Black Women Opening New Businesses At Record Pace in Detroit, Nationally

As the world celebrates International Women’s Day March 8, 2020, it’s a par­ticularly good time to recognize the eco­nomic achievements made by women – especially women of color.

According to a study by American Express, women of color are starting businesses 4.5 times faster than the na­tional average. Firms owned by women of color grew 43 percent in the last five years, and those specifically owned by Black women increased by 50 percent.

Black, woman-owned businesses are opening at a record pace in Detroit. The majority of Motor City Match cash award recipients are black woman entrepreneurs, and they are open­ing businesses of every sort – health and beauty, restaurants, con­sumer goods and professional ser­vices.

Researchers offer a variety of theories for the rapidly growing trend, including continued dis­crimination faced by black women in the job market, and a demand on black women to conform to certain workforce norms. Business owner­ship challenges those constraints and allows Black women to carve their own paths to pros­perity.

“The world is opening up to new opportunities for black women,” said Lashawna Manigault, DEGC’s District 2 Business Liaison and business owner. “Our career options are no longer lim­ited to traditional roles. As entrepre­neurs, we can build something that is uniquely ours and begin creating gener­ational wealth for our families. Cultural­ly, black women have become the heads of households, in some cases the prima­ry breadwinners as well as leaders in our communities. It is a natural progression to becoming a business owner.”

Unfortunately, black women often face hurdles in starting a business, such as access to capital, and real-world ex­perience operating a business. That’s where the DEGC steps in. We provide tools that take entrepreneurs from idea to open. This includes helping entrepre­neurs develop a sound business plan, identifying an ideal location, navigating the permitting process, and even mak­ing connections with non-traditional lenders.

Motor City Match, now in its fifth year helping grow Detroit’s commercial corri­dors, has launched 107 brick-and-mor­tar businesses – over half of which are owned by Black women. MCM recipients and business owners LaShawn Bridges, Blessed Beginnings Learning Center, Dr. Aisha Akpabio, Diamond Smiles Den­tistry, Dawn Sanford, Shears & Shaves and Quiana “Que” Broden, The Kitch­en, by Cooking with Que, are strengthening their neighbor­hoods and cata­lyzing addition­al development in surrounding areas. They are modeling success for Detroit’s next generation of entrepreneurs and economic independence for Black wom­en everywhere.

Bridges, “For over two de­cades, I’ve been committed to providing a quality learning environment for children. Running a ful­ly-functioning childcare busi­ness allows me to share that passion for teaching with many more children and families, pos­itively impacting their growth and edu­cation.”

Akpabio, “Having the opportunity to do what I love in my hometown has al­ways been a dream of mine. It is a bless­ing to serve my community. I’m com­mitted to providing the highest quality dental care by making patients my num­ber one priority.”

Sanford, “My passion is cutting hair and connecting with people on a deep level. I’ve been known to use my barber chair to impart wisdom to my clients and encourage them to reach deep into their inner core to pull out the strength and determination needed in life.”

Broden, “I was born to bring Detroi­ters back to the dinner table in a health­ful way. Now I can do that on a large scale, thanks to the help of so many dedicated people who held my hand and believed in my dream.”

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