According to a report by the Center for Women’s Business Research, black women are part of the fastest growing entrepreneurial segment in the country growing at a rate of 191.4% from 1997 to 2007. Yet, few are founders of scalable tech enabled enterprises. The reasons why there’s few black women tech founders, despite a strong tendency towards entrepreneurship are numerous- lack of funding, lack of pipeline, geographical location. For every Heather Hiles, the charismatic founder of Pathbrite which is on it’s Series C round, or Kelle James, the bright founder of the online agricultural exchange Mercaris, which just closed a Series A round of $2.5 million, there’s thousands more at the beginning of the pipeline.
Below are nine awesome early stage tech startup founders who just happen to be black women. These entrepreneurs have the same strategic vision, technical skills, and experience investors look for in every founder with additional problem solving and network building skills developed through learning how to navigate external challenges like racism, sexism, and other “isms”. I know they’re awesome, because I worked with each of them through the FOCUS Fellow program, an intensive program for black women who are founders/co-founders of promising, scalable, early stage tech companies.
What makes Zuvaa innovative: Zuvaa is creating a unique, social shopping experience that connects customers around the world to African style. Zuvaa offers unique products from around the world as well as a community that embraces and engages the customer through meaningful cultural stories about each designer.
What makes Kelechi awesome: Kelechi is a social media and community engagement expert, having worked on a wide range of projects and clients, from EA Sports to the microelectromechanical systems and sensors trade association.
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