Black Entrepreneurs Share Experiences at All-Women Festival

Asmau Ahmed, creator and founder of mobile app Plum Perfect, spoke on a panel of all-female entrepreneurs this weekend at The Other Festival in downtown Brooklyn. (Photo by Kalen Goodluck via BKLYNER)

The Other Festival in downtown Brooklyn brought together female entrepreneurs for a weekend of panels, workshops, fashion and performances. Panelists discussed pitching ideas to investors, raising money and marketing to an audience that included entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, writes Kalen Goodluck for BKLYNER.

One of the panelists, Asmau Ahmed – who created Plum Perfect, a mobile beauty app that uses selfies to match skintones to beauty products – spoke of the challenges she encountered when it comes to finding funding.

A 2015 report commissioned by American Express Open, show that women-owned businesses grew 74 percent between 1997 and 2015, 1.5 times the national average. African American women-owned businesses grew an astonishing 322 percent during the same 18 year-period, making them the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S.

Though they may be the fastest growing group, they also are the most underfunded. “People were not throwing money at me,” said Ms. Ahmed. Entrepreneurs are used to hearing “no” all the time, but they should also hear “yes” once in a while, right?

Kelly Louis, who spoke to Ahmed after the panel, shared her frustrations.

They shared a word on being black women in an industry where they feel misrepresented and not always trusted enough to invest in their products. “I’m so used to being the only [black woman],” said Ms. Louis, “I’m a black woman who is pushing something that they may not see the value.”

Go to BKLYNER to hear more from Ahmed and to see the disparity between funding received by ventures started by Black women and those started by white men.

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