The story of Black women founders is all too familiar.
Despite being the fastest growing group of female entrepreneurs, the median amount of funding raised by Black women is $0, according to digitalundivided. Overall, Black women have raised just .0006 percent of all tech venture funding since 2009.
Entrepreneur Dee Poku Spalding wants to reframe this narrative.
She launched the inaugural Black Women Raise symposium last Friday convening Black female founders and business leaders committed to addressing the ability to raise growth capital, scale up and create pathways for the women behind them.
“Yes, we encounter barriers but despite that, we are strongly innovating in our fields and building incredible businesses that compete comfortably in the marketplace,” she said in a statement.
The event served a dual purpose of providing founders with practical resources and an open forum for voicing frustrations.
Founders participating in the program included Marah Lidey, founder of Shine Text, a messaging app helping young people achieve self-care, and Jewel Burk, founder of Amazon acquired tech company PartPic.
Programming also included a panel discussion on insights from investors like Charles Hudson, founder, and managing partner of Precursor Ventures, and Sutian Dong, a partner at Female Founders Fund.
“Are Black women fundamentally higher-risk investments?” asked Asmau Ahmed, founder of Plum Perfect and SVP at Bank of America, during a panel titled “Understanding The Investor Mindset.”
Poku Spalding is not new to helping create opportunities for women. She is also the founder of Women Inspiration & Enterprise (WIE) Network, a network designed to create a community for women in the workplace.
“I wanted to build the type of strong community and network around this group that other founders get to take for granted,” she said.
Black women who raised less than $1 million in 2017, raised an average of $42,000. On average, 39 percent of venture capital deals at the Series A stage were $25 million or larger in 2017, according to Pitchbook.