MADE Magazine Spring 2019 May 2019 - Page 46

MADEINC MADEXXX exceed $2.5 billion is only the second African- American woman to start her own network only after Cathy Hughes who built Radio One from the ground up and slept on the radio station floor for 18 months after losing her home in order to keep her business running. More recently, Hope Wiseman, Founder of Mary and Main, became the youngest Black cannabis dispensary owner in the U.S. after spending over $250,000 in licensing fees just to compete in a less than diverse industry. According to The 2018 State of Women- Owned Business Report, the number of women-owned businesses grew 58% from 2007 to 2018, and the number of firms owned by black women grew by 164%, nearly three times that rate. There are currently 2.4 million African American women-owned businesses in 2018. It’s exciting to consider what these numbers will look like in a decade with millions of women blazing the trail. According to Black Enterprise, within the next 45 years, black America may make up almost 20 percent of the U.S. population and own more than 2.5 million rapidly-growing enterprises. Every generation bears the responsibility of shortening the distance to the goal for the generation that comes after them. Years of people and initiatives have accelerated the progress of this generation of black girls that dream of owning their own businesses and leading innovation through entrepreneurship. Organizations like MADE Maven, Girls Who Code, Polished Pebbles, Girls with Gifts, National Urban League, EmpowHER Institute, The Gray Matter Experience, Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network (WEEN), Petals and Belles, The National Society of Black Engineers are resourcing the future of black business leadership for women and girls. The distance has been shortened. The idea of self-made is evolving. I, too, believe that I am my ancestor’s wildest dreams but for this generation of young black talent my dreams for them don’t feel that far- fetched. They seem real. I can see, touch, and feel them coming into fruition. The soil has been labored and countless programs, mentoring relationships, and journeys of inspiration have laid the foundation. Wealth creation seems close. Equity in corporate workplaces seems close because of diversity, equity, and inclusion executives like Ezinne Kwubiri , and Valeisha Butterfield Jones, and Wendy Lewis pushing companies to make diversity efforts real. Access to capital and seats at the table seem close because Arlan Hamilton and Backstage Capital is shortening the distance. Luvvie Ajayi shortening the distance through public speech coaching at the Do Better Academy and elevating the stories of black founders through social media. The reason why so many of us have had to be self-made is because we were ambitious but under resourced We should all be shortening the distance for the next generation as they redefine self-made. Across generations we are making the future of entrepreneurship together. Halleemah Nash is a social entrepreneur and impact executive operating as the Founder of Rosecrans Ventures, a startup that provides coaching and workplace navigation support to underrepresented Gen Z talent, and Chief Partnerships Officer of The Academy Group- a startup that invests in young people from under- resourced communities and prepares them to own, operate, and incubate highly successful companies across sectors. | 46