We're excited to welcome IFundWomen's Creator & General Manager of IFundWomen of Color, Olivia Owens, to the MOB blog!
Learn more about Olivia at the end of the blog post.
Black Business Month is an important reminder of the opportunity that exists for Black-owned businesses. According to Amex's 2019 State of Women-Owned Business Report, Black women represent 42% of net new women-owned businesses started in the last year, which is three times their share of the female population (14%).
Yet in the past decade, Black women-led businesses have captured just .0006% of the total venture capital funding pie. The pandemic has only exacerbated the larger funding gap problem, as we saw with the first round of the Paycheck Protection Program, where up to 90% of minority and women business owners were shut out.
If you’re as tired of hearing these devastating stats as I am, let’s talk solutions. The biggest challenge facing black women entrepreneurs is access. Through my work at IFundWomen, the go-to marketplace for women-owned businesses and the people who want to support them, we are addressing this challenge head on by providing the access to the capital, coaching, and connections Black women-owned businesses need to launch and grow successful businesses.
We launched IFundWomen of Color (IFWOC) in partnership with Caress at the New York City Women’s March back in January. Since the announcement, we’ve been hard at work building the IFundWomen of Color community from the ground up, and the response has been incredible. The women in our community are reimagining how we build and use retail spaces, carving out space for Black women in wellness, and tackling food deserts in Brooklyn.
They’re leveraging crowdfunding and grants as alternative funding sources to push their businesses forward. In recent months, we’ve seen uptick in the Black women in our community launching with a sense of urgency because people are now (better late than never) looking to fund them.
One of the hundreds of women you can fund is Karen Wilson, Founder of ChildNEXUS. She is on a mission to decrease the number of undiagnosed learning disorders and mental health issues in children and adolescents through her platform. After getting her MVP up and running and growing her list to more than 900 subscribers, she came to IFundWomen because she needed the funds to scale.
She worked one on one with IFundWomen coaches, created her crowdfunding campaign video with the support of our creative team, and continues to leverage the IFundWomen of Color community as a space for support, collaboration, and validation. Not to mention, the first funder of her crowdfunding campaign was a $2,500 grant from Caress. She’s nearly 50% of the way to her goal and needs your support.
Caress is just one of a roster of amazing partners that have stepped up to support the women of color on our platform. Caress is doing $500K in COVID-19 relief grants for the IFundWomen of Color community.
We recently partnered with The Financial Gym to do $2,000 grants plus financial training for Black-owned businesses. And we will soon be announcing the recipients of our grant program with Visa, who is doing 10, $10,000 grants plus one year of IFundWomen coaching for Black women-owned businesses.
Grants are a no-brainer for both entrepreneurs who need funding and brands who are looking to reach their target audience. As a founder, debt-free capital is the best kind of capital. As a brand, the best way to engage with your potential customer is to show that you’re willing to meet an immediate and dire need they have by putting your money where your mouth is.
The best part is, you don’t have to be a brand to support Black-owned businesses. If you’re an ally looking to redistribute wealth into the black community, head to the Black-Women Owned Businesses page on our platform and fund a business or five.
If you’re Black woman-owned business, apply to IFundWomen of Color to start connecting with the resources and support you need to launch and grow.
Olivia Owens is the Creator & General Manager of IFundWomen of Color, the platform for women of color to raise capital through crowdfunding, grants, coaching, and the connections needed to launch and grow successful businesses.
This funding ecosystem is designed to empower early-stage, women entrepreneurs and bridge the funding gap for women of color.