MLK’s “I have a dream” is Still a Dream?

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As February is Black History Month, Black female entrepreneurs experience a lack of resources and funding, which studies show 97% of them run into when starting a business compared to their non-minority counterparts. In Columbia, there are only 1,858 minority-owned businesses vs. 9,853 non-minority owned according to the most recent numbers by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Jennifer Sutton, owner of the multimedia company OrangeWIP that equips busy entrepreneurs and founders with the resources they need to scale their business, has seen first-hand the disparities in the Black business community.

"I witnessed an African-American man who started the first Black-owned investment fund in 2020 in SC right after the Black Lives Matter movement, which sparked a call to action for greater investment in minority communities,” says Sutton. "What's disturbing is that despite the promise of support from hundreds of corporations and investors, none of them followed through with funding. This reveals the harsh reality of broken promises and ignored opportunities for marginalized communities."

As a result of working closely with business development agencies and serving as a coach and mentor for minority-owned businesses, Sutton has seen that despite minorities holding businesses that employ about 8.7 million people, they receive just half the amount of investments compared to white-owned companies.

With Black History Month in February, audiences are more tuned into the inequities of the Black community where African-American voices and issues are amplified to foster change.

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