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So you’ve started a business. And after pouring your blood, sweat and tears into building the company now it’s time to determine how to attract investors and secure funding to continue growing. 

But as much as we want to grow, and scale fast, have you ever thought about how you would fare if investors – like VCs, angel investors, and bankers – were to evaluate your company? Speaking at the “Bossed Up” edition of the 2021 ESSENCE + GU Entrepreneurs Summit, experts Melissa Bradley (Managing Partner, 1863 Ventures) and Olamide Olowe, (Co-Founder and CEO, Topicals) shared all the tips and advice that will help you attract investors and get funding for your startup business. 

As one of few Black women who have raised over $1 million in venture capital dollars at just 23-years-old, Olowe encourages entrepreneurs to think differently about building their business. “So many people think that you should be thinking about the initial stages, but I always tell people to think about the end. Where do you really want to go? What do you want this business to turn into? Do you want to keep it in the family forever? Would you be okay with parting ways with it? Do you want to be a serial entrepreneur and do different things?”

On her fundraising journey, Olowe shared, “When you’re young and Black people think you’re seen as something to be cautious about, something to be worried about. It’s always charitable, people think that they need to do you a favor… when I got into the mindset that I wasn’t a charity case and that it was an opportunity for these investors to be apart of a company that was going to be successful, my tone shifted when I would pitch to people. Get on board or get left.”

Recently, event sponsor Goldman Sachs One Million Black Womenshared plans for its new initiative: $10 billion in investment capital to help narrow opportunity gaps for Black women over the next 10 years. The initiative is named for and guided by the organization’s goal of impacting the lives of at least one million Black women by 2030.

Bradley who is on the advisory board for the initiative shared, “There is a panel of advisory board members, many Black women and Black men who come together on a regular basis to reflect and access the strategy, review where they want to make investments — particularly the $10 billion dollars investments — and we’ve already made some investments in some funds. And we talk strategically about how we continue to deploy this money.”

She added, “Sign up for newsletters of people who are running programs, look at the variety of aggregated newsletters — The New Voices does an amazing newsletter where they aggregate all the grant programs — and talk to other entrepreneurs. The beauty is that everyone is usually looking for money, and if we connect the dots, we’re all going to be better off.”

Watch the full session in the video above for more gems.

The ESSENCE + GU Entrepreneur Summit is presented by Coca-Cola® and sponsored by Goldman Sachs One Million Black Women.


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