March 1st is Black Women’s Day, a day that lies at the intersection of Black History Month and Women’s History Month. This day is centered around celebrating the fierce, gritty strength of Black women who came before us, while inspiring young Black girls looking for us to pave new paths. And if this past year has proved nothing else, it’s proved that Black women are ready to rise up now more than ever.
While being the driving force in their communities and shaping the world, Black women have shown they are more than capable of smashing ceilings, gracefully. As you read this piece, Vice President Kamala Harris is currently seated in the second-highest U.S. national office as the first Black and Asian-American woman, and a Black woman scientist is making headlines for her contributions to the Covid-19 vaccine. Black women are tapping into their power, and it’s evident in the rise of Black women entrepreneurs as well.
The Rise of Black Women Entrepreneurs
Black women represent 42% of new women-owned businesses. That’s three times their share of the female population—and 36% of all Black-owned businesses. As Black women have broken through the barriers of corporate advancement, there has also been a significant shift toward entrepreneurship.
Quickly becoming a true economic force, the majority of Black, women-owned firms grew 67% from 2007 to 2012, compared to 27% for all women, and 50% from 2014 to 2019, representing the highest growth rate of any female demographic during that time frame.
Black women have been outpacing other racial and ethnic groups when it comes to creating new companies, and now is the time to pay it forward and support budding businesses, including those with Black, woman ownership.
There are so many ways to honor Black Women’s Day and pay it forward for other woman-owned, Black businesses. Think about creating a scholarship or internship program, nominate people for awards, or host special events. Share credible resources for funding in the form of grants, loans or contests — like the Build Your Legacy contest powered by ESSENCE and Pine-Sol.
Here are a few additional ways you can lend your support and help build the strong legacy of Black woman-owned businesses:
Become a mentor
Share your experience by joining a digital community for entrepreneurs and offer mentorship to new businesses finding their way. Consider offering your expertise through your website and your own social channels as well. Simply posting your advice and sharing it online will not only expand your current community, but it will also establish credibility and thought leadership for your brand.
Pay it forward
When we support one another, that’s when magic happens. Referring potential customers or clients to other small, Black-owned businesses for different products or services can have a huge ripple effect on their company and yours. You can even take it a step further by partnering with a group of businesses to offer promotions when consumers complete a purchase from all of you.
Give back and share resources
Gather your team together and brainstorm ways to build up your community and the businesses within it — involving your staff from the start of any initiative will boost morale and get everyone excited for the project. Consider volunteering as a group at a local organization, host a food drive, donate books, toys, clothes, and so much more. Get creative and always remember to pour into the community you serve. All it takes is your first small step, then another and soon you’ll be blazing new paths for future generations while paying homage to the Black women who laid a strong foundation.