Last week I had the privilege to attend a briefing on Capitol Hill to hear the results of a three year study on Women of Color Business Owners presented by the Center for Women’s Business Research. I was interested in this two day event for a number of reasons, one, because I am an independent book publisher and two because it’s part of the work I do for my firm’s supplier diversity program. What I found most fascinating was that these statistics had never been gathered before. I was a part of history on Capitol Hill that day. It boggles my kid’s mind that they live in a day in age where we still participate in Black History “firsts.
It was very disheartening to hear that the AVERAGE annual revenue for African-American business owners was only $38,000.
Hearing the testimony of women of color business owners was very enlightening. A few threads that I caught throughout the conference was that they were expected to “out perform” other women in terms of proving themselves worthy of credit and capital, they gave up marriages in many cases, they started business that were not far from their former careers.
I was really touched to hear some powerful and moving stories of true grit. All of the speakers were inspiring. I especially enjoyed the words of the great-great-granddaughter Madame C.J.Walker. I was impressed to see how the legacy of Madame Walker was alive right before my eyes, to empower women to start businesses and simultaneously give back to the community.