Entrepreneur
Investment Business Career Success Image Credit: Entrepreneur
Investment Business Career Success Image Credit: Entrepreneur

Black Women Find A Way

When African American female founders are turned down by investors and banks (which is almost always), what do they do? They find incredibly innovative ways to use their skills and resilience to fund their businesses. Here's what they know.

Monique Greenwood

Most women under the age of, say, 45 dread a particular time of the month. (Fellas, stay with me.) So, Arion Long, an African American millennial out of the Washington, D.C., area, came up with the Femly Box, a way to make the monthly menstrual routine less burdensome and more like a gift. Her ultimate PMS kit includes a supply of organic, all-cotton feminine products, along with wholesome wellness treats, like shea butter, herbal tea, and organic chocolates. For about $30 a month, it comes in a pretty package that gets delivered right to a woman’s door, just in time for her cycle.

When Long, a former health plan communications specialist, launched her business in 2015, she had only one problem: getting funding from investors. “Let’s face it,” she says. “I was talking to middle-aged white men. They didn’t know the product or use the product. And they didn’t care. I’m a brown-faced, five-foot-one-inch young woman, who wasn’t taken seriously. I had done my research and was ready. But young white men—some of whom had simply jotted down an idea on a beverage napkin—got the nod.” Long was hoping to snag a modest $10,000 to $75,000 investment. Everyone she talked to said no.

The numbers bear out her plight. Since 2009, out of the $424.7 billion in total tech venture capital funding, the portion given to Black female founders? A minuscule .0006 percent, according to Project Diane 2018, a report by


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