CHASING THEIR DREAMS

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. 

TRANSCRIPT

> 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.

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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