Black women are raising the bar for entrepreneurs

Black women discuss their successes as entrepreneurs and why they want to give back.

India Green, a junior media studies and production major, packages skincare products in her room at Beech International Village on Friday. | LUKE SMITH / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Black women are making extensive strides as entrepreneurs. 

In 2018, there were 2.4 million African-American women-owned businesses in the United States, according to The 2018 State of Women-Owned Business Report. 

Black women entrepreneurs are also succeeding as college students. At Temple University, Black women are making money off their passions while working towards their degree.

Many Black women have difficulty accessing credit and face capital constraints, according to the Federal Reserve. That makes it hard to get the necessary funding to grow. Still, Black women are the only racial or ethnic group with more business ownership than their male peers, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. 

“Black women all over the world have a strong backbone,” said Aziah Thompson, a senior public relations and strategic communication major. “We don’t take no for an answer. ‘No’ just means ‘not right now.’” 

Thompson is also an entrepreneur. She is the founder of Thompson’s Topic PR, through which she has worked as the media representative with Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and Boom 103.9, a hip-hop and R&B station. In the future, she plans to run her own public relations firm, while still being the head publicist. 

“Black women all over the world have a strong backbone. We don’t take no for an answer.”
Aziah Thompson

Thompson’s love for PR comes from her passion to connect with people and help inspire other business owners to do what they love. In the PR industry, she needs to have a strong backbone, she said.

“It’s all about being real, raw, and relatable,” Thompson added. 

India Green, a junior media studies and production major, developed the foundation of Urban Glow Cosmetics as a freshman through a class project and grew it to a business. Green’s interest in natural skin care began with trying to tame blemishes on her own face.

Green originally launched her website with two facial masks and has since added three new products: face wash, moisturizing oil and toner. Ultimately, Green wants to use her business to host conferences and retreats to empower women and promote self-care. 

“We are taught to put someone before us,” Green said. “People don’t really put themselves first. …I don’t think being selfish means that you have to neglect yourself.” 

Vanessa Chandler, a senior tourism and hospitality management major, started the brand Vanessa Gabrielle Makeup Artistry in January of 2018. Chandler found her love for makeup in high school and has since become a Philly-based makeup artist specializing in makeup for Black women.

“I market myself as that and branded myself as that because a lot of times women with darker skin tones are neglected,” Chandler said. “There aren’t products that cater to our skin needs. …I wanted to be the solution to that issue.”

Beyond makeup, Chandler hopes to build a reputation as an event planner and public speaker. Like Green, she intends to curate events for networking, empowerment and education for Black women.

“Being a Black woman is completely centered to who I am and every entrepreneurial adventure I embark on,” Chandler said. “I’m extremely inspired by Black women, and I surround myself with other Black women who are entrepreneurs.”

The 2018 State of Women-Owned Business Report” commissioned by American Express, the number of women-owned businesses grew 58 percent from 2007-18. The number of firms owned by Black women grew nearly three times that rate.

Dejah Davis, a senior communications major, is the CEO and founder of Too Much Cupcakes, an online bake shop. Davis began her love of baking her junior year of high school, selling cupcakes every week in order to give out five awards of $250 each to students in her graduating class. The shop began as a pledge drive to award books to her graduating class.

After graduating from Temple, Daviss’ ultimate plan is to start an award for young entrepreneurs who don’t otherwise have the funding, resources or guidance to do what they want, she said. She plans to pursue a career in graphic design in order to fund her businesses.

 “I want to provide a platform for entrepreneurs looking for more connection so we have this community of people going after excellence,” Davis said.

Her identity as a Black woman goes hand in hand with being a small business owner, but she is proud to be a small business activist Davis said.

“I don’t take no for an answer,” Davis added. “I go after whatever it is I want. There’s no time for me to stop.”

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to reflect that Vanessa Gabrielle Makeup Artistry started in January of 2018.

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