Entrepreneurship

Black entrepreneurs account for 2.6 million businesses in the U.S. as of 2012. No doubt, Black-owned businesses make up almost 10% of all business ventures, and 46% of black entrepreneurs are Black women — which accounts for the highest percentage compared with other statistics in the same spheres.

In spite of the huge impact and progress that Black-owned businesses, Black entrepreneurs have accomplished, Black-owned businesses still have to deal with funding challenges from accessing business grants to start their business or grow already existing one, to connecting with venture capitalists to help with funding support in one capacity or the other.

For instance, accessing business opportunities and funding can be quite difficult for Black business owners compared to their caucasian counterparts. As a result of the unfair disparity, many Black entrepreneurs and business owners may have no other options but to rely on their savings, applying for credit cards, if they are in the position to, reaching out to family members for financial support, or have to struggle with the hefty interests from third-party business loans.

BLACK-OWNED BUSINESSES MAKE UP ALMOST 10% OF ALL COMPANIES, AND 46% OF BLACK ENTREPRENEURS ARE BLACK WOMEN

GuidantFinancial, 2021

Indeed, the COVID-19 pandemic has also expanded the aforementioned disparities even more, as many Black-owned small businesses, as it were, fall into social services and retail, which mostly succeed that thrive on that one on one contact. Therefore, it is expected that these Black-owned businesses turned out to take the most hit financially and otherwise.

AfricanAmericanGrants.org has compiled a list of helpful organizations listed below that offer a wealth of information, tools, and valuable resources for Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs. These resources include grant information, education, mentorship, and intensive networking opportunities for Black business owners.

The organizations listed below offer access to vast resources for Black business owners, including grant funding, education, and more. Black entrepreneurs that are considering higher education, such as an MBA, can also qualify for various financial aid opportunities.

Black Girl Ventures

Black Girl Ventures (BGV), headed by Shelly Bell,  provides funding opportunities for Black-owned businesses that are tech-enabled and earn less than $1,000,000. The BGV funding program has seen beneficiaries who worked in diverse industries ranging from beauty and wellness to ravel rental services and career coaching and mentorship.

The BGV funding process involves pitch competitions where the business owners talk about their business idea, and the audience donates funds to vote for the businesses that they are interested in funding. A 3-minute presentation is made by each prospective business funding recipient. After which then allows questions from the panel before the final decision is made.

BGV reiterates that the funding program is a cross between Shark Tank and Kickstarter. Except that in the case of BGV funding opportunity, the participants not only gain access to capital to help kickstart their business ideas, but they also get access to the vast knowledge base, mentorship, and networking tools and resources.

The BGV funding program has raised over $2,000,000 since inception and has successfully funded over 130 women through its pitch funding competitions. The BGV organization also extends its supports to entrepreneurs through a nine-month fellowship program on leadership skill development, corporate mentorship opportunities, and an engaging and active online community.

BGV has partnerships with big commercial brands like NIKE and Equilibria and has also been featured in Forbes, Good Morning America, and Entrepreneur Magazine.


Mortar

MORTAR connects with entrepreneurs who are interested in learning how to confidently launch their own businesses. Mortal provides an intensive 15-week Entrepreneurship Academy to help these aspiring business owners. This 15- week program also includes skills and tools needed for business management. The course covers diverse business topics and through several learning styles.

The program brings in guest speakers, that are highly engaging and committed to the success of the team through the use of collaborative activities, video presentations, sharing, networking, and mentorship.

MORTAR also places high importance on cultural competency and advancement through its programs. MORTAR focuses on mostly Black entrepreneurs. After the initial 15-week program, MORTAR graduates can further their education by participating in an 18-month alumni program that expands on business consulting, training, workshops, funding opportunities, program development, networking, and marketing strategy. Business owners also have the opportunity of connecting and selling their products on Mortar’s online marketplace or in person at the events.

MORTAR maintains collaborations with the University of Cincinnati Law School, Provided, SCORE, and Crowd or Camera Communications Consulting. These local partnerships provide helpful resources from low-cost legal assistance, business writing, PR training, and mentorship opportunities to students and participants of the program.


The Black upStart

The Black upStart is committed to bridging the educational gap for Black businesses owners by creating access to innovative educational opportunities for Black entrepreneurs. The Black upStart program teaches business fundamentals and engages in joint community building and development among students and faculty. To qualify for this program, applicants would need to have a certified product-based business or idea, though every now and then, the organization occasionally supports service businesses.

If you are an aspiring entrepreneur or emerging professionals whose businesses make less than $50,000, the Black upStart’s Skillhouse U program, then you would have met the criteria for participation. You have the opportunity of working together in a 10-person cohort to explore and learn everything you can about how to build their wealth and assets. The courses taught at the Skillhouse U program cover various subject areas from monetizing skills, marking and developing a sales strategy; seeking investors, handling paperwork, and starting an LLC; investing in the stock market, and creating a financial plan. and other business partnerships.

The Stillhouse U program also covers the basics of fund sourcing, crowdfunding, and each student receives individualized coaching specifically tailored to their needs. The Black upStart’s faculty has a diverse list of professionals from seasoned professors to government affiliates and experienced and established business owners in diverse fields producing beauty products, textile, and consulting services.

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