JaGurl TV sat down with Jill Johnson, the CEO of Institute For Entrepreneur Leadership, to discuss the importance of empowering women of color business owners.
Institute For Entrepreneur Leadership is a Non-Profit that Jill and her father co-founded together in 2002. The goal for the non-profit is to champion small business inclusion and empowering numerous women of color owned businesses with VC and Black Angel Investor funding. The organization rollout innovative solutions to address the barriers faced by Women of Color entrepreneurs; aiding them with core issues like scaling, sustainability, business planning, growth, exit strategies, and access to VCs and Angels.
Jill explains that her parents actually owned a newspaper publishing business and that the institute was just simply a reflection of their experiences and what she saw and learned growing up.
After starting her career in the Analysis program at Goldman Sachs, Jill “saw a whole different world of owning a business.” She further describes her experience, “I had the opportunity to meet people who not only grew businesses but sold their businesses and they were able to extract value and create tremendous wealth.” she says.”That was not something I saw happening in the black community with black business owners.”
Jill explains how viewing the business plans of businesses that were both successful and unsuccessful in raising money led to creating the institute.
The Women of Color Connecting Campaign launched at the end of 2018 as a recognition to women of color that started their businesses. “Women of color are starting businesses at a rate faster than any other segment, our businesses are less well funded and often times not funded at all.” The genesis of Women of Color raised the question of “How do we get more women of color on the trajectory to grow scale?”
Jill does provide us with a key gem on how to avoid pitfalls and position yourself in order to obtain opportunities. “If you’re surrounding yourself with people who are all employees and just work for someone else, as a business owner you’re not being fed, you’re not getting access to the benefit of knowledge from people who have had their own employees.” she adds “You want to surround yourself with not only like-minded people but people who have reached the level to which you aspire to be, people who can open doors for you.”
“What I see for us and Women of Color Connecting in Particular is really changing the game for women of color entrepreneurs, for identifying those that have the potential to win and helping them win.”
There will be a 3rd Annual Women of Color Summit in March, to stay up to date with that, future events and to become involved follow WomenOfColorConnecting on Facebook and Instagram.