Getting your funding in order is half the battle for many entrepreneurs in the early stages of launching a business. It was also a key topic addressed during the inaugural ESSENCE + New Voices Entrepreneur Summit and Target Holiday Market in Atlanta.

Yelitsa Charles, a Rhode Island School of Design alum and the child of Haitian immigrants, created her brand, Healthy Roots Dolls, to help young girls learn to embrace their curly/wavy hair.

During an incredibly insightful panel discussion titled, An Entrepreneur’s Journey: Accessing Aligned Capital, the New Voices-funded entrepreneur sat alongside Fearless Fund co-founders Keshia Knight Pulliam and Arian Simone as she recounted some of her own experiences while working to raise half a million dollars for her venture.

Photo by Shekeidra Booker

In addition to taking risks and applying to multiple funding opportunities, Yelitsa stressed the importance of getting her product into the marketplace as well as the positive impact finding her tribe made on her business.

“2017 was really challenging for me,” she confessed. “But 2018 got better as soon as I started talking to more people and connecting with other female founders, because we could talk about our problems and they could be like, ‘oh, I know so and so.’ Even the ability to have a conversation about what you’re dealing with, so you don’t go on Twitter about it [was helpful].”


Be sure to head back to ESSENCE.com for more of everything you missed at the first-ever ESSENCE + New Voices Entrepreneurship Summit and Target Holiday Market.

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