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A Call to Black Women Entrepreneurs


In a world where the experiences of Black women in the corporate space remain fraught with obstacles, discrimination, and the pressure to conform, many are choosing a different path - entrepreneurship. The journey towards entrepreneurship is not merely about financial gain but about reclaiming the freedom to exist authentically outside spaces that often stifled their voices and contributions. The struggles faced by individuals like Jalon Hall, Google’s first and only Black deaf employee who was falsely promised resources to ensure inclusion and equitable support with the company, and the broader challenges within corporate environments only serve to reinforce the importance of creating spaces where Black women can thrive without compromising their identity.

A Call for True Support: The Case of Jalon Hall vs. Google

Recently, Jalon Hall filed a lawsuit against Google, exposing mistreatment and discrimination. Despite being profiled in DEI marketing campaigns, Google failed to adequately support Hall's needs, including providing sign language interpreters, as discussed during the hiring process. This unfortunate incident highlights a lack of attention, care, and support, serving as a poignant example of the reasons why Black women opt to leave the workforce and pursue entrepreneurship.

The State of Black Women-Owned Businesses Report® reveals critical insights into the motivations for Black women entrepreneurs starting their businesses:

  • 33% stated that experiencing racial inequality as an employee at their previous workplace environments motivated them to start their businesses

  • 30% expressed that mental health concerns were a strong motivation to start their ventures

  • 17% stated that gender inequality in their previous workplace environment motivated them to start their businesses

As shown in the case of Jalon Hall, these discriminative practices motivate Black women to choose themselves and advocate for equitable treatment. Furthermore, as demonstrated through the report data, many of these reasons are catalysts for Black women entrepreneurs launching their own organizations. 

The statistics from the State of Black Women-Owned Businesses Report® illustrate that the entrepreneurial spirit among Black women is fueled by a desire to combat inequality and prioritize mental health in professional settings that often disregard their well-being. Ongoing legal cases, such as the one against the Fearless Fund (which jeopardizes funding towards Black women through allegations of discrimination), and broader legal battles surrounding diversity and inclusion initiatives underscore the urgent need for genuine commitment to creating inclusive environments.

Failed DEI Commitments: A Growing Concern

The failed and lowered DEI commitments across various industries further exacerbate the challenges Black women face in the workplace. Lawsuits against corporate diversity and inclusion programs are becoming increasingly common, with conservative activists seeking to set precedents based on the end of affirmative action in college admissions. Now, they seek to establish a similar precedent in the professional realm. The Fearless Fund lawsuit urges the courts to consider the hypothetical scenario of a program exclusively designed for white applicants. This lawsuit is part of a growing trend of legal challenges against corporate diversity and inclusion initiatives currently being litigated this year. Numerous prominent companies have already become targets in these lawsuits, with various diversity initiatives being challenged. These lawsuits attack many initiatives, including fellowships, hiring goals, anti-bias training, and contract programs for minority or women-owned businesses. In a related instance, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer decided to remove race-based eligibility requirements from a fellowship program aimed at college students of Black, Latino, and Native American descent. This decision came after a judge dismissed a lawsuit against the program two months prior. Furthermore, Comcast has announced a change to its grant program, initially intended for women and people of color, by expanding eligibility to women business owners of all backgrounds.

These setbacks emphasize the pressing need for corporations to move beyond performative marketing tactics and embrace an authentic and intentional commitment to diversity and inclusion. Let us not forget the words of Aurora James, who emphasized the importance of genuine diversity and inclusion efforts, stating, "If you don't have a Black woman on your board, I'd rather not see a Black woman on your billboard." Due to these false promises and reneged commitments, many Black women are deciding to step into the entrepreneurship journey and choose themselves as a form of advocacy and resistance to the injustices arising in both political and corporate environments. 

Going Along to Get Along Is Exhausting: Examining Black Women's Experiences

Amidst these political attacks, lowered commitments by corporations, and a sense of exclusion, Black women often find themselves pressured to leave their burdens at the door and show up in ways that don’t bring discomfort to others. Our pressure to code-switch is as much about safety as it is about constant re-calibration of when and where to store our energy. Frankly, it’s all so exhausting. 

Comedian Lisa Beasley, through her satirical persona Erin Throlopolis, brilliantly captures the challenges faced by Black women in the corporate world. Drawing inspiration from her traumatic experiences as a contract worker, Beasley's satire resonates with many who have felt the need to alter their authentic selves to conform to corporate expectations at the expense of their well-being. The persona of “Corporate Erin” serves as a reminder that even in the face of adversarial challenges in entrepreneurship, Black women must stand in their purpose and never forget the driving forces behind their decisions to leave toxicity behind. 


A lot is happening in the world, and we are witnessing giants heroically standing up to systems for the betterment of marginalized communities every day. Each of us -  in our own way - are fighting giants as well. May we remember why we started. Our journey is about reclaiming our voices, power, and right to exist authentically in a world that too often demands conformity. Stay resilient, stay true to yourself, and continue to shine brightly as you navigate the entrepreneurial landscape. Your village stands with you -offering support, solidarity, and a reminder that your uniqueness is your greatest asset.


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