Pinterest expands its Creator Fund to allow founders

Pinterest announced today that it is evolving its Creator Inclusion Fund to now be called the Pinterest Inclusion Fund.

Pinterest teamed up with Shopify's Build Black and Build Native programs to allow small business owners who are from or who serve underrepresented backgrounds to now apply for the Creator Inclusion Fund. Previously, only traditional content creators applied. This is a new iteration of the fund, which sees Pinterest slowly moving away from traditional creators and focusing more on creative entrepreneurs.

The fund is essentially a six-week accelerator program that coaches these founders on using Pinterest to expand their brands and businesses. The new iteration of the program launched today in the U.S. and Canada, and it plans to expand into other countries soon, including Brazil, India, France, and Argentina.

The small businesses selected for the program will have access to educational and financial resources, including the ability to connect Shopify accounts to Pinterest and training sessions provided by Shopify. Pinterest will also offer mentorship, monetary stipends, and paid subscriptions to workplace SaaS.

Pinterest started the newly named Inclusion Fund in 2021 to help give more opportunities to underrepresented creators, a group that remains overlooked in today’s creator economy. Pinterest defines underrepresented as quite broad, as it includes members of the LGBTQ+ community, those with disabilities, those who are plus-sized, and those who identify as BIPOC.

Pinterest invests in creators quarterly. For its previous funds, it backed a new sector each quarter. For this latest program, it will continue investing quarterly, this time across international markets each quarter. Traditional creators who are also small business merchants and who sell their products on an e-commerce site can still apply for this program. They can also access the accelerator if they are represented by a boutique agency that is accepted into the program.

To date, the company has invested more than $3.3 million in the accelerator program and has had more than 150 participants globally, the company told us.

Pinterest’s Inclusion Fund expansion comes as companies begin to reassess their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in what has come to be known as the Great Rollback of the efforts put in place after the murder of George Floyd in 2022. Since then, companies have been sued and forced to halt inclusion programs. However, Pinterest seems unfazed by the risks.

“It’s critical that the diversity of our users is reflected within the inspiration they search, save and shop from,” Zeny Shifferaw, Pinterest’s global inclusion content partnership lead, told TechCrunch. “This program is uniquely designed to increase pathways of success for content producers who’ve been disproportionately underrepresented, allowing them to grow and reach new audiences and customers on the platform.”

Those who wish to apply to the Inclusion Fund can do so here.

This article was updated to clarify the new name of the fund and who is able to participate.