Thursday night, I attended an event called Black & Latina Women in Civic Tech at Civic Hall and left enlightened and inspire. I can't remember the last time I was in a room with so many beautiful black women (and some beautiful men too) engaged in technology and entrepreneurship.
What is civic tech? Civic tech is the use of technology for public & social good and to make governments more efficient at resolving the issues of citizens. I like to think of it as using technology to benefit communities who have everything to gain and sometimes nothing to lose. I don't always spend $20 to attend an event I've never heard of, but when I do, it's usually for the advancement of black women.
The event was organized by Mutale Nkonde, Chief Visionary of Nkonde & Associates, who has dubbed 2015 the "Year of The Black Woman". The event introduced some stark statistics to me.
- Black women are very entrepreneurial -- we own approximately 1.1 mil businesses across many sectors. That is half of all black owned businesses and 42% of all women owned businesses. But 49% of black woman owned businesses and 47% of Latina owned business fail within a year, compared to 42% of black male owned businesses, 40% of white woman owned businesses, and 37% of white male owned businesses (U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners).
- Here's another: women hold 60% of the private wealth in the U.S and 51% of the stocks owned, yet only 1 out of ever 5 angel investors in the U.S are women.
- There are approximately 335,000 Black millionaires but only 15% are women.*
- Lastly, in the last five years, based on CrunchBase and AngelList data, black women owned or founded businesses have raised less that 0.1% of venture capital? To quote keynote speaker Kathryn Finney, that's basically zero.
#Bruh. Or should I say, Sis. Come, on!
Taking note on these unacceptable statistics, the women of the panel came together to inspire and catalyze some change. And so, the Year of the Black Woman was born, and today we are on day 81. The year of the black woman is trying to help women amass and sustain wealth through entrepreneurship and investment. Creator Mutale Nkonde also announced the launch of her upcoming summer startup series to help get black women businesses up and running from idea to IPO or exit. But she's not the first, nor the last. There's also digitalundivided, whose FOCUS Fellow "inculator" (incubator + accelerator) program has provided enough training, access to mentors, seed funding & support to put 1000 people into the tech pipeline. There's support out there if you only know where to go.
I am really glad I attended this event. I met some amazing women in tech and civic spaces, learned about some companies I've never heard of before but am glad to know of now and received great takeaways I'm still reflecting on.
Here are some more resources and interesting companies I learned about at the event:
If you know of any others, drop it in the comments below!
*This post has been update to fix an erroneous & misinterpreted face that was mentioned in the original statistic. Thankfully, there are way more than 10 black women millionaires.