February Letter: Black History Month
Happy Black History Month!
The FLIK team wants to thank the amazing Black woman-identifying and non-binary leaders in our community for all the strides you’ve continually made in the founder community and beyond. You continue to inspire us on a daily basis, and your work drives us to do better in supporting the underrepresented founders leading innovation and diversity in the entrepreneurship space.
For this month’s Editor’s Letter, we wanted to focus on the current state of support for Black female founders.
FLIK’s Mental Health of Female Founders Report, released last August, found that cash flow concerns impacted Black and Latin American founders most heavily. Black and Latin American were least represented in the most profitable industries and had fewer employees (which made them eligible for fewer funding programs). This led to founders of colour being more concerned about their financial stability compared to White founders.
Revisiting this issue 8 months later, we saw that Black female founders only made up 2.6% of funding distributed in the first half of 2021, with the amounts raised being on the smaller side as well. Crunchbase found that many funding deals to Black women occur at the pre-seed or seed level, with a lack of funding in the later stages, creating a gap between the seed and Series A stages.
The number of incubators for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour) women founders is increasing, along with greater efforts to improve accessibility to financial and nonfinancial resources. However, much more needs to be done for Black female founders to have the same opportunities as their White counterparts. Some suggestions have been made for there to be more fund managers of colour, more efforts to invest in BIPOC companies as a whole, and for established investors to advocate regularly for underrepresented investors.
It’s no secret that female founders are under-resourced; that’s what drove FLIK’s mission in the first place. However, diving deeper into the issue shows how Black female founders, who are driving equity and new innovations in the world of entrepreneurship, are disproportionately impacted by these issues.
Despite these challenges, there’s still lots to highlight in terms of the accomplishments and advancements of Black female-identifying founders across a variety of industries.
Black women are revolutionizing the hair market, starting direct-to-consumer brands that are finally providing the affordability, sustainability, and variety that the industry has lacked when it comes to Black women consumers. Numerous tech startups are being launched in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in what is being called a revival of Black Wall Street. A Black female-founded creative agency is seeing an increase in approaches from companies to work with their team, of whom over 80% are female-identifying, people of colour, or part of the LGBTQ+ community. And over 50% of the companies in Astia’s portfolio are led by Black female CEOs. These are only a few of the articles found on the recent successes of Black founders, and we’re so excited to see more exciting headlines like these throughout 2022.
Ultimately, the FLIK community will continue to learn from the incredible Black leaders in the community and beyond, and do our best to amplify Black voices in entrepreneurship. Taking the time to learn about Black history across all areas of society is one of our greatest priorities, not just for the month of February, but in general. If you have any resources or suggestions to share with the FLIK community, don’t hesitate to reach out to us!
So Happy Black History Month, and on behalf of the FLIK team, I’d like to once again thank all the Black female founders who have taken the time to share their experiences and opportunities with us.
Written by Julie Van, FLIK Community Marketing Coordinator