Ecosystem Spotlight: Black Future

Ecosystem Spotlight: Black Future

The Impact Seat Foundation

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This Black History Month we’ve seen a growing focus on “Black Future,” which seeks to empower and uplift the Black community through the celebration of its achievements and progress, while also recognizing the ongoing work to be done.

Below, we asked five of our ecosystem founders what they believe is necessary to create an economically and systemically sound future for fellow Black entrepreneurs and business leaders.

  1. A MAJOR CULTURAL OVERHAUL

“A cultural shift is needed in how we think about Black and Brown entrepreneurs. There are still too many misconceptions that minority-owned businesses and enterprises are not novel and not likely to succeed. There is also a belief that Black and Brown leaders are not eager to step forward into entrepreneurship that creates jobs for others. Nothing could be further from the truth! All the studies show that diverse-led firms are more innovative, more productive and more profitable. They are cash-efficient — since we’re used to making a dollar out of 15 cents! And they tend to exit at higher multiples. Black women are the largest demographic of Americans starting their own businesses — yes, well ahead of white men and yet they are undercapitalized. Let’s flip the script and create stronger economic development that builds our nation’s future together!”

2. MORE SUCCESS STORIES

“As a black female physician and entrepreneur, I am used to being the minority in the room. In addition to early access to capital which is critical to laying the foundation for any business to grow, I think the future of Black entrepreneurs and business leaders requires more visibility and stories of success. If you can see it, you can believe it. I plan to publicly share my climb to the top as a CEO and Founder of NasaClip. This will not only attract more investors and interest in my business but provide the example of Black excellence that others can follow.”

  • Dr. Elizabeth Clayborne, Founder & CEO of Nasaclip

3. GENERATIONAL HEALTH OVER GENERATIONAL WEALTH

“Well-being for all should be the goal, and we don’t get there through find and replace approaches that swap white bodies for black and brown ones while maintaining the same values that perpetuate inequity. The Dalai Lama said man sacrifices health for money and then sacrifices money to recuperate health. I think the game-changer for society begins when entrepreneurs and business leaders put less emphasis on generational wealth and more on generational health and well-being.”

4. BUILDING OUR OWN ECOSYSTEM

“A recent report from Crunchbase found that funding for Black founders dropped by more than 50% in 2022, cutting our share from 1.7% of invested dollars to 1.1%. History tells us that this has been and will always be the case. Our future is one where we, as a Black community, start building our own ecosystems that focus on funding, supporting, and building one another up rather than waiting for the ship to roll in.”

5. NEW STRUCTURES THAT REFLECT THE COMMUNITY

“As a community we have to be very careful that we don’t replicate the current structure that has been built. We need to think about building structures that are organic to our community and organic to how we move and operate. When we build our future, we need to take into account how our community operates differently and how we have a different way of relating to each other. We’re not extractive. We’re not exploitative like the systems that we come from. As we look towards the future, we must rethink these structures and build them in our likeness.”

Paraphrased from a recent video interview The Impact Seat Foundation hosted with Kathryn Finney. Kathryn Finney sat with CEO Cheryl Contee to talk about what Black History Month means for her, what Black future looks like, and some of the innovations she’s most excited about building via her fund, Genius Guild. Watch the full length video below:

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The Impact Seat Foundation

Creating a world in which women can succeed as business leaders.