When Richelieu Dennis got here to the U.S. from his house in Liberia to attend Babson College, he wasn’t anticipating to remain. But unable to return house owing to the primary Liberian civil warfare, keep he did, constructing the private care merchandise firm SheaMoisture along with his school roommate Nyema Tubman in Harlem and later establishing a bigger holding firm, Sundial Brands, that may oversee a set of product strains centered on girls of shade.
Among them, SheaMoisture, Nyakio, Nubian Heritage, and Madame C.J. Walker, named after a philanthropist and social activist and one of many earliest feminine founders of shade. (Walker, the daughter of slaves, died a rich lady on the age of 51 in 1919, after herself developing a line of beauty and hair products for black girls.)
All that tough work was seemingly rewarded when final 12 months, shopper items big Unilever acquired Sundial for undisclosed phrases. In a novel twist, the deal ought to gasoline the businesses of future founders of shade, too.
To wit, when the acquisition was introduced, Unilever and Sundial introduced that they’d create a brand new funding car to empower minority girls entrepreneurs — the New Voices Fund — to which they’d commit an preliminary $50 million.
Thursday, at 2018 Essence Festival in New Orleans, Dennis mentioned he was formally launching the fund with twice that quantity — $100 million — including that roughly a 3rd of the fund has already been dedicated to black girls entrepreneurs. (According to fund’s website, it writes seed by means of Series C checks.)
The outlet Black Enterprise was first to report the news.
The improvement will undoubtedly be welcome information to girls, and explicit girls of shade, who’re amongst a fast-growing share of entrepreneurs within the nation, in accordance with the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, a 31-year-old, Washington-based nonprofit. According to one in all its experiences, girls of shade—who represent roughly 35 p.c of the feminine inhabitants aged 18 and older—owned 929,445 companies within the United States, representing 17 p.c of all women-owned corporations, in 1997. By 2014, that quantity had hit 2,934,500 companies, or 32 p.c of women-owned corporations.
Naturally, these aren’t all venture-backed (or backable) companies, however these numbers are on the rise, too, and their founders are going to wish capital on the dimensions that New Voices is promising.
Per digitalundivided, a company that helps black and Latina girls tech founders, of the $84 billion that VCs plugged into startups final 2017, simply 2.7 p.c flowed to women-led corporations, and black girls founders noticed simply .2 p.c of that capital.