Between 2007 and 2016, the number of women-owned firms increased by 45%, a rate 5 times the national average. 78% of these net new women owned firms are owned by women of color. Unfortunately, women of color received only 0.2% of all venture capital funding over the last five years.
Recently, Brazen St. Louis co-hosted the Be Seen Brunch Celebrating Women Entrepreneurs of Color along with the Hispanic Chamber, the BALSA Foundation, and DK Solutions, and with support from the JP Morgan Chase Foundation. The goal was to help historically underserved women entrepreneurs find new connections, resources, and inspiration to help them take their businesses to the next level. Because supporting female entrepreneurs means supporting all female entrepreneurs.
More than 120 attendees, including women entrepreneurs of color, decision-makers from the St. Louis investment community, and entrepreneur support organizations, participated in the Be Seen Brunch.
As one attendee put it:
“Today, so many connections were made between women of varying nationalities, ethnicities, color, and creed. But most importantly, black and brown women were heard and seen.”
Following a keynote by speaker Rica Elysee, founder & CEO of BeautyLynk, attendees participated in business-first breakout sessions and roundtables with local experts. The event culminated with an elevator pitch competition, reviewed by a blue-ribbon panel of judges from the St. Louis investment community. Shayba Muhammad of Mahnal Jewelry won the competition and an award package that included a $2,500 cash prize, made possible by a generous gift from the Clark Fox Family Foundation.
In addition to at the event itself, our pitch finalists were seen and heard on Fox2Now TV (watch the 3 minute segment here) and on NewsRadio 1120 KMOX.
We are energized and committed to making a meaningful difference and empowering women entrepreneurs of color in our region.
To stay connected and learn about future events like the Brazen Be Seen Brunch and other events for female entrepreneurs, sign up for our newsletter (at the bottom of this page) or consider becoming a Brazen member.
“This was a great event. I left feeling “brazen” enough to further pursue my entrepreneurial goals and inspired by the positive energy in the room.”
Photography Credit: Mena Darre Photography