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Goldman Sachs – Helping to Grow Female Black Entrepreneurship

In the recent post, Hidden Figures: The Secret is Out!, I featured an incredible story of a family of Black women and their business successes. McKissack and McKissack is the outgrowth of the oldest minority/women-owned architectural and engineering firm in the United States. I would say that their success beat the odds of every negative picture painted and narrative told throughout history about Black people. What’s fascinating about their success is that their business was built out of the knowledge, skills and self-finances passed down from their forefathers. For those who aren’t as fortunate as the McKissacks, opening and sustaining a Black female-owned business requires overcoming challenges and obstacles hindering their launch and sustainability. But guess what? It’s happening and I’m learning something new all the time that’s worth sharing!

Referenced in my previous post was a 2021 Harvard Business Review report indicating that in the U.S., Black female entrepreneurs are launching businesses at higher rates than white men and white women. The report also includes obstacles faced by Black women and some of the issues of starting and maintaining their businesses.

As a follow up to the Hidden Figures post I wanted to explore what’s driving the targeted efforts that enable Black women entrepreneurs to grow and sustain their businesses. Why are Black women excelling in launching their business?

As written earlier, lack of support and funding are just two of the many challenges Black women face in launching their own business. However, this lack of support appears to be trending down, opening the windows and ceilings for Black women to launch and sustain successful businesses. Now, I’m not a financier, but I can recognize a win when I see it. Thanks to corporations like Goldman Sachs, the lights are brighter at the end of the entrepreneur tunnel!  First, let me begin with explaining who or what Goldman Sachs is.

The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. was founded in 1869. It is a leading global financial institution that delivers a broad range of financial services across investment banking, securities, investment management and consumer banking to a large and diversified client base that includes corporations, financial institutions, governments, and individuals. The firm is headquartered in New York and maintains offices in all major financial centers around the world.

Through my recent research for this post, I’ve learned about a Black women initiative announced by Goldman Sachs to make investments that positively impact and transform the lives of at least one million Black women by the year 2030. These investments include the One Million Black Women Initiative.

One Million Black Women Initiative 2021

In 2021, in partnership with Black-women-led organizations, financial institutions and other partners, Goldman Sachs has committed $10 billion in direct investment capital and $100 million in philanthropic capital over the next decade to address the dual disproportionate gender and racial biases that Black women have faced for generations, which have only been exacerbated by the pandemic.

One of the things among many that I find so interesting about this initiative is that Goldman Sachs launched the program in partnership with Black women-led organizations, HBCU’s and sororities such as sigma Gamma Rho, which my daughter who attended and HBCU, is a member of!

This new initiative is the largest announcement of its kind in both size and scope. The One Million Black Women initiative is a series of 17 new investments, partnerships and grants that reflect Goldman Sachs ongoing commitment to invest in the core pillars, but not limited to access to capital that impact Black women at every stage in their lives, education;  job creation, workforce development, digital connectivity, (the utility of the 21st century that drives all aspects of smart and future cities, and key components of economies and societies), and financial health.

On October 18, 2021, Goldman Sachs One Million Black Women announced a new partnership with Echoing Green to accelerate the impact of Black women social entrepreneurs through its world-renowned Fellowship program. Goldman Sachs Foundation will provide Echoing Green with a $1 million grant to develop a new cohort of Fellows who are leading programs to positively impact and radically transform the futures of Black women and girls across the U.S.

Through this new partnership, both One Million Black Women and Echoing Green will drive transformation by increasing access to capital for early-stage Black women social entrepreneurs whose work is designed with and for their communities.

In speaking of Black women and the initiative, David M. Solomon, chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs suggests that no investment could have a bigger impact than unlocking the economic potential of Black women. Solomon shared “In the face of significant disparities, they’ve shown admirable resilience, especially as they’re starting businesses faster than anyone else in the U.S. Building on our 20-year history of investing in female entrepreneurs and underserved communities we are now proud to partner with Black female-led organizations and an outstanding advisory council to invest in opportunities to unlock their economic and leadership potential.”

Despite or if I can freely say, in spite of all the negativity and challenges Black women face throughout life, I can proudly, yet humbly say, that Black women are resilient! This resilience propels Black women to excel and succeed given the opportunity to do.

What to Watch For: One Million Black Women initiative 2022? 

On January 12, 2022, Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.  announced the next round of investments, partnerships, and grants for the One Million Black Women initiative.

Goldman Sachs is partnering with Hope Enterprise Corporation, mayors and HBCUs – organizations and communities in which they operate. They’ve joined with partner organizations on listening sessions to understand the barriers to opportunity Black women face and how targeted investments can address these barriers. It is being shaped by Black women within Goldman Sachs, alumna of the 10,000 Small Businesses program and partnerships with Black women’s organizations.

New philanthropic grants will be provided to organizations across the country, just to name a few:

  • Crittenton Services of Greater Washington (Washington, D.C.) to support the social and emotional skills development of middle and high school-aged girls from low-income families to complete college and become economically secure.
  • Corner to Corner (Nashville, TN) to help underestimated entrepreneurs in Nashville plan, start and grow their own small businesses.
  • New Leaders (National) to recruit and train principals of color. The grant will develop a one-year pilot program to support Black women in education leadership.

To learn what’s next from Goldman Sachs’ initiative for Black women, click here: Latest Round of Investments, Partnerships and Grants to Kick Off 2022

Final Thoughts

Through the One Million Black Women initiative, the investment will be grounded in the voices and experiences of Black women. I believe and am hopeful that investments like these will have a bigger impact of unlocking the economic potential of Black women as indicated, by recognizing the power of Black women and putting their needs and voices at the center. This initiative is transformational. With support from programs, investors like Goldman Sachs, Mayors, companies with significant ties to the community as well communities, are all instrumental in Black women continuing to excel in launching their own businesses that grow successfully and is sustainable.

Thank you to the DC Voice for providing a platform for contributors like myself to learn, grow and share!

June Coxson

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