Women of color are rare gems to say it plainly. However, we struggle the most with every aspect of growth in this country. There was a boom in startup businesses by black women to the height of an increase of 400% from 2007 until now. That’s an incredibly awesome and also scary number in comparison to other startup businesses.
When we look at what women and especially women of color have to face in this country, we have to take a very deep look at entrepreneurship also. What will it mean for financing a business, getting mentorship for your business and ultimately finding the right employees or resources to grow your business? It means we will have less chances to access those resources. We typically are paid less for the same jobs, work longer and harder to be deemed as worthy, and we are far less recognized on the global scale.
“At its core, [entrepreneurship] is a mindset – a way of thinking and acting. It is about imagining new ways to solve problems and create value. Fundamentally, entrepreneurship is about … the ability to recognize [and] methodically analyze [an] opportunity, and ultimately, to capture [its] value.” – Bruce Bachenheimer, clinical professor of management and executive director of the Entrepreneurship Lab at Pace University.
I’d also add to that, simply that black women create businesses out of a need to support our families, grow as individuals and find a degree of wealth not afforded to us in the workplace of corporate America. Black women generate less income overall and now starting businesses, we statically will generate less annual income in comparison to Hispanic women and five times less than white women owned businesses. If those facts, coming from the Federal reserve, don’t kick a fire in your butt about gender quality or even black women’s rights, then this surely will.
“The average annual sales for businesses owned by black women was $27,752 in 2012 (the most recent figures available), compared to $143,731 for all women and $170,587 for white women.”
- forbes.com. The figures have not changed much from then until now.
How astounding is that? We are starting businesses, but still face an uphill battle when it comes to resources and growth.
So, why bother? Because just starting is leaps and bounds better than not. Start because those that came before us, could not. Start because the generation of black women and women of color coming behind us, are counting on us to move the needle if only a little to setup their futures. Making these significant and almost triumphant moves into entrepreneurship is commendable and necessary.
Yes, we may lack mentorship because very few before us have achieved entrepreneurship success. Yes, we may lack proper funding because banks look at our income potential or growth patterns from the past and lack confidence in us. And yes, we may be one person armies at first, lacking a way to hire and grow. However, we are here. We are worthy and we will demand our price and charge tax. We will figure it out because that’s our nature. We learn, take what we can and make it gold! Women of color are powerful and despite the odds, when we look at all we’ve been through and even all we have to offer, we are just as valuable and just as needed in entrepreneurship.
“An entrepreneur is someone who will jump off a cliff and assemble an airplane on the way down.” -Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn. But for black women entrepreneurs, Dell Gines (author of Black Women Business StartUps) quickly adds, “they do it with only a toothpick and a napkin.”
And we will do it. Our daughters are depending on us! Let’s get to work!
All our love,
Niché + Shameka
Are you following us on Instagram? @thecaldwellcreative