Updated: Jan 9
In the business and entrepreneurship world, few women are known for their revolutionary efforts and ventures. Although there is no shortage of businesswomen in today's society, the lack of diversity in boardrooms and behind the scenes is apparent. In terms of venture capital funding, only 2.6% of VC funding dollars went to women founders in 2020. Black women have always had a hand in shaping our nation's history, but are often left out of the spotlight. This list is an attempt to highlight the women entrepreneurs— soul sisters or allies, if you will — who are doing amazing things in the Black girl entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Here are 7 Black women on the rise that needs your full attention:
Ehime Egbe of SweetKiwi
Ehime never sought out to be an entrepreneur. She saw an opportunity when people enjoyed her sweet, delicious guilt-free ice creams. What kept Ehi in the game was her bandwidth for not taking no for an answer. She at first pitched to get SweetKiwi into Whole Foods, but Whole Foods rejected her. She returned a year later with a bit more experience and pitched again. Now her products are sitting on the Whole Food shelves!
Kendra Woolridge of Janet & Jo. LLC
Kendra used her passion for advocacy and nail polish to create Janet & Jo. LLC. After learning about the toxic ingredients in nail polishes, Kendra knew this was something she had to change. Having lost her mother and grandma to cancer, she now pays homage to her family with her Janet & Jo., nail lacquers that are 10-Free, vegan, and cruelty-free!
Takia Ross of Accessmatized
Takia Ross made #herSTORY the third-place winner of the first-ever National Beauty Pitch Competition sponsored by Rare Beauty Brands. She brings her high-energy as a make-up artist and the founder of Accessmatized and Kiki Thunda, a make-up line with a highly-pigmented liquid lipstick that is guaranteed to be long-lasting, water-resistant, and smudge-proof. Takia loves making her beauties feel beautiful while strutting their make-up what whichever room they choose to walk in, while feeling their most confident selves.
Gianne Doherty of Organic Bath Co.
Gianne also made #herSTORY the second-place winner of the first-ever National Beauty Pitch Competition sponsored by Rare Beauty Brands. When Gianne created Organic Bath Co., because she wanted to bring clean and healthy skincare products to the market, she discovered how unregulated the personal care industry was during her wellness journey. She further discovered the need for a wellness-focused destination that focused on community, education, and empowerment. So, she created the WELL Summit in 2015.
LaToya Stirrup Kazmaleje
LaToya is the Change Agent for the BGV Miami Chapter and owner and founder of Kazmaleje. The creator of lifestyle-amplifying tools and accessories for the natural hair care market. Their signature launch items are their line patent-pending detangling combs. They reduce the stress and breakage that many textured haired consumers experience when trying to detangle.
LaToya loves being able to bring creative solutions to the market that solves real, everyday problems. She believes that's the cornerstone of what it means to be an entrepreneur. You can find LaToya's products on QVC and HSN. And she was the recent winner of the Essence + Shea Moisture Power Tools Summit + NV Pit Competition, where she won $20k.
Vernee Hines of UpBrainery
Vernee Hines is on a mission to disrupt the educational system. She co-founded UpBrainery Technologies, a technology ecosystem that disrupts academic and classroom norms through their proprietary technology. Vernee is focused on eliminating historical education biases, to level the playing field for underrepresented students, and provide a technology solution that reaches even the most disconnected student. She believes that learning should be fun, despite socioeconomic status, gender, and race, absent of biases so that every child has the opportunity to reach their fullest potential.
Christa Clarke of Cubicles to Cocktails
Christa Clarke is the Founder of Cubicles to Cocktails. A project management professional, Christa was inspired by post-work happy hours with her friends and mentor to launch Cubicles to Cocktails in 2018. Happy hour was the space for her to share and gain advice on navigating corporate life as a Black woman.
It's a career development platform curating resources, tools, and events to advance the careers and celebrate Black + Brown women's cultures. Christa believes that every woman deserves the network and resources to enable them to excel in their careers. She joined Fox26 Houston WakeUp! with Sally Mac and Lina to discuss Equal Pay Day for Black Women and how Cubicles to Cocktails is empowering women to take control of the financial trajectories of their lives.
BGV looks forward to seeing these incredible women deepen their strides in 2021!
Subscribe to the Digital Orange Juice for juicy ideas and the people who fund them. You can find out about our next pitch competitions here. Don't forget to check out the SheRaise platform for more pitch events.