Black Women in Tech: #ProjectDiane Report

“Over 70% of Black households are led by Black women, yet Black women earn only 89% of what Black men earn, and 64% of what white men earn. Nearly two thirds of all non-farming Black-owned businesses are led by Black women, yet Black women received .002% of all venture funding in the past five years.” – The #ProjectDiane Report

As we celebrate Women’s History Month, we want to bring attention to unseen trail blazers making an impact in the tech sector. Project Diane is sponsored by Digital Undivided representing women of color in the tech sector. The #projectdiane report had five major findings: (1) black women are extremely entrepreneurial and led startup companies; (2) black women led startups are under capitalized compared to other startups; (3) the lack of diversity within tech companies leads to the lack of diversity in startup founders; (4) black women are well educated; and (5) there are few black women in top tech accelerator programs. The significance of the #ProjectDiane study highlights the wealth of untapped resources in entrepreneurial black women in the tech sector and the need for a real commitment in funding and access.

We must do better to empower our women and girls by giving them access to entrepreneurial training and encourage being an owner versus a worker, a stock holder versus a consumer. As a community, we need to support black businesses by doing more than liking their social media pages. “If we don’t see the value of investing in ourselves, then no one will.” – Ronda-isms

Tip 1: Mentors

Find mentors that will tell you the good bad and ugly to keep you on path and honest with yourself.

Tip 2: Research

Go in eyes wide open to the risks and benefits. Do your due diligence. Visit Digital Undivided’s website and social media (@DigUnDiv) for resources.

Tip 3: Reach out/Network

Visit your local Small Business Center. Many graduate business schools offer programs and resources for startups, especially for women and minority owned businesses. Network with organizations like Silicon Harlem. The state of New York has an incentive program just for startups called Start-Up NY. The city of New York offers resource for startups via its Business Solution Center. Contact your local bar association or law school about free seminars or legal clinics for startups.

Tip 4: Apply

Participate in Business Plan Competitions to gain necessary capital and exposure for your company, like NY Startup Business Plan Annual Competition.

Tip 5: Make a Plan

As the saying goes, “if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Make a plan and revisit it frequently adjusting to your needs and market changes.

Ronda Lee, JD

Ronda is an attorney, writer, and entrepreneur. She's a blogger for the Huffington Post and you can follow her musings on her blog, Ronda-isms- Good Bad & Ugly. She has launched her own snack mix, Auntie Ronda's Snack Mix. Her goal is to get her books published.

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