During the Wealth & Power experience at the 2022 ESSENCE Festival of Culture, ESSENCE News & Politics Editor Melissa Noel was joined by JPMorgan Chase Managing Director Brigitte Killings and Fearless Fund Co-Founder Arian Simone for a conversation all about the work being done to create more opportunities, resources and funding for Black women entrepreneurs.

Arian Simone: ‘Venture Capitalism IS Social Justice Because For Black People To Really Be Free, We Have To Be Economically Free’
Photo by Carl Lynch

“Right now when I think about what’s happening with entrepreneurship, there is no better time, probably, in the history of this country to take advantage of growing your passion than right now and be able to do that with the corporate resources that are out there in order to really help you to grow,” Brigette said, after giving a brief overview of JPMorgan Chase’s recent $30 billion racial equity commitment made in 2020 to close the racial gap in Black and Brown communities. “So, that’s one thing that the pandemic did do, it allowed people to sit back and think about what talents they had been given by the man above and grow those talents.”

Weighing in on the topic, Arian emphasized the fact that while Black women are currently the most-founded entrepreneur demographic, they are also the least-funded entrepreneurs across all industries.

Arian Simone: ‘Venture Capitalism IS Social Justice Because For Black People To Really Be Free, We Have To Be Economically Free’
Photo by Carl Lynch

“Where I am seeing advancements is that right now, we probably have more Black women that have raised more than $1 million in capital for their businesses, but the ratio in proportion to all other races is still so far behind,” she said. “So, support is definitely needed. We saw a lot of money get deployed right after the wake of George Floyd in 2020; a lot of people put intention on racial equity. But, we have noticed recently, according to a Fast Company article, that the dollars have stopped flowing, so, that has to be addressed. Because, when you stop a certain demographic from receiving capital, you’re widening the wealth gap.”

Check out the full conversation in the video above. For more of everything you missed at the 2022 ESSENCE Festival of Culture, visit our official video content hub HERE.

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