Black women in America have a unique experience being business owners. This is due to the difficulties they face, often rooted in racism and systemic sexism. The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland has found that while Black entrepreneurs are more likely than white entrepreneurs to apply for financial assistance, they are only 19% less likely of being approved.
We spoke to five women who are successful in starting businesses. They shared their stories and gave their advice to other Black women entrepreneurs.
Growth rates for Black female entrepreneurs
Black women are still able to be entrepreneurs despite the ongoing issues of racial inequalities that have been present for hundreds of years. According to the 2018 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report (SOWB), more than 2,000,000 African American women are business owners, making them the largest minority group of female business owners. Statistics show that women of color are 4.5x more likely than any other demographic to start their own business.
According to the same report, the number of women-owned businesses has increased 58% since 2007. Researchers found that women-owned businesses would be able to match the profits of these businesses and create 4 million jobs. This would bring in $1.2 trillion in new revenues for the U.S. economy. Economy.
Some business owners believe that Black women are creative and flexible, and aren’t afraid of taking risks.
Tiffany Griffin, cofounder of Bright Black, said that this makes them braver and encourages them to make big leaps.
Education could also play an important role. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Black women have the highest number of bachelor’s and associate degrees. This makes them the most educated population. These advanced degrees can give entrepreneurs the tools and confidence they need to start and run their own businesses.
Business advice for Black women entrepreneurs
Learn from successful entrepreneurs to help you reach your potential as an emerging entrepreneur.
Tiffany Griffin, cofounder and co-owner at Bright Black
Source: Tiffany Griffin
Tiffany Griffin was a policymaker and academic before she started her entrepreneurial journey together with her husband Dariel. She was driven to spread awareness about the Black experience, with a keen eye for spreading knowledge and achieving positive change. Her company, which incorporates scents inspired from the African diaspora and names candles after Black trailblazers, does the same.
Griffin described herself as a “social entrepreneur” and said that she wanted her products to bring back memories and spark conversation about Black culture. Griffin stated that her business mission was to help others in a communal and cultural way while also discussing Black culture. However, this was what she claimed was a barrier to securing funding from investors. Griffin and her husband were both troubled by the fact that funding was contingent on her compromising core values for her race-based product line.
Griffin and her husband were financially able to dismiss the investors. However, they recognized that many businesses may compromise on their core beliefs in order to survive. Griffin recommends saving capital before you launch your business to avoid being in this situation.
She said, “With financial stability comes liberty.” We’ve also learned how to plan, plan, plan, and then stick to our values. We believe in our values and are doing good work. “
Janna Hall, chief experience officer at Leap Innovative Group
Source: Janna M. Hall
Janna M. hall, after many years of working in corporate America decided that she wanted to start her own creative marketing agency. After being denied a raise, and learning that the company did not have the budget to pay for an increase in wages, she decided to leave her job and open her own company: Leap Innovative Group. Hall admitted that she knew the industry well, but it was difficult for her to set her own rates as she struggles to advocate for herself.
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Hall realized after lowering her rates for a while that African Americans had a different relationship with money than white business owners. This created a fractured understanding of value.
Hall stated that white counterparts were used to having capital and used to price themselves higher. They also had the confidence to stand by their prices even when they were higher then the market rate. “I realized that they could stand behind their prices if they had the confidence,” Hall said. I believe in my expertise, so I should be sure that I’m worth what I pay.”
Hall sought the advice of white mentors to overcome her insecurity. Their understanding and financial confidence pushed Hall to raise her rates. Hall realized that her rates were worth it and took comfort in researching market rates. She advises Black women business owners not to take rejection personally. She said that when a client declines to accept your rates, it is a reflection on what they are willing to pay, not what you have to offer.
Hall stated that his clientele now includes businesses who recognize the value I provide and are willing to pay what it is worth.
Britney Snows, founder and CEO at Upgrade Boutique
Source: Britney Winters
Britney Winters, a native Houstonian, believed she was well on her way to greater and better things as well as a career in corporate management when she graduated in 2008 from Stanford University. After working for a few years in investment banking, Britney realized that she could not bring her true self to work. This self-perceived lack in ownership over her career led to her choosing entrepreneurship and starting Upgrade Boutique, a hair extension and wig business.
Winters, who has been a full-time entrepreneur for about a year, said that the most difficult part of her business was getting financing. Black entrepreneurs are not likely to be able to get funding from their family and friends.
According to The New York Times, white entrepreneurs are more successful than their Black counterparts because for every $100 of white family wealth, Black families have just $5.04.
Winters acknowledged that she has had financial help but she also sold her products in the early stages of her business. She had some capital and a customer base when she opened a pop-up shop and sold out her stock in three hours. Although it wasn’t quite what she had hoped for, Winters felt it was enough to get her moving.
She said that while we all want to have the best ideas possible before we bring them to market, I have learned that it is important to accept what we do have. It can be difficult to access capital. To get started, you should first determine what the simplest prototype of your product is. You can then work towards achieving your ultimate vision.