How Forbes is giving a voice to underrepresented groups in business

Forbes EQ, a part of the BrandVoice content marketing program, advocates for systemic change in entrepreneurship.

Forbes, a publication celebrating the most successful business leaders, is doing more than just profiling the Jeff Bezos and Elon Musks of the world. 

To elevate the voices of underrepresented businesses and nonprofits, the publication has launched Forbes EQ (Equity Quotient) as part of its BrandVoice content marketing platform, which helps brands craft engaging native content for its audience.

Forbes EQ was launched as Forbes celebrates the 10th anniversary of the BrandVoice platform. The publication was inspired to make a broader effort to amplify systemic change in the wake of the pandemic and the social justice movement of 2020.  

“We looked at ourselves and our roles, not just at the company, but in our own communities and in society,” Forbes chief revenue officer Jessica Sibley told Campaign US. “We thought about what we could do to create change, and lead to a more equitable, better future.”

In partnership with the Diversity Marketing Consortium, Forbes EQ selects nonprofits and for-profit participants to share their stories, expertise and thought leadership on the platform. Forbes looks for organizations that cover key areas around education, awareness, justice and reform, and health and wellness.

The initiative kicks off with two nonprofits, Management Leadership for Tomorrow and the National Diversity Council, and three for-profit participants, including Malomo, Lumin and Cashdrop, which will run content on Forbes for six months. 

Forbes EQ is an extension of Forbes’ Representation & Inclusion practice, launched in early 2020 as marketers began to demand more diversity and inclusion in their messages and among their staff. Understanding this need, Forbes sought to engage with diverse communities on meaningful discussions. 

Another initiative is the State of Black Entrepreneurship, a year-long project that aims to “define, rectify and create Black history” by spotlighting forgotten Black businesses. The program uses quantitative data and multimedia storytelling to show where Black entrepreneurship stands today.  

“We can't rewrite history, but we need to make everyone understand that there are other people besides the top five [Black entrepreneurs] that we always hear about,” said Rashaad Lambert, director of culture and community at Forbes. 

The State of Black Entrepreneurship isn’t just for industry insiders, but anyone looking to learn more about an untapped part of history. 

“There's a misconception that you have to be a business owner or an aspiring business owner to truly appreciate the content,” Brianne Garrett, editorial lead for For(bes) The Culture, a members-only professional networking platform, said. “But there's going to be hidden figures we profile that you don't know you're not aware of, solely because they were not on your radar.” 

Forbes’ other upcoming diversity and inclusion initiatives include a profile on the Next 1000, a diverse class of entrepreneurs running self-funded shops or pre-revenue start-ups. And 50 Over 50, in partnership with Mika Brzezinski and her “Know Your Value” initiative, will highlight diverse women over the age of 50 who achieved success later in life. 

“[After] the inequity we saw with the pandemic and the social justice movement this summer, we feel business will change, and we need to be part of that,” Sibley said. “We need to use our megaphone every day.”

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