Black & Brown Women Small Businesses Are the Lifeline of Our Community

Weekly Sunday Thoughts: May 10, 2020 3:02 PM EDT

If small businesses are the heart and foundation of America, then Black & Brown women-owned and operated small businesses are the lifeline of our community. It is essential for the black and brown community to support each other in all our endeavors. There is nothing more special than the ability to buy products or services from someone who looks like us. Importantly, we all thrive as a community when black and brown folk actively engage in the practice of supporting black & brown women small businesses, freelancers, and independent contractors to ensure that no one is left behind.

Amazingly, Shelly Bell, whose accolades include expertise in computer science, community organizing, and education, started her entrepreneurial journey from her living room.  Bell’s first taste of being an entrepreneur when she listed her property as an Airbnb to help supplement her income, yielding an overwhelming response. Bell (2020) explains how black women were left with no other choices but to be innovative if they wanted to survive in a world of underrepresented entrepreneurial women of color. Drawing strength from the black and brown women such as Madame C. J. Walker, recorded as the first female let alone black female self-made millionaire, (, n.d.), who have come before them, nourished by the dreams of their mothers, aunts, and grandmothers, women of color are tapping into their creative energy to launch their own dream businesses. Bell (2020) notes that statistically women of color “are the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the United States” (para. 2).

In 2016, Bell launched Black Girl Ventures which aimed to create access to social and financial capital for minority women businesses to ensure black and brown women would have a fighting chance against systemic marginalization and discrimination of minority businesses.  Over the years and through sweat, blood, tears, ingenuity, hard work, and entrepreneurial spirit Black Girl Ventures has become a staple of the community for growing black and brown women businesses. Today, Black Girl Ventures has been afforded the opportunity to open chapters in five cities (Birmingham, Durham, Houston, Houston, & Miami); these chapters, entrepreneurial hubs for female-owned black and brown businesses, are creating a rich legacy for our black and brown communities using the tools of community organizing.

The reality is that women of color deserve to have access to resources that afford them the ability to build successful businesses and obtain a piece of the American dream. As consumers, we would be remiss if we ignored the fact that supporting women of color just makes good sense for the well-being of our community.  We deserve to see our mothers, aunts, sisters, cousins, and grandmothers thrive as their success equals our community’s success – a win-win to say the least.

– Isaac Davis, Jr., MBA, HIFE CCP, The Small Business Guru


Bell, S. (2020), February 6). Why community matters for black and brown female founders. Fast Company. Retrieved from

First self-made millionairess. (n.d.). Retrieved from

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