Major Retailers Boost Black Female Entrepreneurship As Employment Gap Lingers

Major beauty retailers are boosting small, minority-owned businesses in a bid to support Black women entrepreneurs.

As of last year, 17% of Black women in the U.S. were in the process of starting or running new businesses, according to the Harvard Business Review.

That outpaces the 15% of white men and the 10% of white women who reported the same.

But only 3% of Black women reported running ‘mature’ businesses.

And when it comes to the traditional workforce unemployment rate, it remains high among Black women, at 5.5% in March, compared with the overall U.S. unemployment of 3.6%, according to the Labor Department.

The unemployment rate among Hispanic women during the same period was 4.2%. For white women, it was 2.8%.

Ulta, Sephora, and Target have now created start-up incubators and diversity programs, providing mentorship, financial support, and new business opportunities.

Last month, Ulta Beauty partnered with incubator Rare Beauty Brands and Black Girl Ventures, a foundation that funds and scales Black- and Brown-founded businesses, on the group’s second pitch competition for minority-owned beauty start-ups.

The competition is a live crowdfunded event where founders create a three-minute pitch in hopes of elevating their businesses.

The first-place winner received accounting consultations, $10,000, and a spot on Ulta’s product shelves for at least six months. 

Kim Roxie, founder and CEO of Lamik Beauty, the first Black-owned clean beauty brand to be featured at Ulta, won last year’s pitch competition from Rare Beauty Brands and Black Girl Ventures.

Speaking to CNBC, she said the partnership with Rare Beauty Brands was transformative for her business.

“It was game-changing for me as a founder, and it was game-changing for my company,” Roxie told CNBC. “They allowed me to utilize their team in a way that I would have had to try to hire all those different people, and it would have been out of my reach.”

“They sort of subbed in and filled in that gap for me.”

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Abbianca Makoni

Abbianca Makoni is a content executive and writer at POCIT! She has years of experience reporting on critical issues affecting diverse communities around the globe.

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