The landscape of entrepreneurship has shifted, and women of color are leading the shift. In fact, 89% of all new businesses started by women are founded by women of color. As of 2019, 50% of all women-owned businesses are owned by women of color. While these businesses are spread across every industry, seeing women succeed in tech is something we are always excited to see. We’re celebrating the end of Black History Month and the beginning of Women’s History Month by honoring some of these incredible women and introducing you to their amazing companies. We hope you’ll join us in supporting pioneers who are making history by working to break down barriers, build up communities, and inspire others!
Kimberly Bryant—Black Girls Code
The technology industry thrives on innovation. What better way to drive growth and effect real change than to increase diversity in the next generation of STEM creators and innovators? Kimberly Bryant launched Black Girls Code with the mission to introduce young and pre-teen girls to computer programming—providing increased access and exposure to the skills, opportunities, and encouragement to succeed in STEM professions.
What happens when you combine technological innovation with a passion for sustainability and helping others? Just ask Jasmine Crowe, Founder and CEO of Goodr, an organization focused on closing the divide between America’s food supply chain and hungry communities. Her company wants to solve the logistics challenges that divert 72 billion pounds of food into the waste stream every year. Delivering the right data, analytics, and support, she’s able to help companies use that food before it goes to waste—creating healthy, nutritious meals for some of America’s 42 million people in need. Now that’s an amazing use of technology!
Setting out to make the world of tech more inclusive, Kathryn Finney founded digitalundivided in 2012. Her efforts have helped fuel innovation in the startup community—unleashing fresh ideas and empowering new voices with funding support that creates opportunities and economic growth for Black and Latinx women entrepreneurs everywhere.
Julia Collins—Zume Pizza and Planet FWD
Julia Collins is the first Black co-founder of a billion-dollar company. Zume Pizza is a robotic food prep company that automates—you guessed it—pizza. She also is the founder and CEO of Planet FWD. Her most recent venture works to reduce climate change with regenerative agriculture. Her continued entrepreneurial spirit makes us sure we’ll be seeing more amazing ideas in the future.
Jessica Matthews—Uncharted Power
Jessica Matthews founded Uncharted Power, a renewable energy startup with a mission to address the power problem in underserved communities. Matthews calls herself a mash up of Bill Nye the Science Guy and Beyoncé—which we think is spot on. Showcasing business savvy and an impressive understanding of the need for renewable energy, Matthews has grown an amazing company. Uncharted Power even attracted Magic Johnson to its board of directors to help expand the company’s programs throughout the U.S.
Asmau Ahmed—Plum Perfect
Finding the perfect makeup match for your face can be tricky. That’s why Asmau Ahmed created Plum Perfect, an app that analyzes your skin tone to help you find the perfect makeup match. It scans images of the user to determine their ideal shades and recommends everything from foundation to lipstick. The invention seems small, but for many women, it can end hours of scouring shelves and frustrated searching for that perfect shade. We can certainly appreciate helping people find the right product for their unique needs!
Laura Washington, Esosa Ighodaro, and Regina Gwynn—Black Women Talk Tech
We’re ending with a trio, not because they don’t deserve individual recognition, but because of the amazing work they do together. All three women are tech leaders who have built amazing companies on their own. Ighodaro is the founder of CoSign, a magazine that helps people find their style. Gwynn founded TresseNoire, an app that provides hair styling advice and connects you to a digital stylist. And Washington founded Fundr, an analytics platform which assesses the potential for success in startups. But together they have created Black Women Talk Tech, a network for Black businesswomen helping each other to grow their businesses and mentor each other to greatness.
Do you have a role model, mentor, or inspiration you’d like to share? Let us know who you’re celebrating this February and March. Leave a comment below or reach out to us on your favorite social media platform.