CHASING THEIR DREAMS

March 24, 2018 at 5:00 am

Black women in tech are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs, shattering the glass ceiling while chasing their dreams. As part of the multi-platform reporting initiative “Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America,” Esosa Ighodaro, co-founder of Black Women Talk Tech conference, and Chana Ginelle-Ewing, Co-Founder and CEO of GeenieBox, are here to share their stories.

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Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America is a multi-platform public media initiative that provides a deeper understanding of the impact of poverty on American society. Major funding for this initiative is provided by The JPB Foundation. Additional funding is provided by Ford Foundation.

 

Aired on March 23, 2018. 

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>> IF I TOLD YOU BLACK WOMEN
ARE THE FASTEST GROWING GROUP OF
ENTREPRENEURS IN THE UNITED
STATES, WOULD YOU BELIEVE ME?
WELL, GUESS WHAT?
IT'S TRUE.
THE NUMBER OF BUSINESSES OWNED
BY AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMEN HAS
GROWN BY 322% SINCE 1997.
THIS YEAR, BETWEEN BLACK HISTORY
MONTH AND THE BEGINNING OF
WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH, WOMEN OF
COLOR UNITED AT THE ANNUAL BLACK
WOMEN TALK TECH CONFERENCE.
WITH THE SPOTLIGHT ON BLACK
FEMALE FOUNDERS IN TECH, THE
TWO-DAY CONFERENCE FOCUSED ON
PROMOTING BLACK GIRL MAGIC IN AN
INDUSTRY LED BY PREDOMINANTLY
WHITE MALES.
THEIR GOAL?
TO HELP WOMEN BUILD THE NEXT
BILLION DOLLAR COMPANY.
SO WAS IT A SUCCESS?
OUR ONGOING CHASING THE DREAM
INITIATIVE, POVERTY IN AMERICA
TAKES US TO THE CONFERENCE FOR A
LOOK AT HOW WOMEN OF COLOR ARE
SHAKING UP THE INDUSTRY ONE
START UP AT A TIME.
JOINING ME NOW IS ONE OF THE
FOUNDERS OF THE CONFERENCE AND
FOUNDER OF JEANNIE BOTS.
WELCOME TO BOTH OF YOU.
>> THANK YOU.
>> FIRST TELL ME ABOUT THE
CONFERENCE YOU WERE AT, WHAT
MADE THIS SO UNIQUE AND SPECIAL?
>> I THINK THE BIGGEST THING
ABOUT THE CONFERENCE IS THAT IT
WAS REALLY THE SECOND TIME EVER
AND THE FIRST TIME WAS FLASHIER
WHEN WE DID THIS, THAT WE EVER
HAD BLACK WOMEN TECH FOUNDERS
ALL IN ONE ROOM, THAT'S NEVER
HAPPENED BEFORE, ARE IT?
>> AND JUST SO WE'RE CLEAR, HOW
BIG OF A ROOM WAS THIS?
WAS THIS LIKE A FULL ROOM?
>> YEAH, YEAH ACTUALLY.
WE HAVE AN ACTUAL SCREENING
PROCESS OF WHERE WE VET THE BEST
ENTREPRENEURS AT THE RIGHT STAGE
WHO ARE DOING THEIR BUSINESSES
FULL-TIME TO JOIN US.
AND WE HAD OVER 300 PEOPLE IN
THE ROOM AND OVER -- SO MANY
PEOPLE WE COULDN'T FIT BECAUSE
OF THE SPACE CAPACITY.
SO WE OUTGREW IT AGAIN, SO IT
JUST GOES TO SHOW HOW MANY BLACK
WOMEN ARE WORKING ON AMAZING
GAME CHANGING COMPANIES THAT
MOST PEOPLE DON'T EVEN HEAR
ABOUT.
>> CHINA, TELL US ABOUT SOME OF
THESE COMPANIES THAT WOMEN ARE
STARTING AND I ASSUME BLACK
WOMEN ARE SUPPORTING, BUT MAY
NOT BE GETTING THE ATTENTION
THAT OTHER COMPANIES DO.
>> BLACK WOMEN ARE STARTING SO
MANY COMPANIES IN SO MANY
DIFFERENT STAPACES, AR, TECH, S
WE ARE STARTING COMPANIES ACROSS
THE GLOBE IN ALL SPACES.
ONE THING THAT PEOPLE THINK THAT
YOU NEED TO BE ABLE TO DO IN
ORDER TO START A TECH COMPANY IS
KNOW HOW TO CODE, BUT MANY OF US
ARE FOUNDERS WHO EITHER START
TECH ENABLED COMPANIES OR WE ARE
THE BUSINESS END AND BOTH OF US,
WE'RE NOT CODERS, BUT WE BOTH
HAVE TECHNOLOGY COMPANIES.
SO YOU CAN BE IN THE TECH SPACE
IF YOU HAVE BUSINESS ACUMEN, IF
YOU KNOW MARKETING.
YOU DON'T NECESSARILY HAVE TO
KNOW HOW TO CODE IN ORDER TO BE
IN THE SPACE.
>> ONE OF THE THINGS I WANT TO
LET YOU TOUCH ON THAT AS WELL.
BUT VERY QUICKLY ONE OF THE
THINGS I DO WANT TO SORT OF GET
TO IS WHAT IS IT THAT BLACK
WOMEN BRING TO THE BUSINESS
WORLD, TO THE TECH SPACE THAT
OTHER GROUPS MIGHT NOT BE
BRINGING TO, IS IT CERTAIN
SERVICES OR WHAT IS IT THAT'S
DIFFERENT AND UNIQUE?
THE.
>> IT'S AMAZING, BECAUSE BLACK
WOMEN HAVE SUCH A UNIQUE LENS
AND OPPORTUNITY OUT THERE TO
KIND OF SOLVE OUR PROBLEMS AND
ONE OF THE BIGGEST THING I THINK
IS PEOPLE FORGET, WHEN YOU'RE A
PERSON OF COLOR, THAT'S ONE PART
OF IT, AND THEN YOU'RE ALSO
FEMALE, THAT'S ANOTHER PART OF
IT.
SO THE INTERSECTIONALITY OF BOTH
IS VIEWING IT THROUGH A LENS.
AND TECHNOLOGY IS ONE OF THE
WAYS TO ENABLE THAT.
SO WE HAVE TONS OF FOUNDERS
CREATING AND SOLVING SOME OF THE
BIGGEST PROBLEMS OUT THERE.
LIKE WE HAVE LAST YEAR, FOR OUR
PITCH COMPETITION, ANGEL RICH
SHOWED HOW SHE'S HELPING PEOPLE
IMPROVE THEIR CREDIT SCORES
THROUGH GAMING.
SO SHE HAS A GAME APP THAT
ACTUALLY TEACHES US HOW TO
IMPROVE OUR CREDIT SCORES.
SO PEOPLE ARE ACTUALLY GAINING
CREDIT POLITERACY.
>> YOU MAY HAVE AN IDEA FOR A
TECH BUSINESS, BUT YOU DON'T
KNOW WHERE TO GO FROM THERE.
WHERE WOULD YOU GO FROM THERE?
>> GO TO WOMEN TALK TECH, IT
REALLY IS A COMMUNITY.
SO YOUR QUESTION AROUND LIKE
WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF BUSINESSES
THAT BLACK WOMEN ARE CREATING?
SO NOT ONLY DO YOU GO AND YOU
LEARN ABOUT DIFFERENT BUSINESSES
THAT BLACK WOMEN ARE CREATING,
BUT THEN WE'RE ON THE PANELS,
RIGHT?
SO WE'RE A SPONSOR, SO IN OUR
CASE, WE BOTH SPONSOR THE
CONFERENCE AND ALSO IT'S ON A
PANEL.
SO BLACK WOMEN TALK TECH IS
REALLY DOING THE ECOSYSTEM SOME
JUSTICE.
LIKE REALLY ENABLING US TO GROW
AND LEARN.
>> IT'S VERY UNIQUE, BECAUSE
BLACK WOMEN TALK TECH IS REALLY
FOR FOUNDERS, IT'S BY FOUNDERS
FOR FOUNDERS.
SO IT HAS A UNIQUE SET OF
QUALIFICATIONS FOR THESE
CONFERENCES, BUT OUTSIDE OF THE
CONFERENCES, WE DO A GREAT DEAL
OF COMMUNITY BUILDING FOR OUR
DIFFERENT LISTENERS AND EVENTS
OUTSIDE TO MAKE SURE WE CONNECT
AND MAKE SURE OUR FOUNDERS ARE
GETTING ACCACCESS.
>> THE MAJORITY OF BLACK WOMEN
TECH FOUNDERS RAISE ONLY AN
AVERAGE OF $36,000 COMPARED TO
$1.5 MILLION, THAT AN AVERAGE
WHITE FOUNDER WOULD RAISE.
SO IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT TO KNOW
THESE NUMBERS AND FIGURE OUT HOW
DO WE SUPPORT OUR COMMUNITIES TO
REALLY INVEST IN BLACK WOMEN IN
BUSINESS, AND NOT ONLY BLACK
WOMEN IN BUSINESS, BUT BLACK
WOMEN IN TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS.
BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT WE NEED IN
TERMS OF BUILDING WHAT BLACK
WOMEN IN TECH LOOK LIKE.
>> SO FOR YOU ENTREPRENEURS OUT
THERE WHO MIGHT BE THINKING
ABOUT STARTING A NEW BUSINESS,
THIS IS YOUR VILLAGE.
AND THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR
JOINING US AND TELLING US ABOUT
BLACK WOMEN TALK TECH.
>> THANK YOU.
>> THANK YOU.
>> THANK YOU.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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