You know the saying; it takes money to make money, right? Starting up a business can be more complex than society makes it seems. Just start the business they say! But what happens when you’ve exhausted most of your personal funds to stay afloat of startup costs and marketing dollars?
To break these barriers our community must first know the value of our businesses and source resources and solutions for long-term funding. Venture capital is a private equity financing for startups, early-stage and emerging companies with high growth potential. It generally is funded by well-off investors, financial institutions, and investment banks. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, lack of capital is one of the leading reasons businesses fail to survive. Black women in particular makeup the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs, but face financial biases and a high rejection rate compared to their white counterparts. Furthermore, only 2% of venture capital funding go to female founders located in the United States.
Olamide Olowe is the 26-year-old founder of skincare brand, Topicals. In 2022 she became the 94th black female to raise over $1 million in seed funding -which is quite impressive given the statistics. "It took me about two years and probably close to a hundred pitches to get funding," she told The Insider. Her skincare line treats chronic conditions that can typically be difficult to cure and cause low self-esteem. During her fundraising, Olamide formed her business pitch to include thorough data as to why her products would be profitable and influential. And that she did! She’s gone on to launch campaigns that have garnered nationwide attention including instagram-worthy spokespersons, influencers, and music artists that can attest to her products.
What most women-led businesses lack is market opportunities, suggesting we start businesses to survive rather than fix a problem. Our lack of opportunity in the traditional workforce is often our desire for entrepreneurship, but these other jobs and responsibilities soak up much of our time and attention away from our businesses. Which then leads black women to think we HAVE to self-fund our business ventures to stay ahead of the curve. In actuality, we are doing ourselves a disservice.
We asked the Founder and CEO of Evals Equity, Dr.Rashae K Barnes, her take on women of color raising capital, here’s what she had to say:
GP: What are some key drivers you advise women to work on to stand out amongst venture capitalists?
Dr.Rashae K Barnes: “Know your market… Whatever industry you're in, you should be an expert.After you’ve mastered your field, put together a strong business plan with a target analysis, SWOT, and include what makes you stand out from your competition.”
GP: What would you tell the woman who is exhausted from rejection?
Dr.Rashae K Barnes: “Always go back and revise. The best thing about failure is knowing what not to do. The biggest thing is also asking for help because we don’t know it all -and it's okay to not know it all. Lastly, begin with the end in mind…meaning always have an end goal and never stop reaching for it”
Dr.Rashae K Barnes is a multifaceted business woman in the profession of people. She’s the senior publicist at Barnes Media Group working behind the scenes to ensure her clients, both celebrity and large media publications, garner the attention needed for remarkable success. Her newest business venture, Evals Equity, is a space for marginalized communities to gain access to business capital and appropriate funding resources. With the help of her newest ebook, she’s dropping all the GEMS needed to get your business funded. Filled with an investor list of over 5000 capitalist, business terminology, grants, and more! Check it out here.
In all, business wealth starts with building a robust business plan. We as a community of women have to strive for long-term business growth and not expect short gratification. Women like Olamide Olowe are raising over millions of dollars in venture capital and now getting exposure in global stores such as Sephora and Target. Understanding the importance of financial planning will take you one step closer to gaining the business capital needed for expansion.
Business Insider. “How a 26-year-old Black female founder raised $14.8 million in venture capital for her skincare brand, Topicals.” (November 10, 2022)
PitchBook, “The US VC Female Founders Dashboard.” (February 2019)
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Table 7. Survival of Private Sector Establishments by Opening Year.” (2022)