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Consistent Values Lead to Permanent Change

Black and Female founders landed 30% of the largest US early-stage rounds in 2021. (Crunchbase)

Columbia, South Carolina -- February 13, 2022 -- According to Business Insider, Black and Latina women founders received 0.43% of the 166 billion dollars in VC funding from 2020. Over the past 2 years, however, there have been notable efforts to try to improve these numbers.

In 2021, Black and Female founders landed 30% of the largest US early-stage rounds. According to Crunchbase data, venture funding to U.S. startups led by Black women is on track to outpace the previous five years.

Although these actions show steps in the right direction, we must call out the events that took place over the past two years which influenced investors and VC firms to support minority start-ups in the first place.

If we all can recall, 2020 was a year full of trauma, violence, and sorrow - specifically for the Black community. On March 11, 2020, COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. This pandemic highlighted the health inequities amongst racial groups and showed how the pandemic disproportionately impacted the Black community. Specifically, while one in five U.S. counties are predominantly Black, they accounted for more than half of all COVID diagnoses and nearly 60% of deaths. (Elsevier)

On March 13th, 2020, two days after the announcement of the global pandemic, America experienced a racial reckoning triggered by police-involved shootings of unarmed Black people, including Breonna Taylor. This racial violence continued to be displayed as George Floyd was brutally murdered by a police officer, as captured on video for the world to see. These events left the Black community in an inescapable trauma from both COVID-19 and racial violence. Immediately after these events, Silicon Valley started to show more interest in having conversations around addressing racial inequities and funding gaps within venture capital.

We would be naive not to acknowledge the tragic events that motivated, and guilted, many within Silicon Valley to take action toward supporting minority startups. While intentional conversations continue to be had in efforts to drastically close the funding gap, it is crucial to recognize that consistent values grounded in beliefs, empathy, and truth are necessary to achieve parity for Black women entrepreneurs in the VC funding space.

We'd like for VC firms to be less reactive, and more proactive in their support for Black women startups. We ask for genuine support, rather than guilt. We ask for a shift in mindset that will birth strategies that increase minority representation among investors overall. We desire increased case studies and accessible resources to ensure equitable practices are implemented.

It is time for more VC firms to set the standard, rather than go with trends of the times. We must be the change we wish to see.

BLAZE GROUP extends a special shout-out to organizations that are catalyzing change through authentic initiatives. You are appreciated!

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