“We just have to do it ourselves,” Amoye Henry, co-founder of Pitch Better and former CSI WOSEN coach, says as she explains the realization that led to the FoundHers Report, the first national market study on Black women founders in the Canadian for-profit and nonprofit sectors.
“There was a lack of disaggregated data in the market when it came to diverse entrepreneurs,” Amoye explains. “Part of what Pitch Better does is work with entrepreneurs who are creating pitch decks to pitch their businesses to either clients or investors. [Diverse women] don’t have any data on their business or their market opportunity, or their industry, period. The culturally competent data that was needed to help these investors or institutional stakeholders have a better understanding of these entrepreneurs’ challenges wasn’t there.”
Amoye and co-founder, Adeela Carter, approached Statistics Canada and Industry Canada but were told they only collected data on women. “Black women are just considered women in Canada. Okay, that’s fair [but] there are very nuanced experiences that women of colour, Black women, and BIPOC people overall face,” Amoye emphasizes. Fast forward to the FoundHers campaign: 1545 participants surveyed across Canada, generating thousands of data points on what it’s like to be a Black woman founder in Canada. Read the report here and check out their interactive dashboard:
At a glance:
- 59% of Black women entrepreneurs earn a bachelor’s degree or higher
- 33% of Black women founders are familiar with social financing
- 86% of Black women NPO founders indicated they need less than $250,000 in funding to grow their organizations
- 42% of NPO founders feel ready to take on investment capital
- 65% reported that they have not secured funding, or have secured less than 50K in external funding
- 53% have generated less than 50K; and 51% profited less than 25K in the past 12 months
- 41% of the respondents reported that the global pandemic has significantly impacted their revenue and/or profit
What did Amoye find most surprising?
“59% of Black women entrepreneurs have a bachelor degree or higher,” Amoye emphasizes. “That was shocking because a lot of social and pop culture references would indicate that black women are not that educated or BIPOC people don’t have access to information. […] They’re a highly educated group but they don’t have the opportunities and the networks. That was very clear.”
In order to create a network, you need to know who else is out there. The FoundHers research team created an interactive dashboard mapping many of the Black women-owned and -led organizations from the study. Displayed as a map of Canada, the dashboard enables investors, customers, and fellow founders to find organizations they want to support through profiles on the organizations’ profit structure, type of industry, location, demographics, fundraising, and more. Take a look for yourself!
It’s about visibility. “Black women make incredible contributions to the economy,” Amoye says. “56% of Black women entrepreneurs are mothers. We’re bearing the leaders of tomorrow, making vast contributions to society, and doing it with two strikes against us: being Black and being women. So the fact that you’ll see women who have success stories, like Viviane King, who has a seven figure haircare business, or you have Delores Lawrence, who owns a one hundred staff healthcare agency…there’s so much greatness coming out of our communities. They just need the investment and tools to scale.”