Fearless Fund Prevails in Discrimination Lawsuit

A federal judge in Atlanta has ruled that the venture capital firm Fearless Fund can continue offering a grant program exclusively for Black women entrepreneurs, rejecting a lawsuit claiming it unlawfully excluded other racial groups. Senior U.S. Judge Thomas Thrash denied a preliminary injunction, highlighting that the grants were considered charitable donations aimed at addressing discrimination against Black women business owners and were protected as “expressive conduct” under the First Amendment. The case against Fearless Fund, a relatively small player in the venture capital market, is seen as a significant test case as debates about race-based considerations shift from college admissions to workplace policies following the U.S. Supreme Court’s June decision on affirmative action.

Source: NBC News


Survey: Small Businesses Brace for Negative Effects of Shutdown

A new survey conducted by Goldman Sachs reveals that a government shutdown would have a significantly negative impact on small businesses, which play a crucial role in the U.S. economy, employing nearly half of all private sector workers and being sensitive to cost-cutting measures during economic downturns. In the survey, conducted from August 29 to September 7, a striking 91% of small business owners expressed the importance of avoiding a government shutdown. Of these respondents, 70% believed that their businesses would suffer adverse consequences, with 93% anticipating a hit to their revenue. While a government shutdown may not pose the same level of systemic risk as a U.S. government debt default, small businesses, already facing challenges such as tighter borrowing conditions, are less resilient. The potential for a shutdown is causing immense stress among small business owners, with concerns about employee retention and consumer confidence, and it threatens to disrupt growth and innovation in regulated industries, such as breweries awaiting government approvals for new products.

Source: Axios


US Government and 17 States Sue Amazon in Major Monopoly Case

The US government, along with 17 states, has filed a landmark lawsuit against Amazon, alleging the e-commerce giant engaged in monopolistic practices that harmed fair competition. The lawsuit, led by the Federal Trade Commission and 17 state attorneys general, accuses Amazon of unfairly promoting its own products and services at the expense of third-party sellers on its platform. It claims Amazon required sellers to use its logistics services to access benefits like “Prime” eligibility and forced them to list products at the lowest prices on Amazon, restricting competition. The lawsuit represents a significant challenge to Amazon’s dominance and follows increased scrutiny of big tech companies. Amazon, in response, defends its practices as fostering competition, and the outcome of the case could have wide-ranging implications for the tech industry.

Source: CNN


Consumer Confidence Drops as Economic Concerns Intensify

U.S. consumer confidence has hit a four-month low in September, according to a report from the Conference Board. This decline in confidence, the second consecutive monthly drop, is attributed to concerns over rising prices, fears of an impending recession, and unease about the political environment, including the looming threat of a government shutdown. All age groups exhibited a drop in confidence, with households earning $50,000 or more experiencing the most significant decline. The survey showed that while consumers had more favorable perceptions of the current labor market conditions, a sharp decrease in expectations, possibly linked to the government shutdown talks, was the primary driver of the overall decline. The Federal Reserve’s hawkish stance and projections of further interest rate hikes also contributed to consumer worries. Despite these concerns, consumers’ inflation expectations for the next year remained stable, and they showed no signs of significantly reducing purchases of big-ticket items, although home buying intentions decreased due to rising mortgage rates.

Source: Reuters