Research shows that in many ways the gap between white women entrepreneurs and women of color “mirrors the systemic challenges and disparities faced throughout history,” says Kareem Hall, who runs Emory University’s Goizueta Business School’s Start:ME micro-business accelerator program for East Lake and Southside.
“These disparities are augmented by some of the recent challenges going through the pandemic. White entrepreneurs have better access to capital, networking and resources to start and grow businesses. It’s similar to why so many women of color entrepreneurs didn’t qualify for the first round of the Paycheck Protection Plan; they needed prior relationships with a bank, a minimum number of employees. People of color tend to be rejected at higher rates from banks. The cards are stacked against many businesses led by women entrepreneurs of color,” he says.
To help offset this disparity in an immediate way, C200, a Chicago-based nonprofit whose mission is to “inspire, education, celebrate and advance women entrepreneurs” set up CHAMPION, a program that provides professional networking, a 12-week course on growing the entrepreneur and the business from Babson College’s WIN Lab Global, and a $25,000 grant.