Watch: A conversation on equity in entrepreneurship
On Wednesday, June 15th, Axios executive editor Aja Whitaker-Moore and political reporter Alexi McCammond led conversations unpacking the state of Black entrepreneurship, how Black women are leading the way and proposed policies for expanding economic opportunities and bridging financial gaps. Guests included White House Council of Economic Advisers chair Cecilia Rouse and Black Ambition CEO Felecia Hatcher.
Cecilia Rouse explained how the White House is addressing inflation as it reaches record highs, how today’s post-pandemic economic recovery has been more equitable for Black Americans than in prior recessions and the federal government’s goals to buy from minority-owned businesses.
- On equity improvements in the post-pandemic economic recovery: “We actually are seeing some signs that this recovery has been more equitable than prior recoveries. In fact, if we look at the decrease in unemployment compared to prior recessions, the African American unemployment rate, whether it’s for men or women, has recovered more quickly for African Americans relative to the prior recessions and relative to other Americans, white Americans.”
- On government procurement practices and minority-owned businesses: “The Small Business Administration has put a premium on transparency and collecting data and publishing data on how those dollars are spent, going to Black-owned businesses, female-owned businesses…it’s putting goals on ensuring that a certain percentage of those dollars are going to these more minority businesses.”
Felecia Hatcher described the biggest economic hurdles for entrepreneurs of color, solutions her organization has implemented to help Black business founders improve their access to capital and what success looks like for closing the gaps among Black women in business.
- On the biggest obstacle for Black women entrepreneurs who are just starting out: “It’s going to be funding…that is what our founders need, and a quicker pathway to getting the support that they need. A lot of Black and Latinx entrepreneurs, especially Black female founders, waste a lot of time in the wrong meetings with the wrong people that have no authority to say yes to them, only authority to say no and become blockers.”
- On providing mental health support systems for founders: “One of the things that we added last year was actual therapists and mental health and wellness support for a lot of our founders. I don’t know how you build an entrepreneurship support program for Black entrepreneurs moving forward without making sure that they have the mental fortitude to build companies, to be able to get back up when they hear the no’s, when they’re able to raise the capital and continue to raise capital, oftentimes from investors that don’t look like them…”
In the View from the Top segment, Goldman Sachs global head of sovereign coverage, sustainability and inclusive growth Dina Powell McCormick and Goldman Sachs Foundation global head of corporate engagement and president Asahi Pompey shared insights from listening sessions they conducted with Black female leaders in business on what they need to be more successful.
- Asahi Pompey: “Through these listening sessions, we heard a number of things. Black women nonprofit leaders were saying three things to the marketplace: they’re saying we need general operating funding. Two, we also need multi-year commitments, really sustained investments. And the last thing they said is we want visible sponsorship…they were saying trust us, fund us.”
Thank you Goldman Sachs for sponsoring this event.