Black Women Entrepreneurship is a Modern-Day Liberation

Rene Redwood, CEO, Redwood Enterprises, LLC 

Kaliyah Bennett, Founder, The Braidstry

May our skills turn into businesses, may our pockets be full, and may our paths today bring liberation that builds a blueprint for tomorrow’s intergenerational wealth.

Entrepreneurship can create a social and monetary reset for Black and Brown women in the face of ongoing racial strife and violence, and gender inequity. The transformation of the workplace due to the global pandemic created a new cultural norm and revealed opportunities for self-sufficiency to use their talents and skills as a catalyst for their businesses. Within the last two decades, Black-owned businesses have increased by more than 40%.1 Although the number of Black women-owned businesses continues to rise, the aspirations and passion of the owners created a unique flare as evidenced by sidepreneurs.2 A sidepreneur is an entrepreneur who works by day “for the man” and invests her earnings into growing her independent business by night. Part of the resourcing for women of color is tapping family members to work for them creating jobs in marginalized communities. Ultimately, liberating themselves with economic stability and growth as part of their business success.

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The reset is a reassess and reevaluate of where we are as Black women entrepreneurs? How do we go forward? 

Create our own norms. Conventional understanding was that work was a 9-to-5 job and in-office work. Now, Black women leverage social capital such as the networks and relationships built to gain independence, which is more conductive to our personal needs and life priorities (i.e., children, family, financial freedom, etc.). According to Harvard Business Review, 17% of Black women are in the process of starting or are running new businesses, compared to 10% of white women and 15% of white men—whether it’s the desire to “pursue a passion” (29%), a dissatisfaction with corporate America (13%), or they are ready to be “their own boss.”3 Freeing ourselves from the way we’ve been conditioned to work is revolutionary and acts as a catalyst to creating powerful ways to grow our individual, familial, and communal opportunities.  

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Growth: Generate Revenue Overtime for Wealth Transformation of Home

The long-term impacts of racial and gender disparities in the United States have created barriers within social sector and the investment community. Clear and equitable guidelines for funding must be set to benefit businesses run by Black women in sectors that can also benefit from fresh ideas and cultural impact.4 Dating back to 2019, Black women make up most of the women ownership share of businesses when clustered by racial and ethnic identity.5

Invest in Black women owned businesses to expand the economy. The racial wealth gap exists. It would take 228 years for Black families to build wealth equal to white families.6 Path to 15|55, a collaborative initiative, designed to help grow Black businesses and their communities has proved that if just 15% of Black-owned businesses are able to hire one more employee, the American economy could grow by $55 billion.7 Black businesses drive the American economy, so accessing resources from the public sector, both state and federal funding investments, can create long-term growth and sustainable success for Black women owned businesses.


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Structure your business for success. External interest in your business is often driven by your persona and expertise. Your business must be established and well connected or be so unique in the market to gain visibility in the investment community. Multiple pathways for resourcing include business relationships, access to capital (financial and social), and entrepreneurial skills that are valuable factors that interplay into one’s ability to manage and grow your business. 

In Nana Younge’s Black Women Entrepreneurs: Understanding the Challenges and Proposing Policy for Equitable Change, she states that even though Black women have the skills and talent to be successful business owners, that alone does not have sufficient value. However, it is the interconnect of skills, relationships, and capital – that fuels the successful entrepreneur. For Black women, the “entrepreneur formula” works when we have the same access to the three elements as women of other racial and ethnic groups have. 

Entrepreneurship enables the institutional manifestation of our values and passion in pursuit of profit and lifestyle. Sustainable success requires reset or reevaluation of how we generate revenue and well-being. Our radical trust in our capabilities is a stepping stone to revitalizing the economy and liberating ourselves to secure intergenerational wealth.