Market Strategist and CEO of Odyssey Media, Linda Spradley Dunn, joined Roland Martin on NewsOne Now to discuss the increasing number of Black women business owners, how to transition from a small business to a larger scaled operation, the tools Black women can use to further aid in the expansion of their entrepreneurial endeavors, and how she’s helping advance the cause with her “In The Black” Tour.
Despite African-American women comprising the largest group of business owners in the United States, Black women are awarded less than one percent in angel funding. Dunn told Martin that when she walks into a bank with her assistant, she is still viewed as his secretary.
“Though we have the passion, we have the commitment, and a lot of times we’re better equipped than some men to run businesses, we’re not getting the tools necessarily to grow those businesses,” said Dunn.
Later during their conversation, Dunn explained the “end game” of the “In The Black” tour is to teach African-American women how to collaborate and create a trusting environment where women can receive assistance with the challenges of running a business and say, “we’re here to lift you up.”
The “In The Black” tour, which is sponsored by Coca-Cola, Life Reimagined (AARP), and Marriott International is interested in seeing “diverse women succeed in business,” Dunn said.
One of the tools to help Black women succeed and take the next step in their respective entrepreneurial endeavors focuses on developing leadership, analyzing your balance sheet, and strategically looking at your plan of how to go forward.
Dunn looks at this particular resource as the “reimagining” of a life map, because she believes many women are “stuck.”
“You’re being a mom, a CEO, you’re helping out at your church, trying to raise kids, and you’re trying to run a business. Sometimes we’re teaching take off the cape, you can’t do it all at one time,” said Dunn.
She added that “In The Black” also helps women keep track of their successes through a digital forum, as well as provides the “tools and resources to help women get to the next level.”
According to Dunn, most of the women who participate in “In The Black” are “pipeline women,” who “went to the right schools, got the right degrees, went to work in corporate America and said, ‘OK, I’ve had enough of that, I want to do my own thing.’”
She also highlighted that many small “mom and pop” establishments look to her initiative to gain guidance “on how do I get to the next level, how do I convince the bank to increase my credit line,” as well as those women who are looking to re-enter the workforce after raising their families.
“In The Black” is currently in the midst of a 15 city national tour, with nine cities remaining on schedule. Those interested in attending Dunn’s “In The Black” tour can register for conferences coming up in Houston (Nov. 10th), Los Angeles (Nov. 12th), New Orleans (Nov. 17th), and in Miami (Nov. 18th).
To get more information about “In The Black,” visit www.odysseymc.com.
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