Shea Moisture Founder Is Giving $100 Million to Women Entrepreneurs of Color
If you’re a woman founder searching for funding, the challenges you face can be daunting at best: Less than 3 percent of female founders received venture capitalist investment in 2018. For black women—whose business ownership has grown 322 percent since 1997—the challenges can be nearly insurmountable. VC funding for black female founders clocks in at a paltry .02 percent. Thankfully, that’s about to change. Richelieu Dennis, founder of Shea Moisture, recently announced the launch of his $100 million New Voices Fund to invest in women entrepreneurs of color.
Dennis, who in 2017 sold Shea Moisture to Unilever, vowed to channel that capital for good, creating an investment fund for minorities with a focus on women entrepreneurs of color. Unilever and Sundial Brands—whose portfolios now include Shea Moisture—also stepped up, investing an initial $50 million toward the fund.
The announcement for the New Voices Fund was made at the Essence Festival earlier this month. As reported in Black Enterprise, Dennis told the festival audience, “About six months ago, we announced that we were launching the New Voices Fund. I’m proud to say that we get to officially launch the $100 million New Voices Fund for women of color entrepreneurs here at Essence Festival this weekend. Over the past six months, we have already either invested in or committed to, over $30 million in black women entrepreneurs.”
For women entrepreneurs of color, the New Voices Fund may provide a much needed boost while building their empires. Venture capitalists, take note.
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