HER Idea Hits Campuses and the Airwaves

HER Idea, a new initiative created by the NAACP’s Economic Department, will focus on female entrepreneurship. The initiative launched with an HBCU tour and a podcast. The goal of HER Idea is to encourage young Black women to think about business ownership.

The podcast began Oct. 10, and the tour held its first event Oct. 22-24 at Benedict College in Columbia, S.C. Participants learned about funding and networking opportunities.

“We created HER Idea as a solution to some of these gaps that we’re seeing in relation to Black women entrepreneurs,” said Simbi Ntahobari, manager of corporate development at the NAACP, during the podcast launch on Oct. 10. HER Idea started as an NAACP workshop in 2017.

Black women are leading the nation in growing women-owned businesses, according to the State of Women-Owned Businesses Report. While the number of women-owned businesses grew 21 percent from 2014 to 2019, firms owned by women of color grew 43 percent. African- American women’s businesses grew faster, at 50 percent.

More than half of all women-owned businesses are concentrated in three industries: services (such as hair and nail salons and pet care), health care and social assistance (day care and home health care services) and professional/scientific/technical services (lawyers, bookkeepers, architects, public relations firms and consultants).

Those businesses don’t produce the most revenue, however. Women entrepreneurs are bringing home the most money with businesses centered on wholesale trade, retail trade and professional, scientific and technical services.

No matter the industry, helping Black women be well-informed makes the difference, HER Idea organizers say.

HER Idea the Podcast is meant to attract millennial and Generation Z Black women and girl entrepreneurs, dubbed #SheBosses. Krystal Garner, winner of BET's The Grand Hustle and general manager of the Trap Music Museum, is the host.

“I know so many women want to do so much, but they’re scared,” Garner said. “They’re scared to take the risk because Black women like stability. We are the fastest-growing entrepreneurial [group], but at the same time we are also quitting when we are no longer getting opportunities, funding or [we’re] failing.”

Other stops for the HBCU tour are in the works for Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn., and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in Tallahassee.

The tour focuses on helping students build professional brands and win venture capital funding as well as best practices and self-care. There will also be a pitch competition, similar to the show Shark Tank.

Investor, actress and poet Ernestine Johnson Morrison is on the tour with a number of successful female entrepreneurs. She is founder of the Atlanta-based film festival, The Green Lit ATL, and co-owner of an investment venture, Tulsa Real Estate Fund.

“I’m super excited about HER Idea because a lot of the movements, businesses and things that have pushed our culture forward, started with a woman’s idea,” Johnson Morrison said. “But oftentimes, historically, women have not been credited with those ideas.”

Additional panelists scheduled to join the tour include brand strategist Candace Armour, makeup artist Janece Bradford, Carter Financial CEO Constance Carter and PRIMUS Business Management COO Adeloa Emdin. Also joining the lineup are Business Babes website founder Yolanda Keels-Walker, The Cube co-working space co-founder Tammira Lucas, Backstage Capital Director Amiah Sheppard, professional wrestler Devyn Nicole and actresses Tia Goodson and Andrea Lewis.

“The goal of HER Idea is to cultivate the next generation of entrepreneurs, and ensure that the same barriers that exist today won’t exist tomorrow,” Ntahobari said.

— Nicki Mayo

#NAACP #HBCU #BlackBusinesses #BlackWomen #Shebosses