There’s no secret that black female entrepreneurs are on the rise. In fact, they are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the world. According to the State of Women-Owned Business Support Report (2015), out of the 30% of women-owned businesses, African American women control 14% of these companies, or an estimated 1.3 million businesses, employing 297,500 workers and generating $52.6 billion in revenue.
Demarra Gardner is one of those black women who started her business in 2008. After years of offering organizational development and executive/life coaching services, she felt drawn to do something for aspiring and existing female entrepreneurs of color. “One night I literally woke up around 2 a.m. with this idea and then immersed myself in research for weeks. After a while, I discovered that there was no comprehensive, one-stop shop, business support programs for black women. That’s when Black Women About Business (BWAB) was born.”
BWAB is a year-long virtual and retreats learning space for black women who aspire to start a business or existing business owners who want to scale their businesses. Education, mentorship, access to funding, and more will be the focal point of BWAB. According to the website, one of BWAB’s value propositions is that at least 90% of BWAB services will be provided by black women. “That was something really important to me. To model that investing in each other is paramount. We don’t have to be divided to be successful in business. That crabs in a bucket mentality have got to stop,” Gardner says.
When asked why she felt compelled to start BWAB, outside of the vision she had in the wee hours of the morning, she expressed that the work was deeply personal. “I have immense pride in who I am as a black woman-it’s central to my identity. I want to provide a platform where black women can be exactly who they are and be wildly successful in business. In so many business spaces we feel forced to shrink. The lie we feed into is that we have to fit in to succeed. And I believe that our uniqueness, our authenticity, our vulnerability is what really makes us shine, not just in business, but in life.”
The inaugural BWAB program will begin on December 4. To be the first to know about their launch date please visit www.blackwomenaboutbiz.com. To stay up to date on what’s going on with black female entrepreneurs Like BWAB at www.facebook.com\blackwomenaboutbusiness\ or follow them @blackwomen_biz.
Born, raised and currently residing in Kalamazoo, MI with her husband and daughter, Demarra has been principal of Change Agent Consulting, an independent consulting practice since 2008. Ms. Gardner has built a national reputation as an entrepreneur, consultant, public speaker, and certified executive and life coach.