Startups Led by Black Women Doubled Since 2016, digitalundivided’s Study Shows

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Kathryn Finney. Photo--Wikipedia

Black women owned startups have doubled since 2016 a newly released report by digitalundivid, a social enterprise that takes a transformative approach by economically empowering Black and Latinx women, shows.

The ProjectDiane 2018 report was released in collaboration with JPMorgan Chase, the Case Foundation, and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The study is part of digitalundivided’s ongoing proprietary research initiative ProjectDiane.

ProjectDiane 2018 builds on the findings from ProjectDiane 2016, which was the first research project to quantify the entrepreneurial experience of Black women founders in the U.S. and sparked a national dialogue about inclusive innovation and entrepreneurship.

It includes updated data on access to funding, new findings on the impact of location and education on startup success, and a fresh quantitative lens on Black women founders and their startup journey.

The 2018 study also revisits the $1MM founders club and examines key changes to this much anticipated list of Black women who have raised over $1MM in outside capital. The report represents data and findings from ongoing quantitative and qualitative analysis by a dedicated team of researchers and scholars led by digitalundivided.

“We are proud to be continuing the push toward a world where all women own their work through entrepreneurship, because that’s the path to real power and economic stability for Black and Latinx communities," says Kathryn Finney, CEO and Managing Director of digitalundivided. "...digitalundivided understands the impact of data on policy and startup ecosystems which is why we’re committed to using ProjectDiane to further develop data-driven programs for Black and Latinx women founders and shape the narrative about women of color in startups."

Key findings from the report include:

The number of innovative startups founded by Black women has more than doubled since 2016. There are 2.5 times as many startups in the ProjectDiane 2018 database (227) compared to 2016 (84).

The median funding raised by all Black women founders is $0. While there is a growing number of Black women crossing the $1MM venture threshold, a majority of Black women-led startups do not raise any money.

After the release of ProjectDiane 2016, the amount raised by Black women founders increased 500%, from $50 million in 2016 to $250 million in 2017.

Still, Black women raised only .0006% of all tech venture funding since 2009.

At the undergraduate level, Howard University, a historically Black college and university (HBCU) in Washington, D.C. produced more Black women-led startups than Harvard University. The larger population of Black women may be a factor in Howard outperforming Harvard, however Harvard has significantly more resources than Howard and a strong, long term history of producing successful startups (Microsoft, Facebook).

JPMorgan Chase has invested $500,000 in digitalundivided as part of the firm’s $150 million Small Business Forward initiative to invest in businesses owned by minorities, women and veteran entrepreneurs. The funding includes support for the 2018 ProjectDiane report, as well as a nine-month cohort for 40 startups founded by women of color at digitalundivided's BIG incubator.

“Women of color are the fastest growing segment of entrepreneurs. While some progress has been made, ProjectDiane underscores the economic opportunity left on the table when good ideas and small businesses led by women of color do not get the resources they deserve,” says Janis Bowdler, President of the JPMorgan Chase Foundation. “...digitalundivided is doing incredible work in their goal to elevate women of color as business leaders and entrepreneurs. Thanks to their efforts, we are beginning to change the face of entrepreneurship in the tech industry.”

“Expanding access to capital for women and entrepreneurs of color nationwide - segments that have traditionally been overlooked - is good for entrepreneurs and for the overall U.S. economy,” says Jean Case, CEO of the Case Foundation. “...digitalundivided is breaking down barriers to economic growth and lifting up new innovators who are driving ingenuity and building more inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems that are critical to our nation’s economic future.”

“We believe that everyone has a fundamental right to turn an idea into an economic reality, regardless of who they are or where they’re from,” says Chris Harris, senior program officer at the Kauffman Foundation. “....digitalundivided has demonstrated uncommon solutions to leveling the playing field for entrepreneurs who have been excluded due to demographic, socioeconomic and geographic barriers.”

For the full ProjectDiane 2018 report and findings and to learn more about the research visit the interactive site

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