By Chyna Valentine
African Americans have powered through hundreds of years of disadvantage, segregation, and unequal treatment to become successful in their respective fields. Entrepreneurship is a field of work in which people of color are just starting to get a foothold.
“Being black has impacted my business in many ways, Good and Bad,” said Brandon Valentine, owner of Prince Charles Lemonade. “Bad in the way of working hard to prove to the world that we can produce products in a fashion that can rival or surpass any other race of people. Good in the way of being proud that I’ve been able to produce a product in spite of the barriers put in place to stop progress”.
Extra education is not necessary to become an entrepreneur, but universities often help with networking and offer opportunities that further students’ success.
“My major in college was Organizational Development and Leadership,” said Michael Calloway, a part-owner of a spa and ultrasound business called Becoming Mom. “This helps me to think about business from the ‘people’ perspective and not just the financials. It also helps me think through how our ownership group operates, resolves conflict, and solves problems”.
Especially after the pandemic, there was a surge of black businesses throughout the United States. The pandemic was not the only variable that influenced the surge in black business. The creation of the “Black Lives Matter” movement also played a huge role in the recent surge in black excellence.
Someone who has experienced higher education and used it to their advantage is black business owner Kayla Johnson.
She is currently a student at Troy University that owns her own lipgloss business called “Luphi.”
“I tried many brands of lipgloss and lip care products, but I felt that they weren’t catered towards women of color,” Johnson said. I wanted to be the change that I wanted to see, so I decided to start my own business”.