* Felipe Ladislau is a member of Organica The trenches of anti-racist struggles are not limited to large companies. Another relevant space is that of entrepreneurship, which is marked in the DNA of black people. Even without access and opportunity, these people have used their creativity, inventiveness, and perseverance to survive an oppressive state. However, […]
*Felipe Ladislau is a member of organic
The trenches of anti-racist struggles are not limited to large companies. Another relevant space is that of entrepreneurship, which is marked in the DNA of black people. Even without access and opportunity, these people have used their creativity, inventiveness, and perseverance to survive an oppressive state.
However, with the advent of startups, we have begun to differentiate opportunity entrepreneurship from necessity-driven entrepreneurship. And today entrepreneurs are real celebrities and influencers.
However, Black entrepreneurs face far more adversity in gaining entry financing and play a game whose rules do not favor them. How to turn the game around?
Who pays the duck?
According to a survey conducted by Sebrae and the Getúlio Vargas Foundation (FGV), black entrepreneurs have been the hardest hit by the crisis caused by the pandemic.
Blacks lost more income, got into more debt, and had less access to credit. The difference in financial loss between blacks and whites is 6 points, relevant and alarming data.
Another figure that exposes the disparity is that 47% of black entrepreneurs have been denied access to credit, while the percentage drops to 34% when it comes to white entrepreneurs.
When we focus on gender, 45% of black women take no for an answer, while only 30% of white women take no. According to a 2020 study by Sebrae, Black entrepreneurs have smaller, newer businesses with less infrastructure and fewer resources.
To talk about the challenges and learnings of black entrepreneurship, nothing more fitting than giving a voice to those who have had the courage to walk this path. This is why I spoke to some entrepreneurs who deal with these issues on a daily basis in order to extract advice for those who are starting this journey now.
The beginning will be increasingly challenging
Having support early on and knowing who to call to answer questions and network can be the first factor that will get you on the road. Often what happens is that we have less support than we imagine and end up having to do most things ourselves which creates an overload and pressure that can be daunting. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Seeking out this support network and establishing partnerships with additional allies is a great way to continue your project.
How to stay strong in moments of solitude?
Especially in the beginning, even more so when it is difficult to find that aforementioned support network, it is common to have moments of loneliness. Even when the statistics are daunting, you have to understand that you are not alone, understand that there is a lot of strength and power in the work of being an entrepreneur, especially being in a minority group. Pay attention to these moments and also take care of your mental health so that you can continue on this path.
Find a group (or create several)
Join different groups, seek help and offer support to those who are on the same journey as you. Groups of women, social entrepreneurs, technology, different markets. There is tremendous learning potential in these connections.
Recognize and defend your space
Once, speaking to a fellow entrepreneur, he told me that we need to be responsible to ourselves, to practice self-care. That colleague is Janine Rodrigues, writer and educator, CEO and founder of Piraporiando Edtech, and she told me, “The system works every day to kill us (both body and mind). My responsibility is to live. A living black woman is already a revolutionary act.
Even so, when self-doubt arises, remember that you already do many amazing things and that our ruler has always been taller. He tries not to overwhelm you and be with people who will open your eyes to areas for improvement and highlight your qualities for yourself. I conclude with a sentence from Janine “Know who your allies are. And stay alive”.
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