Grants For Black Female Small Business Owners

Grants For Black Female Small Business Owners – Black women often face the double whammy of racism and sexism when it comes to securing funding for tech startups — but the success of those going it alone shows that investors are missing out.

Women of color are among the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the US. Photo: JGI/Tom Grill/Getty Images/Tetra Images RF

Grants For Black Female Small Business Owners

Grants For Black Female Small Business Owners

Imagine establishing yourself as an importer of frozen potatoes – would you get a loan to get started? Banks may be skeptical of the venture, but they would be wrong because the UK is one of the biggest importers of frozen potatoes in the world – and anyone in the black diaspora would know the idea would be bloody, says Marian Arafiena, who with her sister founded a crowdfunding platform for black-owned businesses.

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She founded Rise FundNGO to give space and visibility to black-owned businesses, including yam importers, suppliers of black beauty products and others that might not otherwise see the light of day. “The mainstream won’t know we’re there unless our voices are in the room,” says Arafien’s sister, Anita Egbune.

After the Black Lives Matter protests of the summer, both sisters were forced to act. Typically, like many black female tech entrepreneurs, they self-funded the new venture and stuck to their day jobs—Arafiena in strategic planning, with a background in engineering, and Egbune in finance. “We had to be really innovative, the technical bit is something we had to learn,” he says. Banks and venture capitalists have been slow to finance black-owned businesses. “They’ll ask for a proof of concept or they might say there’s no money in it,” says Egbune. “Getting into a jam, for example, is just good business, but those opportunities can be missed.”

They are looking for corporate allies to put their money where it was earlier this year. “There have been a lot of grandiose statements from big companies that have profited from historical crimes,” Arafiena says, referring to corporate reports of support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

He wants big business allies to consider cash pledges and combine it with crowdfunding to get black-owned businesses off the ground.

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“Diversifying the supply chain makes business sense and it’s the right thing to do. We’re making black businesses super visible.”

Women of color are among the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs, US research shows. They face the double whammy of sexism and prejudice that forces them to go it alone, says Annette Joseph, a tech advocate who founded Diverse & Equal nearly three years ago to highlight opportunities in tech and help companies become more diverse.

“I meet so many people who are told, ‘You’re only here because you’re black.’ Billions have been spent on diversity, but the glass ceiling is still much lower, the career path isn’t transparent, and you’re just not getting opportunities. I hear that everywhere.” And there’s a harmful assumption that when a company ticks the diversity box, the standards have been lowered — something she says is wrong and offensive. “The black professionals I meet are often more qualified than their white peers.”

Grants For Black Female Small Business Owners

But the tech sector is a strange mix – young but still white and male at the senior levels. More broadly, black women are underrepresented in specialist IT roles, according to analysis by BCS, a chartered institute for IT. While women now make up a record 20% of IT jobs, up from 17% the previous year, it’s a different story for black women – they only hold 0.7% of IT jobs – 2.5 times lower than their representation in other occupations. Of the 31,000 black IT professionals in the UK, just over a third (11,000) are women, according to ONS figures.

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And backers still expect tech entrepreneurs to be white and male, says Patrice Stephens-Sobers, founder of digital marketing agency Pink Ship: “It’s a cliché, but they’re still looking for Mark Zuckerberg.” Stephens-Sobers started her own agency after becoming upset that she wasn’t getting the work she felt qualified for.

Her complaint is nothing new. British companies still discriminate against job seekers from ethnic minorities. Last year, the Growth, Equal Opportunities, Migration and Markets (GEMM) study, funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme, found that applicants from ethnic minorities had to send 60% more applications to get a positive response from an employer. . as a white man of British descent. As part of the project, which involved sending the same resumes under different names, social scientist Dr. Valentina Di Stasio, assistant professor at Utrecht University, also found the UK to be the most discriminatory of the five countries surveyed – the other four being Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Spain.

So it’s no wonder, says Stephens-Sobers, that it makes more sense to start out on your own. Armed with a computer and a camera, she started her agency with no funding and has since expanded with clients in the US and Canada, as well as London. “Funding is a struggle – Black-owned businesses often go the crowdfunding route.”

It’s not because the money isn’t there, Joseph says — it’s just that the pots are actually too big for the type of tech companies women are starting. “Black women don’t usually have a lot of support to draw on. There’s a lot of mistrust. Maybe their businesses aren’t big enough – if investors were willing to come up with smaller amounts – £10,000 instead of £100,000 – that would go a long way.

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Funding is known to not be easy – only 2.8% of venture capital funding goes to women-led startups and there are schemes and grants to address this.

But while tech entrepreneurs often enjoy a bustling networking scene, it can be a lonely place for black women, says Jasmine Douglas, who launched her business network Babes on Waves this year.

Before the pandemic, she found that business events were “full of white, overconfident men throwing around big words in a stiff environment” and women-only groups were just as white. “I felt alone and invisible. Her network will always be at least 70% women of color – and it’s a welcoming place for 70 members: “We feel like a family.” She plans to launch a digital platform and is now applying for grants to raise £10,000 to create an app next year, which will expand her community.

Grants For Black Female Small Business Owners

Despite the stream of depressing statistics, Joseph believes now is the right time to be black, female and working in tech. Companies are waking up to the financial benefits of diversity. In the US, capital is already flowing to black women entrepreneurs. “Empowering black female founders is one of the best things we can do for economic equality. It seems to me the easiest way to level the playing field. I think it’s only a matter of time before UK financiers realize the opportunities that missed out.” .

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Black women entrepreneurs are leading the way in business startups, and the right advice and resources are key to their continued success.

Black women in America share a unique experience as business owners due to the challenges they face—rooted in both systemic sexism and racism—that often lead to a lack of financing options. In recent years, the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland found that black entrepreneurs were 10% more likely to apply for start-up financing than their white counterparts, yet were 19% less likely to be approved.

To get a better idea of ​​what these women face as they launch their businesses, we spoke with five successful business owners who shared how they overcame their trials and their advice for other Black women entrepreneurs.

The continuing problems of racial inequality spanning hundreds of years and flaring up in contemporary America have not stifled the entrepreneurial spirit of black women. According to the 2018 State of Women-Owned Business Report, African-American women own more than 2 million businesses, making them the leading female minority group of business owners. Statistically, women of color are 4.5 times more likely to start a business than other demographics.

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Since 2007, the number of businesses owned by women of color has increased by 58%, according to the same report. In fact, the researchers said that if the money earned by these companies was matched by all women-owned companies, “it would add 4 million new jobs and $1.2 trillion in income to the U.S. economy.”

One of the reasons for this boom, according to some of the business owners we spoke with, is that black women are a creative and adaptable group of people who aren’t afraid to take risks.

“It makes them incredibly brave and makes them take leaps,” said Tiffany Griffin, co-founder of Bright Black.

Grants For Black Female Small Business Owners

Education could also play a big role. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, black women generally hold the most associate’s and bachelor’s degrees, making them the most educated demographic. These advanced degrees can provide the confidence and tools entrepreneurs need to get up and running

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