Providing access and opportunities for Black business owners is more critical than ever. The New Voices Foundation, a sister company of ESSENCE Ventures, remains committed to decreasing the many resource gaps for entrepreneurs of color. Here, we highlight three members of our New Voices family who are paving the way for the next generation.
Songe LaRon | Squire
LaRon, 38, thought finishing law school and entering the workforce was the dream—until he and his now business partner, Dave Salvant, realized they wanted more. “We wanted to do something impactful and meaningful with our lives, outside of working for big corporations and big companies,” says the New York–based entrepreneur. They came up with the idea for Squire, a business management system for barbershop owners. The app provides a digital safe space that helps both newer and more established entrepreneurs develop and expand their businesses with the necessary tools to streamline operations.
Diishan Imira | Mayvenn
The Oakland-based 42-year-old co-founder created Mayvenn in 2013, to meet a need he identified in the salon business. “My older sister is a stylist, and she wanted to sell the hair extensions she used daily,” he says. Imira’s ultimate goal is to reshape salon retail distribution culture. With a professional background in international trade, logistics and supply-chain management, he helps solve behind-the-scenes challenges of Black-hair business founders. Mayvenn is an offline-to-online retail solution, providing web and mobile point-of-sale applications that allow salons and stylists to sell products without the need to buy or hold inventory.
Eric Taylor | TRIDENT
Taylor, 34, is the founder, CEO and CIO of Trident, a private equity firm focused on acquiring U.S.-based small businesses in industrial, consumer and health care sectors. Growing up in Texas, he saw the effects of financial disparities in his family and wanted to make a difference for aspiring Black and Brown entrepreneurs. “The revolution must be funded,” says Taylor, who now lives in New York. “I think my part is creating access to capital, financial literacy and opportunity for people who never would have been given a look otherwise.” Trident uses technology to systematically reduce the racial wealth gap by incorporating diversity, equity and inclusion considerations to facilitate successful commercial outcomes.
Photo credits: courtesy of subjects