The Crusader Newspaper Group

Your support of Black women shouldn’t stop once March ends

Entrepreneurship can solve some of the largest social and economic challenges of our time, especially for Black Americans. It’s a challenging uphill battle, but it comes with rewards that Black women deserve.

I am the founder and CEO Care Content Inc., a digital marketing agency for the healthcare industry. On top of being an entrepreneur, I’m a mother, a wife, and a Black woman. I have seen and experienced first-hand the challenges that Black women entrepreneurs everywhere face. As Women’s History Month is underway, we must make long-lasting commitments to Black women. One of the best ways we can accomplish this goal is ensuring that Black women entrepreneurs, like myself, have the resources, community, and financial education to thrive.

I have been fortunate enough to have run my business for several years now, but that is not the case for most women like me. Although nearly 17% of new businesses are started by Black women, only 3% of these businesses mature and stay longer than three years.

The pandemic shined a spotlight on how crucial Black women entrepreneurs are to our communities. Like most working mothers, I had to figure out how to keep my company afloat while homeschooling. There were simply not enough hours in the day to be a full-time business owner, parent, and teacher. But as the owner, I had the liberty to restructure our team’s workflow so my employees and I could put our personal health and our families first. If I did not own the business, I would not have been able to do that.

As a Black woman, freedom (and those wonderful quarterly distributions) is one the top benefits of being an entrepreneur.

I don’t have to code-switch. I can determine my own income goals. I can be present for my husband and children. I can take self-care breaks. I can declare a vacation from meetings—or everything. If I get sick, I take time off. I don’t have to ask anyone for permission to do this, and my income still grows. I have a reliable team and cherry-picked clients. This saves what many Black women consider to be our most valuable resource—our time.

Despite being the backbone of our nation’s economy, Black female entrepreneurs face more barriers to business ownership than other groups. According to research from Goldman Sachs, less than 1% of Black women own their business. What’s more, the U.S. Census Bureau Annual Business Survey and Non employer Statistics by Demographic (NES-D) find that 96% of Black-owned businesses are run by sole proprietors, of which over half are Black-women led.

It’s clear that Black women solopreneurs are the foundation of Black entrepreneurship. This is a problem. Black women cannot get stuck in solopreneurship. Soloprenuers often struggle to scale their businesses because they have to do everything—sales, financial management, marketing, plus delivering the actual service or product. They struggle to grow unless they work themselves to the bone. I know. I’ve been there.

The key to addressing the racial wealth gap head-on is to provide Black women entrepreneurs, especially solopreneurs, with the resources to create jobs and scale profitable businesses. That way, we can conduct the orchestra, not play all the instruments. Programs like Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses and One Million Black Women:
Black in Business provide tools and support to not just grow a business, but to thrive.

Entrepreneurship is not only a means for Black women to overcome these racial and gender-based disparities but it is crucial for our economy. Closing the wage gap for Black women can create 1.2 to 1.7 million U.S. jobs and increase GDP by $300 to $525 billion. As we look towards the future, investing in Black women entrepreneurs is a key component in rebuilding our nation’s economy.

Black women are starting businesses faster than any other demographic and they are supporting our families, communities, and the economy. But for Black women to truly thrive as entrepreneurs, our support of Black women entrepreneurs should not stop once March ends. Black women are resilient, capable and innovative, and so are our businesses. We must uplift Black women entrepreneurs because when we thrive, so does everyone else.

Kadesha Smith is the founder and owner of CareContent, Inc. and an alumna of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses.

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