Black Business Women Charting A Path In Social Entrepreneurship
When you think of entrepreneurship, often the first thing that comes to its mind is meeting profit margins, prioritizing your bottom line…or in layman’s terms, making a lot of money. This isn’t the case for every business owner. Social entrepreneurship is an approach by individuals, groups, start-up companies, or entrepreneurs, in which they develop, fund, and implement solutions to social, cultural, or environmental issues—with the pervasive social issues plaguing society, this particular kind of black business entrepreneurship is on the rise.
With Black women leading the charge in the entrepreneurial sector, it comes as no surprise that there has been an uptick in social entrepreneurship among the group. Black women are the fastest growing demographic of entrepreneurs in the U.S., with nearly 2.7 million businesses nationwide as of late 2021– and a rising number of those businesses are centering the betterment of people.
Despite the already daunting challenges of being an entrepreneur, these Black women are making it their business to create the change they want to see.
01– Kelly Burton – Founder of Nexus Research Group and Founders of Color
Kelly Burton does it all. The political scientist and social critic is also the founder of Nexus Research Group, a social impact firm that works with foundations and large-scale nonprofits to help them catalyze change in local communities. Her newest venture is Founders of Color (FOC), a digital platform aimed at supporting Black startup founders to grow and scale their businesses. With thousands of members, they’ve helped many level up their companies to the million dollar range.
As the Founder and Executive Director of the Young, Black & Giving Back Institute (YBGB), Cooper’s mission is to provide young Black civic leaders with the tools they need to affect community and philanthropic change. She regularly spearheads educational programs and workshops that provide important information about fundraising, grassroots leadership, board creation, and organizing. Overall, she’s literally grooming the world’s next generation of great leaders.
The Chicago native said she launched Gray Matter, a national entrepreneurial experience program for high school students, when she saw the lack of resources and Black mentors available to young students interested in starting their own businesses. “It was concerning that although we were encouraging minority students to pursue entrepreneurship as a viable option, even as an adult, the coworking and incubator spaces I visited had very few, if any, people that looked like me. I decided Gray Matter would be the solution to changing the narrative and providing a solution to the knowledge, resource and access gap for founders of color, starting with the youth.” All programs consist of a series of engaging workshops consisting of team building activities, group and individual tasks, discussions, guest speakers, and fun and engaging field trips.
04– Yve-Car Momperousse — Kreyol Essence
Momperousse founded her beauty product company, Kreyol Essence, supports Haitian farm workers by sourcing her line’s key ingredients from the crops they grow. She says that “Social businesses have to be real businesses in order to have an impact.” The company’s key product is Palma Christi: Haitian Black Castor Oil. The creation of Kreyol Essence was driven by her mission to stimulate economic activity in Haiti, where she moved with her Haitian parents at a young age from the United States. “It’s not just about the business–it’s about creating a blueprint for poverty alleviation,” Momperousse said during her and her husband/business partner’s Shark Tank appearance, which landed them a large investment. To date, the brand has been recognized by celebrities and continues to pave the way for social entrepreneurs to help others while growing their business along the way.