Black businesswomen are often “hidden figures”, who go unrecognised. As a result, they regularly do not receive the visibility and access to the same opportunities as others, despite possessing the expertise, drive and resilience required for success. When a spotlight is shone on these “hidden figures” their brilliance is visible to all.
Right now the news agenda is exposing the racial inequality that exists in all areas of life including the workplace, but continuing to shine a spotlight and support black businesswomen once the headlines are gone has never been more important. Hyve Dynamics CEO, Cecilia Harvey explains 5 ways to help support Black businesswomen once the headlines fade.
Financial investment is often the oil that allows businesses to lift-off and thrives, but this funding isn’t getting through to black women. Chelsea Crowder, a private wealth advisor with Goldman Sachs noted that in 2018, only 2% of venture capital investment dollars went to women-owned enterprises. That number goes down to 0.2% when looking at women of colour, and basically 0% for black women.
Investment is one of the best ways to support black female founders. Just like all entrepreneurs, funding is key to a successful business. There are so many investor-friendly tax schemes that are an excellent vehicle for investing. Also as an investor, you can also offer your valuable expertise which can contribute towards maximising return on investment.
Being a buyer of the products and services of black businesswomen is another great way to support. It’s also an opportunity to diversify vendors. Having various vendor options can minimise operational and financial risk to a business by having different options that can provide more favourable costs and improved service.
Tell other prospective clients and/or potential investors about black female-run businesses and refer black businesswomen for opportunities to join the boards of organisations. Boards need the expertise of qualified and diverse perspectives, something Hyve Dynamics has fully embraced. With a black, female CEO and as diverse board as any business could have, the sensory and robotics technology solutions challenger understands the commercial benefit of having a variety of perspectives and experience.
Referring to black businesswomen for speaking opportunities which would allow others to hear their unique perspectives and see them in leadership roles is another way to elevate these talented women. Lastly, simply leave meaningful LinkedIn recommendations that endorse their experience and skillsets.
Identify an opportunity to partner on a project. Collaboration can be an event (virtual or in-person) during which you can both leverage one another contacts or partnering to create a revenue-generating product or service. Collaboration is a great way to broaden one’s network and client base.
Leverage your social media and other platforms to help spread the word about black businesswomen. Support their social media posts by liking, retweeting, sharing and leaving positive comments. It’s a simple thing which can help build a profile.
Ask about the challenges of black businesswomen and determine how you can leverage your resources to support. Engagement provides a two-way dialogue that allows for empathy and action. Illuminate these hidden figures. Support black businesswomen by committing to actions that allow for equality of opportunity for all.