According to Fortune Magazine, “The number of businesses owned by African American women grew 322% since 1997, making black females the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S.”. My entrepreneurship journey has been slow and steady, but is something that I learned long ago was one of the most valuable journeys I could embark on in my career. At the heart of the growth of not only African-American women owned businesses, but women business owners is the overarching goal of legacy. At the core, women are starting to realize how important their roles of leaving strong legacies, not only in the home but in the workforce.
It does not surprise me that African-American women are one of the fastest emerging demographics as entrepreneurs. In recent years, most women have been migrating back to the workplace at a larger rate whether from necessity or choice. Women have been the established pillar in the home for centuries as nurturers and cultivating an environment of growth and productivity. With the flux of women in the workplace full-time, they have often been encouraged to place these characteristics aside in order to climb and excel in the workplace. In corporate America this stigma can be hard to overcome for many women. The realization that entrepreneurship allows women to bring the beautiful balance of values realized throughout the entire brand, ethics, flexibility, and feedback shines the light on its necessity in business today.
For decades, the economic environment has been dominated by Fortune 500 companies. Organizational culture, strategic plans and company values have been developed by corporates as the ideal, but not a realistic experience for employees or throughout the entire brand of the company. With a shifting workforce of millennials moving into more positions of leadership and paving the way for generation Z, companies can no longer just state these values, but need to embody them from culture and interaction with clients. Entrepreneurship gives the opportunity to create a legacy that can not only be remembered, but passed down to the next generation. As an entrepreneur, we not only have an opportunity to mold and shape these important company aspects, but pass them on. A thriving business, built on a strong business model not only speaks volumes but can continue on for generations. Women, especially women of color are stepping up to this call!
When I started on this entrepreneurship journey in 2009, it was never about being a wealthy mogul. While earning a living and making a profit is key, entrepreneurship was always about being able to establish a company that was built on integrity, diversity and service. Practicing in a field where there are not a lot of opportunities for African American females has been disheartening. As, an entrepreneur, I wanted the opportunity to pave the way and be able to bring minorities women into the field and provide them opportunities to thrive and use their skills in design, especially commercial design. I encourage more women to step out in faith and also embark on this journey. This journey is not just for you, but those coming after you!