What Innovation Looks Like for Black and Latinx Female Founders
The need for women to believe in their ideas and bet on themselves has never been more prominent in our conversations than it is right now. We are all looking for resources and innovative ways to disrupt the status quo. Many of us are finally ready to test out our wildest ideas in search of a viable business to build upon, while trying to define ourselves in this new normal.
For women, the obstacles are always complicated to navigate and obtaining access to capital is a constant uphill battle that few endure successfully. For Black and Latinx women, those barriers to opportunity are amplified. During a time when conversations about the intersection of gender and race in Silicon Valley were practically nonexistent, digitalundivided was founded with the mission of using data and advocacy to spur economic growth and create pathways for Black and Latinx women entrepreneurs. We spotted the problem early on in 2012 and built solutions to help women of color succeed. Having served as an advisor for the organization since its inception, Board Co-Chair, and now CEO, I know the power of our programs and the brilliance of our alumni community.
Our programs show women of color that cultivating their curiosity creates success. We work to prove that it is possible to be innovative from anywhere with the right combination of resources and community. A pioneer in this space, digitalundivided has consistently moved the needle to create a world where all women own their work, through our proprietary research, thought leadership, and programming.
Black and Latinx women are the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S., yet they still remain shockingly underfunded compared to others — both in securing investments and the level of investment. In fact, according to ProjectDiane 2018, for every $1.3M of investment raised on average for a white male, Black women raise just $42,000. The collection and amplification of this data is a pillar in the work that we do at digitalundivided.
Through reports such as ProjectDiane, we have been able to add concrete data on Black and Latinx female founders to an ecosystem that systemically overlooks them. At the helm of promoting an inclusive and innovative ecosystem, is the importance of data in culturally relevant spaces. Since the first bi-annual ProjectDiane Report in 2016, we've witnessed the narratives about Black and Latinx women founders spark nationwide discussions around inclusivity in entrepreneurship and innovation.
I like to say that we lead from instinct and experience and we back it up with data so there's never a question about our impact. Every time a woman of color leads in spaces of innovation and entrepreneurship, our mission is amplified and hopefully another Black or Latinx woman is influenced and motivated by their journey. Then they call us on to help catalyze their genius.
In tandem with our research, we are committed to providing powerful programming that offers community and resources to Black and Latinx women at all stages of their entrepreneurial journey. From our START program, a three week virtual training program for those at the concept stage of entrepreneurship, to micro investment initiatives supporting founders during the pandemic, digitalundivided is consistently providing avenues to ensure Black and Latinx women founders not only have a seat at the table, but are able to stay in the arena.
With nearly two decades of experience in the entrepreneurial space, I could not be more excited to take the helm at digitalundivided and push our mission forward. As we look to advance economic empowerment for Black and Latinx women and their communities, it brings us great joy to work with Brit + Co as they commit to investing in these women with us.
For more follow @digitalundivided and @laurenmaillian. Ready to take the leap and invest in yourself? Sign up for the fall session of Selfmade! Lauren will be guest teaching along with a dozen other brilliant female leaders -- get ready to get inspired.