From unconscious biases to chronic underfunding, there are deep societal disparities that undermine the growth and potential of entrepreneurs of color. At Nasdaq, we recognize that we are uniquely positioned to help build an inclusive economy that advances growth and prosperity for all. Through our Purpose Initiative and the world-class resources and mentorship available through the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center, we are providing entrepreneurs of all backgrounds with the tools they need to succeed and thrive.
3 Pillars of Entrepreneurial Success
Access to Networks
In order to succeed, minority entrepreneurs need equal access to high-quality mentorship, education, and early career opportunities. Inclusive entrepreneurship helps dismantle structural disadvantages that have prevented minority entrepreneurs from building relationships critical to their future.
Access to Capital
More than half of Black-owned companies have their loan applications rejected – twice the rate of white-owned companies. To reverse this trend, the marketplace has opened up a number of innovative, scalable solutions to increase the flow of growth capital to minority entrepreneurs, including startup accelerators and incubators.
Access to Markets
Due to difficulties penetrating mainstream markets, many minority-owned startups only serve minority communities, hindering their ability to scale. New strategies have emerged to facilitate direct access to new markets through public procurement programs and infrastructures that help consumers connect directly with minority-owned businesses.
In September 2020, the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center designed a Mentorship Circle for 12 early-stage Black founders and entrepreneurs. The program sought to solve their most-pressing problems alongside industry expert mentors. A community of entrepreneurs and mentors was formed, each offering invaluable experience and expertise. Their stories of success and struggle – at once unique and universal – follow below.
Aishetu Fatima Dozie
There’s a lot that brings you together just by the mere fact of your race. There were a lot of shared experiences across the cohort of entrepreneurs. There’s something really beautiful about feeling that you’re seen.Founder and CEO, Bossy Cosmetics Read More About Aishetu's Experience
The Mentorship Circle was incredible because it challenged entrepreneurs to look under the hood of their business, see what needs work and drill down on the things that make a company successfulFounder, Benson Watch Company Read More About Marcel's Experience
Dr. Irene Okoronkwo-Obika
My peers on the program helped me develop as an entrepreneur because a lot of their companies were already ahead of mine. Because they had already ‘been there, done that,’ so to speak, they gave me pitfalls to avoid and what programs to look into.CEO and Co-Founder, Afrinanny Read More About Irene's Experience
Tony Lawson and Shantrelle Lewis
Through multiple insights during the program we narrowed our focus and created concise language to explain what we do. These insights came from the collective experience of working with the mentors along with experts who were brought in to support usCEO and Co-Founder, SHOPPE BLACK Read More About Tony and Shantrelle's Experience
It was a nice change to be among other Black founders and be able to candidly discuss issues that are important to us and our communities.Founder, People of Color Read More About Jacqueline's Experience
Founders Finding Their Way Forward, Together
The Experience of Mentors
Some entrepreneurs conflate access to capital with their product being successful. So, I try to reassure them that they need to pursue the success of their product from the standpoint of how well it aligns with their vision.Founder and Director, Oakstop Read More Insights From Trevor
All the founders have the ability to not only build a company and create change, but to pass on their curiosity, innovation, skills and the depth of their empathy.Managing Partner, Structure Capital Read More Insights From Jillian
The founders were frustrated by a genuine problem in their community and were trying to find ways to leverage technology to solve problems in a smarter, more scalable way. They were really inspiring.Senior Brand Strategy Consultant, Goodby Silverstein & Partners Read More Insights From Graham
It’s great to have an idea and it’s even better to have capital but, in order for entrepreneurs to execute their vision, they have to surround themselves with great people.Founder and Managing Partner, Mastry, Inc Read More Insights From Rudy