August 3 marks Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, bringing awareness to a socioeconomic impediment that requires the expertise of entrepreneurial leaders to solve.
Just two years ago, Black women-owned businesses were found to have earned only $24,000 in revenue, while non-minority, women-owned businesses earned $218,800, according to the American Express State of Women-Owned Businesses Report.
Reform in this area could bring a monumental economic impact. If the average revenue of minority, women-owned businesses matched that of white, women-owned businesses, 4 million new jobs and $981 billion in revenue would be created.
We asked participants from the first cohort of the Black Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Program—a new Babson College accelerator that helps Black women entrepreneurs scale their businesses—about action they are taking through their work to close this gap and what allies can do to collectively help.
What steps are you taking to close the revenue gap for Black women entrepreneurs through your endeavors?
Janice McLean DeLoatch, TheBlackShoppingNetworks.Com: “I have created The BlackShoppingNetworks.Com™ that features services such as low-cost website development, search optimization, national advertising, business spotlighting, low-cost liability insurance, and minority small business resources to protect, manage, sustain, and grow businesses. The BlackShoppingNetworks.Com does and will provide affordability, recognizability, market reach, and access to financial and community resources to shape and sustain any small minority-owned business. This will enable minority women-led ventures the opportunity to grow their businesses and save on costs that would otherwise be costly, allowing them to close the revenue gap in expenditures that can be utilized to expand and invest in their businesses.”
Precious Williams, Perfect Pitches by Precious: “I am incorporating into my training and programs the ability to know your worth AND actually ASK for your worth with confidence. I also teach my sisters how to be on their ‘inner Kanye’ in refusing to be boxed into a certain role as the mule. Just as Kanye could not be just classified as a rapper, he demanded to be seen as a creative director, producer, designer, and all-around phenomenal talent. There is more to all of us than just our titles. We have to be prepared to play the game to win or walk away. Demand and assert your worth, ask for it, and be prepared either way. You must know going rates and how you meet or exceed those and deserve more.”
What can Black male entrepreneurs, as well as non-minority entrepreneurs and allies, do to help close this gap?
McLean DeLoatch: “Help to invest and create funding and financing options that are not based on old-world and old-school credit, and financing products and restrictions that usually bar women and minorities from accessing funding and resources that are critical for upstart minority and women-led companies.”
Williams: “They can advocate for Black women entrepreneurs by referring them for great opportunities, warmly introduce them to power players, and open the door for them. By providing opportunities for these women to shine, prepping them beforehand, and making sure that in advance they have these women’s credentials and knowledge of their secret sauce and how it can benefit new clients and customers, they are paving the path. We cannot do it alone. We need champions who will do it afraid or not so that we all create generational and entrepreneurial legacies.”
What are the benefits an equal revenue dynamic can bring to society as a whole?
McLean DeLoatch: “The opportunity to see what women can create and improve upon when allowed to be on par with males and non-minority entrepreneurs. The BlackShoppingNetworks.Com has the ability to be on par with Amazon, but lack of financing and slow access to financial funding has stalled the efforts of where this platform should be preparing for the next level for our company, as well as those of the merchants on our website. Although funding does come in, the effect that realization of enough funding will enable TheBlackShoppingNetworks.Com to support the merchants/vendors on its website who also are investing in their communities that helps improve the world overall.”
Williams: “The benefits of equal revenue in society include showing the next generations that women and men should be paid the same for the same amount of work. Another benefit is that women will take more pride in themselves and fully embrace their seat at the table and encourage other women to do the same. It can lead to happier homes, less stress financially, and affords women new confidence to go even harder for their dreams so others who come behind them will truly benefit!”
Posted in Campus & Community