The National Women’s Business Council released a new report that identifies what’s holding black female entrepreneurs back. The answers aren’t all that surprising. As we’ve outlined in past reporting, women of color face more discrimination and have difficulty accessing funding. They also have fewer mentorship opportunities, the report says, and are often not connected to strong networks that might support or prop them up.
The ensuing recommendations for women of color (left out in the cold by a system that refuses to make way for them) are naturally a little depressing. They effectively tell black women to continue operating in the margins. The report says to try to expand your network, while also seeking out resources to self-mentor. Find role models to emulate, since you don’t have advisers. For raising capital, the report suggests crowdfunding and other nontraditional methods that may be less encumbered by personal biases.
Meanwhile, the report offers a broader set of proposals to bring more women of color into mainstream startup culture, including increasing the number of black female investors, building networks, and pushing for more business-centric curriculums at historically black colleges. But the onus to create these resources shouldn’t solely rest on isolated black communities. Traditional venture capital firms and accelerators should be looking for ways to bring women of color into their folds. RR