African American businesswomen and bosses-in-the-making will relish 50 Billion Dollar Boss: African-American Women Sharing Stories of Success in Entrepreneurship and Leadership. Written by Kathey Porter and Andrea Hoffman, the book serves as a veritable resource for women on the road headed towards entrepreneurship. All the pertinent chapters are there: mentorship, funding, partnerships, branding, etc., but the authors took it a step further. Each chapter revolves around a woman whose journey speaks to a particular area that aspiring entrepreneurs have either experienced or more than likely will experience in the future.
According to Hoffman, who is a strategist, business development veteran and the founder of consultancy Culture Shift Labs, given the current state of women-owned businesses, the book was a no-brainer.
”We came across a study by American Express that really inspired the book. It was about women entrepreneurs and it indicated that Black women, since 1997, had generated $50 billion for the American economy,” Hoffman told TNJ.com in a recent interview. “We didn’t have to go much further in the research to talk about the economic power and the economic engine that Black women entrepreneurs are. We got excited to ask ourselves the question, Do Black women know their own power? We figured, Probably not, so this book is even more important than we thought it was.”
Porter, a supplier diversity director and expert on small business development, supplier diversity and entrepreneurship, agrees. She shared with TNJ.com that only recently, in writing the book, did she realize that Black women were outpacing other groups when it comes to starting businesses.
Says Porter, ”The biggest takeaway for me was the sheer amount of African American women that were starting businesses and the revenue theyve generated since that metric had started being tracked in 1997. In my circle, I knew there were a lot of women starting businesses and doing a lot of things, but I did not have an appreciation for the depth and the pace at which women were leading. So when you look at all women-owned businesses, Black women were leading the pack. That was truly an eye-opening revelation. That is when I knew this project was something people would be interested in.”
And she was right. The feedback from readers has been tremendous.
It was rewarding to meet all of the women that were in the book, but also to meet women at book signings who are embracing the book. Many of them told me that they have been studying the book, page by page, and that it is something they were looking for. They’ve said they are taking it to task to see how they can apply the stories in each chapter to their own personal situations. And that is exactly one of the outcomes I had hoped for; that the book would be a resource for somebody, she shares.
50 Billion Dollar Boss features women who have founded companies from a variety of industries such as retail, marketing, finance, construction and more, and the authors illustrate each chapter through the personal lens of those women who have lived it.
In Chapter 4, for example, Yolanda H. Caraway is cited for her knowledge of mentoring. In the pages that follow, she shares how she has benefited from numerous mentor relationships over her many years in business and politics, and how she pays this forward to upcoming public relations professionals, Porter and Hoffman write.
In Chapter 3, Monif tells her story of how she was able to brand and build a business around her passion and why being her own customer was the value proposition that she brought to the market, the authors say about Monif Clarke, founder and CEO of Monif C. Plus Sizes.
Twyla Garrett, in Chapter 7, is referenced for her intimate knowledge of finance. The President and CEO of IME, Inc. Garrett shares how she overcame immense personal challenges to start several business ventures and earn a reputation for self-funding most of her business deals.
Chock-full of stats, surveys, hope, and triumph, 50 Billion Dollar Boss brilliantly makes the case for women toying with the idea of becoming business owners to just go for it. Also, the last chapter contains “resources on programs, agenices, and organizations that support women-owned businesses.”
All in all, readers will walk away with the answers to why they should start businesses.
”The most rewarding part of writing the book was hearing their stories and recognizing that they are everyones stories and we wanted to share them with current and future generations; the future generation, to give them a roadmap to make it easier for them; and the current generation because sometimes they feel like they want to quit because the road gets too hard and the vision gets lost,” Hoffman shares. “We wanted to let them know they are not alone; there are people they can speak to, resources they can learn about to keep them encouraged and engaged. We wanted to let them know how powerful they are as a collective group and, therefore, not to give up.”