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Black Women Entrepreneurs: Creating Jobs and Breaking Glass Ceilings

Updated: Jul 25, 2023

Today, black women entrepreneurs are making history by launching businesses, creating jobs, and shattering glass ceilings. These inspiring women are overcoming unique challenges to build successful enterprises.


Despite making up 12% of the U.S. female population, black women entrepreneurs are responsible for starting some of the most successful businesses in the country. Black women entrepreneurs are a force to be reckoned with. They are launching businesses at six times the national rate.


In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re highlighting 26 of the most inspiring and successful black women entrepreneurs you need to know about. We will explore the unique challenges black women entrepreneurs face and how they are making history. Finally, we will learn what you can do to support black women entrepreneurs in your community.


Dollar Sign Dollar Bills and Coins

Without further ado, here are our top 26 picks in no special order:


  1. Janice Bryant Howroyd: Founder and CEO of ActOne Group, a global employment agency.

  2. Lisa Price: Founder of Carol's Daughter, a beauty products company.

  3. Melissa Butler: Founder and CEO of The Lip Bar, a vegan and cruelty-free cosmetics brand.

  4. Kizzmekia Corbett: Immunologist and vaccine scientist who played a key role in developing a COVID-19 vaccine.

  5. Jewel Burks Solomon: Founder of Partpic, an app that uses image recognition technology to identify and locate industrial parts.

  6. Fawn Weaver: Founder and CEO of Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey, named after the first Black master distiller in the United States.

  7. Marjorie Perry: Founder and CEO of MZM Construction and Management Company, which specializes in construction management, general contracting, and facilities maintenance.

  8. Tara Fela-Durotoye: Founder and CEO of House of Tara International, a cosmetics and beauty brand based in Nigeria.

  9. Angela Benton: Founder of NewME, a startup accelerator that helps entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds build successful tech companies.

  10. Felecia Hatcher: Co-founder of Code Fever Miami, an organization that provides coding and entrepreneurship education to underrepresented youth.

  11. Shelly Bell: Founder of Black Girl Ventures, an organization that provides access to capital for Black and Brown women entrepreneurs.

  12. Marley Dias: Founder of #1000BlackGirlBooks, an initiative that collects and donates books featuring Black girl protagonists to schools and libraries.

  13. Arlan Hamilton: Founder and managing partner of Backstage Capital, a venture capital firm that invests in underrepresented founders.

  14. Mahisha Dellinger: Founder of Curls, a natural hair care product line.

  15. Lisa Jackson: Co-founder of LJ Cross, a luxury jewelry company.

  16. KJ Miller: Co-founder of Mented Cosmetics, a cosmetics line focused on beauty products for women of color.

  17. Monique Woodard: Founder of Cake Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm focused on investing in underrepresented founders.

  18. Regina Gwynn: Founder and CEO of TresseNoire, a mobile app that connects users with on-demand beauty services for Black women.

  19. Kelechi Anyadiegwu: Founder and CEO of Zuvaa, an e-commerce platform that sells African-inspired fashion and accessories.

  20. Beatrice Dixon: Co-founder and CEO of The Honey Pot Company, a plant-based feminine care line.

  21. Morgan DeBaun: Founder and CEO of Blavity, a media and technology company focused on Black millennials.

  22. Melissa Hanna: Founder and CEO of Mahmee, a maternal healthcare platform that connects new mothers with healthcare providers.

  23. Tiffany Aliche: Founder of The Budgetnista, a personal finance education platform for women.

  24. Dawn Dickson: Founder and CEO of PopCom, a technology company that develops automated retail kiosks.

  25. Candace Mitchell Harris: Co-founder and CEO of Myavana, a hair care company that uses technology to provide personalized hair care recommendations.

  26. Rosalind Brewer: CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance, the first Black woman to lead a Fortune 500 company.

What are some unique challenges black women entrepreneurs face?

One of the biggest challenges black women entrepreneurs face is obtaining access to capital. Research shows that female founders receive significantly less funding than their male counterparts. Black female founders are the most affected, receiving just 0.27% of total venture capital investments. This lack of access to capital limits the growth of these businesses and makes it harder for them to succeed. Black women entrepreneurs also face significant systemic barriers including:


Discrimination: Black women may face discrimination in various forms, including biased loan practices, lack of access to professional networks, and prejudice from potential customers and partners.


Lack of representation: Black women may not see themselves represented in leadership positions or entrepreneurial success stories, which can limit their belief in themselves and their ability to succeed.


Limited access to mentorship and networking opportunities: Black women may not have access to the same mentorship and networking opportunities as their white male counterparts, which can limit their ability to learn from experienced entrepreneurs and build critical relationships with investors, customers, and partners.


Despite these challenges, black women are continuing to start and grow businesses at a rapid pace, making significant contributions to the US economy.


How are Black Women Entrepreneurs Making History?

According to the 2021 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report commissioned by American Express, as of 2021, black women own an estimated 2.6 million businesses in the United States, representing 21% of all women-owned businesses. Motives for creating a new business include producing a source of income or following a dream.


Despite being one of the fastest-growing groups of entrepreneurs in the country, black women continue to face significant challenges in accessing capital, resources, and support for their businesses.


Your Turn

Here are some ways you can get involved:

  • Invest in black women-owned businesses.

  • Take the time to research and support these businesses with your dollars.

  • Volunteer with an organization or business that supports black women entrepreneurs.

  • Attend events and conferences to connect with black women entrepreneurs in your community.

  • Become an advocate for policies and programs that promote the success of black women entrepreneurs.

  • Network and mentor other black women entrepreneurs.

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