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Rooting for Everybody Black: Why Certification Matters for Black Women-Owned Businesses



Introduction


Being a Black woman entrepreneur is a power move in itself. You're defying stereotypes, carving your own path, and building something beautiful. But the journey isn't always easy. This is where certifications come in, and actress, producer, and entrepreneur extraordinaire Issa Rae is here to show you why they matter.  


Issa Rae isn't just slaying the Hollywood scene; she's also a champion for Black entrepreneurs. Recently, she got behind the ByBlack program, a national certification initiative designed specifically for Black-owned businesses. In this blog, we're diving deep into the world of certifications for Black women entrepreneurs, inspired by the incredible Issa Rae and the game-changing ByBlack Program.





Why Certification Matters for Black Women Entrepreneurs (BWE)


Remember Issa's iconic line from Insecure? "Black women aren't bitter, they're just tired of being expected to settle for less." Certifications are about getting what you deserve. The statistics paint a clear picture: according to the 2023 State of Black Women-Owned Businesses Report®, more than half of BWEs lack mentors and two-thirds aren't part of entrepreneurial networks. 


This isolation can be a major roadblock to success. However, this report also highlights that one in two Black women entrepreneurs have at least one business certification- as many entrepreneurs have realized the benefits that can come from these credentials. Certifications offer opportunities to Black women entrepreneurs through:


  • Opening doors to contracts: Many corporations and government agencies prioritize contracts with certified minority and women-owned businesses. This gives your venture a fighting chance to compete for lucrative opportunities you might not have been considered for otherwise.

  • Unlocking financial resources: Certification can be the key to grants, loans, and financial programs specifically designed to support BWEs. This crucial boost can fuel the growth of your startup or established business.

  • Building credibility and trust: Certification acts as a third-party verification of your Black ownership. This enhances your reputation and trustworthiness in the eyes of potential clients and partners seeking diverse suppliers.

  • Fostering a network: Many certifications offer access to exclusive events, conferences, and online forums. This creates a space to connect with other entrepreneurs, share experiences, and build powerful collaborations – exactly what Issa Rae advocates for with her "Rooting For Everybody Black" philosophy.


Figure 1: Excerpt from 2023 State of Black Women-Owned Businesses Report®


The Challenges: Let's Be Real


Let's not sugarcoat it. Despite the benefits, obtaining certifications can be a complex process for Black women entrepreneurs, often due to:


  • Financial Burdens: Application fees, documentation costs, and professional service expenses can add up quickly.

  • Time Commitment: Gathering documents, filling out applications, and going through reviews takes time, a precious resource for busy entrepreneurs.

  • Complex Standards and Limited Support Systems: Black women entrepreneurs often lack mentors familiar with the certification landscape.


So, how can Black women entrepreneurs overcome these hurdles to get certified?


Here’s The Good News


The ByBlack program, spearheaded by American Express and the U.S. Black Chamber of Commerce, introduces the first national certification program exclusively for Black-owned businesses. ByBlack offers a streamlined certification process that empowers Black entrepreneurs to benefit from certification. With 44% of consumers actively seeking out Black-owned businesses, this initiative addresses the demand for an accessible digital database that certifies Black ownership (American Express’ Small Summer Study).

 

This groundbreaking initiative provides a no-cost digital platform designed to certify Black-owned businesses and connect them with new revenue streams. Issa Rae has teamed up with American Express and the U.S. Black Chamber of Commerce to promote this initiative. Specifically, she certified Sienna Naturals, a natural hair care business co-owned by her and Hannah Diop, to expand their customer reach and inspire other Black business owners to follow suit. By participating in the ByBlack program, entrepreneurs have the opportunity to attract customers passionate about supporting Black-owned businesses and elevate their entrepreneurial journey without financial burdens. It's a game-changer, removing financial barriers and simplifying the process through a simple 30-minute application.


Figure 2: Excerpt from 2023 State of Black Women-Owned Businesses Report®


Unlocking Your Potential with B: Your AI Business Advisor on the Blaze Group App


Imagine having a trusted advisor by your side, guiding you every step of the way on your entrepreneurial journey. Well, that's exactly what you'll get with the Blaze Group App. Allow us to introduce you to your very own AI business advisor, B. Through the Blaze Group App, you can connect with B and embark on a journey of discovery. B is more than just an app feature; B is your secret weapon to navigate the world of certifications for Black women entrepreneurs. With B's expertise and assistance, you can take your business to new heights and break through barriers that may have previously held you back. Just a few taps away, you can chat with B., your AI business advisor, and prompt B. to help you learn more about the perks of certifications, how to navigate the certification process, and what certification options are available for you. B will provide you with all the information you need about certifications for Black women entrepreneurs—explaining the ins and outs, breaking down the requirements, and sharing success stories that will inspire and empower you.


The certification application process can be intimidating, with stacks of paperwork and confusing requirements. However, with B's assistance, you'll have the guidance and support you need to navigate the application process with ease and confidence. B will walk you through each step, helping you gather the necessary documents, complete the application forms, and craft language that perfectly showcases your company's unique value proposition. No more staring blankly at the application, unsure of what to write. B will help you find the words that capture the essence of your business and highlight your strengths. Whether it's describing your mission, sharing your growth trajectory, or highlighting the positive social impact you're making, B will help you find the perfect words. 


The Call to Action: It's Time to Get Certified (and We Can Help!)


It's time to join the movement and unlock the power of certification for your business. Here's what you can do:


  • Download the Blaze Group App: Chat with B. who can guide you through the process.

  • Research: Explore the ByBlack program and other relevant certifications for your industry.

  • Network: Build connections with other Black women entrepreneurs and share resources.


With B, your AI business advisor, by your side, you'll have all the tools you need to navigate the certification landscape with confidence and clarity. We're here to celebrate your brilliance, champion your dreams, and create a community where Black women entrepreneurs can thrive. Let's embark on this journey of growth, together with B as your trusted companion. Embrace the power of B, and watch your dreams transform into reality.


To join BLAZE and learn more about how to support Black women entrepreneurs, please visit our website at https://www.blazegroup.io/.

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