Day 1 of the ESSENCE + New Voices Entrepreneur Summit was chocked full of inspiring and informative conversations. ESSENCE Modern Wealth Editor Marquita Harris led a thorough discussion about funding your business venture during the Entrepreneur’s Journey: Accessing Aligned Capital panel with Fearless Fund co-founders Keshia Knight-Pulliam and her partner and serial entrepreneur, Arian Simone, along with Healthy Roots Dolls founder, Yelitsa Charles.
Through the Fearless Fund, the Spelman alum and entrepreneur who came to prominence as Rudy on the iconic TV series, The Cosby Show, along with her partner Arian, helps fund women of color entrepreneurs at the pre-seed, seed level or series A funding stage of their venture.
“We happen to be the first for us by us fund specifically investing in women of color. So we’re very proud of that,” Keshia told the crowd. “We just saw a gap and we knew we wanted to be part of the solution because if you’re not, you’re part of the problem.”
Arian, a Florida A&M grad who ran a clothing retail store while she was in college, encouraged women to join she and Keshia on the investment side of businesses.
“We have very few of us on our side,” Arian said. “For those who are interested, definitely read up on venture capital, read up on anything in finance industry . . . just start researching on ways to invest.”
“Don’t let fear stand in the way. We are the Fearless Fund for a reason,” Keshia added.
Closing out the conversation, she elaborated further to share how she gets through those fears, encouraging the crowd to embrace them.
“You have to lean in,” Keshia said. “Everyone has them but you have to embrace them, and you can’t let it stop you. Just because you have anxiety or any of these things, don’t let it paralyze you; you have to move through it. At some point, everything was unknown. So just because this is currently unknown, once you move through, it no longer will be.”
Be sure to head back to ESSENCE.com for more of everything you missed at Day 1 of the ESSENCE + New Voices Entrepreneur Summit and Target Holiday Market.