Your support for black women shouldn’t stop once March is over

Entrepreneurship can solve some of the biggest social and economic challenges of our time, especially for black Americans. It’s an uphill battle, but it comes with rewards that black women deserve.

I am the founder and CEO of Care Content Inc., a digital marketing agency for the healthcare industry. In addition to being an entrepreneur, I am a black mother, wife and woman. I have seen and experienced firsthand the challenges black women entrepreneurs face everywhere. As Women’s History Month is underway, we must make lasting commitments to Black women. One of the best ways to achieve this goal is to ensure that Black women entrepreneurs, like me, have the resources, community, and financial literacy to thrive.

I’ve been lucky enough to run my business for several years now, but most women like me haven’t. Although nearly 17% of new businesses are started by black women, only 3% of these businesses mature and stay longer than three years.

The pandemic has shone a light on how crucial black women entrepreneurs are to our communities. Like most working moms, I had to find a way to keep my business afloat while homeschooling. There simply weren’t enough hours in the day to be a full-time business owner, parent, and teacher. But as owner, I had the freedom to restructure our team’s workflow so my employees and I could put our personal health and our families first. If I didn’t own the business, I couldn’t have done it.

As a black woman, freedom (and those wonderful quarterly distributions) is one of the biggest perks of being an entrepreneur.

I don’t need to change any code. I can set my own income goals. I can be there for my husband and my children. I can take breaks to take care of myself. I can declare vacation from meetings or anything. If I get sick, I take time off. I don’t need to ask anyone’s permission to do this, and my income continues to grow. I have a reliable team and handpicked clients. It saves what many black women consider our most valuable resource: our time.

Despite being the backbone of our country’s economy, black women entrepreneurs face more barriers to business ownership than other groups. According to a Goldman Sachs study, less than 1% of black women own their own business. Additionally, the United States Census Bureau’s Annual Business Survey and Non-Employer Demographics (NES-D) reveals that 96% of Black-owned businesses are run by sole proprietors, including more than half are led by black women.

It’s clear that black female solopreneurs are the bedrock of black entrepreneurship. It’s a problem. Black women can’t get stuck in solo entrepreneurship. Individual entrepreneurs often struggle to scale their business because they have to do it all: sales, financial management, marketing, as well as delivering the actual service or product. They struggle to grow unless they work to the bone. I say. I was here.

The key to tackling the racial wealth gap head-on is providing Black women entrepreneurs, especially solo entrepreneurs, with the resources to create jobs and grow profitable businesses. This way we can lead the orchestra, not play all the instruments. Programs like Goldman Sachs 10,000 small businesses and One Million Black Women:
black in business providing tools and support not just to grow a business, but to thrive.

Entrepreneurship is not just a way for black women to overcome these racial and gender disparities, but it is crucial for our economy. Closing the wage gap for black women can create 1.2 to 1.7 million jobs in the United States and increase GDP by $300 billion to $525 billion. As we look to the future, investing in black women entrepreneurs is a key part of rebuilding our country’s economy.

Black women are building businesses faster than any other demographic and they support our families, our communities and the economy. But for black women to truly thrive as entrepreneurs, our support for black women entrepreneurs shouldn’t stop once March is over. Black women are resilient, capable and innovative, just like our businesses. We need to uplift black female entrepreneurs because when we thrive, so does everyone else.

Kadesha Smith is the founder and owner of CareContent, Inc. and an alumnus of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses.

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