, what, when, why and how.”
Although the idea for the project was hatched prior to the global protests over George Floyd’s death, Mondshein said he believes that project will only gain momentum in the current climate.
“I don’t suspect we’ll have any shortage of [agencies or startups],” he said, adding that, “$1.5 million sounds like a lot but you can burn through that very quickly. I can foresee a situation six months from now when we’ll be announcing an additional number of agencies to the consortium.”