30 Black Female Founders Making History

By Chris Olsen

Black female founders are making history in the U.S. every day, launching and growing small businesses at an unprecedented rate. In 2019, there were 2.7 million black women-owned businesses. While the total number of women-owned businesses grew 21 percent from 2014 to 2019, black women-owned businesses grew at more than double that rate during the same time period, at 50 percent.

On the flip side, while the number of black female entrepreneurs continues to rise, the money they make is disproportionately less. While the average annual revenue for all women-owned businesses is $143,000, the average annual revenue for black women-owned businesses is $24,000. There are simple ways to move the needle: Support these businesses. Buy their products. Use their services. You can also show your support by liking, sharing and following black women-owned businesses online.

Over the past year, My Founder Story has elevated the stories of several incredible black women-owned businesses. These women are innovating in every category. Coco and Breezy is designing eyewear coveted by celebrities and their fans. Clare is revolutionizing paint shopping by creating an online experience that hasn’t previously existed in the home improvement industry. Uncharted Power is harnessing energy from everyday objects like baby strollers to create portable generators.

Many black women-owned businesses are committed to social good and making the world a better place. Junita’s Jar is helping put an end to domestic violence. Lunch on Me is dedicated to ending starvation. Me and the Bees lemonade is raising awareness for the importance of honeybees in pollinating food crops. Matriarch Digital Media is on a mission to elevate the voices of all women. Sleep Health Specialists is educating individuals and organizations on the importance of a good night’s sleep.

Here are just a few of the more than 2 million black women-owned businesses making history to support:

AFRICA ON MY BACK: A social enterprise that brings authentic, durable and lightweight Kente-print backpacks and accessories from artisanal markets in Ghana, West Africa to the rest of world; founded by Shanette Prince. AfricaOnMyBack.com

BEAUTY LOUNGE MINNEAPOLIS: A Minneapolis, Minnesota-based multicultural hair destination; founded by Melissa Taylor. MplsBeautyLounge.com

CHELLES’ KITCHEN CATERING: A Twin Cities, Minnesota-based catering company normalizing healthy eating and celebrating food culture centered on soul food history, nutritional healing and social justice; founded by Lachelle Cunningham. LachelleCunningham.com

CLARE: A paint shopping experience with designer-curated colors, technology to guide users, mess-free paint swatches, and the highest-quality paint and supplies, delivered to your door; founded by Nicole Gibbons. Clare.com

COCO AND BREEZY: A New York City-based eyewear company creating fashion-forward frames for celebrities and their fans; founded by twin sisters Corianna and Brianna Dotson. CocoAndBreezy.com

CULTUREBROKERS: A Minnesota-based consultancy that partners with businesses, nonprofits and government organizations to help them get immediate, measurable and valuable results from their diversity, inclusion and equity efforts; founded by Lisa Tabor. CultureBrokers.com

THE ENTREPRENISTA: A Florida-based business coach and consultant to women-owned businesses who uses her personal experiences to empower her clients; founded by Lena Graham-Morris. IAmEntreprenista.com

FEARLESS COMMERCE: A nationally recognized company that elevates black women business owners through the production of books and live events; founded by Shawntera Hardy and Camille Thomas. FearlessCommerce.com

GABBY BOWS: Innovative double-faced, double-snap hair barrettes featuring a patented design that stays put; founded by Gabrielle Goodwin and her mom, Rosalyn. GabbyBows.com

GIRLS ARE POWERFUL: A Minnesota-based organization that empowers girls to foster strength of character through educational workshops and special events; founded by Shawntan Howell. GirlsArePowerful.org

HERE’S THE SCOOP: Hand-dipped ice cream and dessert shop located in the lower Georgia Avenue corridor of northwest Washington, D.C.; founded by Karin Sellers. HeresTheScoopDC.com

JUNITA’S JAR: A Minneapolis, Minnesota-based social enterprise on a mission to bake hope into every cookie purchase, helping women live their best lives; founded by Junita Flowers. JunitasJar.com

KREYÒL ESSENCE: A Florida-based social enterprise committed to creating ethical beauty products formulated especially for dry hair and skin, made with all-natural ingredients naturally harvested by farmers in Haiti; founded by Yve-Car Momperousse. KreyolEssence.com

LIBERTÉ: Luxury everyday lingerie designed for support and comfort; founded by Amber Tolliver. Liberte.co

LIVE CYCLE DELIGHT FITNESS STUDIOS: A Detroit, Michigan-based cycling studio and inclusive community welcoming fitness practitioners of all levels joining together to train, sweat and restore through body-focused work and shared energy; founded by Amina Daniels. LiveCycleDelight.com

LUNCH ON ME: A California-based nonprofit dedicated to ending starvation while providing opportunities to enrich the mind, body and spirit of Los Angeles’ homeless community; founded by Larayia Gaston. LunchOnMe.org

MARJORIE’S BEEF JERKY: A delectable selection of beef jerky made from fine cuts of beef; founded by Michelle Timberlake. MarjoriesBeefJerky.com

MATRIARCH DIGITAL MEDIA: A Twin Cities, Minnesota-based podcasting network and community where women are appreciated and celebrated exactly as they are, no matter what stage of life they’re in; founded by Twila Dang. MatriarchDM.com

ME AND THE BEES LEMONADE: A Texas-based lemonade company that uses a portion of proceeds to fund nonprofits dedicated to bee preservation and education; founded by Mikaila Ulmer. MeAndTheBees.com

MY FAB FINANCE: A financial and lifestyle blog designed to educate millennials who want to become financially free and do more of what they love; founded by Tonya Rapley. MyFabFinance.com

NEAREST GREEN DISTILLERY: The first distillery in U.S. history to honor African-American Nathan “Nearest” Green, the “Godfather of Tennessee Whiskey”; founded by Fawn Weaver. UncleNearest.com

SHEA YELEEN: A Washington, D.C.-based social enterprise offering shea butter products and financially empowering women in Africa by providing them with living-wage jobs; founded by Rahama Wright. SheaYeleen.com

SLEEP HEALTH SPECIALISTS: A Minnesota-based consultancy that partners with business owners and corporations to educate their workforce about sleep health; founded by Sarah Moe. SleepHS.com

SOCA YACHT CHARTERS: A U.S.-based boutique travel agency coordinating personalized, stress-free, all-inclusive yacht vacations to a Caribbean oasis; founded by Sheila Ruffin. SocaYachtCharters.com

SORELLA: Los Angeles, California-based clothing company representing strong women, working women and independent women of all ages, colors and sizes, inspiring them to be confident and have a vision; founded by Heather Sanders and Brittney Turner. Sorella.com

UNCHARTED POWER: A New York-based full-service power infrastructure technology company that builds, owns and operates power infrastructures that provide communities with clean, low-cost energy; founded by Jessica Matthews. u-pwr.co

About the author: Chris Olsen is a radio veteran turned communications consultant, educator and author of “Whyography: Building a Brand Fueled by Purpose”. Through her work as a consultant partnering with startups, Chris realized her WHY—to support womxn-owned businesses in confidently communicating their purpose and impact, setting them up for entrepreneurial success. She created My Founder Story as a platform for doing so.

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