Business

In N.C.,Women-Owned Businesses Face Challenges But Supportive ‘Entrepreneurial Spirit’

“I think one of the biggest challenges is that the world is not ready for a strong Black woman as an entrepreneur,” Quick said in an interview with The News & Observer. “We definitely had to hustle harder. You have to know what you’re facing.”

Quick was able to start her holistic and natural gynecology business Womb Buzz this way. Then, she started a local artisan lemonade business named OMG Lemonade with her high school-aged daughter, Layla, which has since taken off as her priority.

OMG Lemonade won a start-up pitch competition on the Clubhouse app earlier this year, leading to new access to funding, networking opportunities and investment that is putting her daughter on the road to long-term entrepreneurship.

Quick also said her business took off by being able to distribute her products across the area through the Triangle’s farmers’ markets and small business network, including the Black Farmers’ Market in Raleigh, where they have been a featured seller.

“People are pulling us into the circles that we never would have found ourselves in,” she said. “I’ve been living a golden life, I’ve been living a dream in these last seven or eight months.”

Black-owned businesses face additional challenges
Entering entrepreneurship is harder for Black business owners, according to a 2019 report by the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University. A much higher rate of Black business owners rely on personal or family savings, or a personal or business credit card for startup capital, compared to their white counterparts, the report says.

Belinda Brown, owner of Expressions in Rhythm, a Raleigh studio for dance and music lessons, says this has posed as a challenge for her.

“Local financial institutions should look at the vision and the mission of Black entrepreneurs in lieu of a list of criteria that is not an accurate reflection in regard to the potential of the business,” she told The N&O, referring to artistic businesses not being prioritized for loans as much as others.

“This would cause a radical shift and change in the business climate for Black-owned business. Expressions in Rhythm Studio is a labor of love for me as well as an opportunity to give back to my Southeast Raleigh community, which was underserved for far too long.”

Brown echoed other survey respondents about this issue. Several said banks only gave out business loans to them if they indicated they were married and included their husband’s information.

Karen Bond, owner of Trilogy Treats, said she had a similar experience when she was looking for a place to open a custom cookie business.

“When I was looking at opening a storefront, I still had to use my husband to get some people to start discussions,” Bond wrote.

Brown said she has seen that businesses like hers don’t receive the preference from commercial property managers leasing space that larger and non-minority-owned businesses get.

“In the words of Shirley Chisholm, I decided early on if Raleigh would not give me a seat at the table, I will bring a folding chair,” she said.

News & Observer visual journalist Casey Toth contributed to this story.
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Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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