As an NGO headquartered in Washington, DC, supporting women-owned businesses globally, we want to raise awareness of the systemic inequality Black business owners face around the world. And in recognition of Black History Month, we want to remind people of the benefits of buying products and services from businesses owned by Black women.
Similar to all underrepresented groups, the data on businesses owned by Black women is very hard to find. Black women comprise approximately 13.7% of all women in the U.S., for example, but as business owners they represent 20% of all women-owned businesses, so they’re actually overrepresented either because of strong entrepreneurial tendencies and/or necessity because of an unwelcoming job market. Moreover, growth rates for American minority women-owned businesses are 10%, which is more than double the average.
Black women-owned businesses inside and outside of the U.S. offer jobs, creativity and innovative solutions. Women also tend to spend more of their money on their families and communities compared to men leading to a multiplier effect that benefits everyone. Black women business owners have inspiring stories to tell, but they rarely make the news and so we want to share some of them here:
Lola Adeyemi was an immigrant to Canada who never thought her Nigerian heritage would be so critical to her success. In November 2018, she founded It’s Souper, which offers authentic African-fusion flavors. Lola attended a WEConnect Academy program “Financing Your Growing Business,” which helped her overcome a weak point for It’s Souper–accessing capital. Next year, her products will be sold in Sobeys and another major retailer throughout Canada. Read more about Lola’s story.
Belukazi Nkala and Thabisile Mkhwanazi, are business partners who bring a strong combination of skills, experience and a commitment for managing and growing Khanyile Solutions locally and beyond South Africa. In 2009, they began their company by supplying Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). However, as they interacted with clients, they received varied requests for more tailor-made services. This is when they decided to become manufacturers, and Khanyile Solutions was born. They know that the connections that WEConnect International have exposed them to are valuable, and value being a part of conversations with member buyers. Read more about their vision.
Yemi Jackson launched her UK business after 20 years of experience as a senior executive in finance and IT to support the critical need for more engaged and diverse workplaces. Engage Transform’s mission is to increase placements of women and ethnic minorities in senior positions in finance and IT. Yemi believes talent has no gender, color or age. Recruitment, personal career development and provisioning permanent staff and contractors for IT and finance are her areas of expertise and she has made international placements with partners based in North America, West Africa and Europe. Because of WEConnect International, Yemi has increased her companies’ profile and enjoys collaborating with other women business owners in the global network.
It is easy to support equality by buying more products and services from Black woman-owned business today and every day. Seek out Black woman-owned businesses if you are a consumer or work with WEConnect International to procure more products and services for your organization. These efforts will help the businesses grow and puts more power and money into the hands of Black women-owned businesses. And if you are an American Black women-owned business selling business-to-business, consider getting certified through our American partner, WBENC. And all 51% owned, managed and controlled businesses are invited to register with us. Together, we will help open doors to opportunities!