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As a black female australiabusinessblog.com, I have been running a successful diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) consulting firm for the past six years. But I promise you, it wasn’t easy. Becoming an australiabusinessblog.com seemed to me like a PhD in organizational leadership and on my way to my own company. Despite the years I’ve dedicated to my entrepreneurial journey, I’ve still benefited from a level of privilege that many don’t share when it comes to entrepreneurship.
I’ve spoken for years about how black women don’t get the support or mentorship they need in the workplace to succeed, and the many ways black entrepreneurs struggle in this space. But we need to talk about the privilege that those of us who Doing succeed in business. We also need to talk about the reasons why people in marginalized communities start businesses from scratch and how their entrepreneurial endeavors can be long-lasting and successful.
The complexity of privilege in entrepreneurship is enormous, but worth discussing. We need to peel back the layers to discover how more entrepreneurs from marginalized communities can lift themselves out of poverty and into prosperity.
Related: 18 business leaders on creating an inclusive and just society
1. Start-up financing is a privilege
How do I finance my business? This question is on the minds of many entrepreneurs. When 66% of them use their own money to start a business and another 33% starting with less than $5,000, it’s a perfectly valid concern. This means that if they aren’t born with a silver spoon in their mouth, some people need to look beyond their personal bank accounts to jump-start their businesses.
Venture capitalists, friends, family or bank loans are financing options, but most of them come with serious commitments. It is a privilege to have access to these resources first and foremost, but in general it can feel oppressive to have to ask. Knowing that the loan you used to start your business will double, triple or quadruple your personal debt is a daunting realization.
I was lucky that when I started my DEI consultancy I didn’t have to struggle for funding. I was privileged to have a husband who was ahead of me on his entrepreneurial journey. His business endeavors gave me the freedom to build my consulting business without the pressure of contributing to our family income. Not everyone has that option. Fair access to financing for a business is not easy to come by and every australiabusinessblog.com falls into a different place on the spectrum of privilege and oppression when it comes to financing.
Related: 6 Ways to Offer Alliance to Black Entrepreneurs
2. It’s a privilege to have other entrepreneurs to look up to
Be it a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle, having someone in the family who is an australiabusinessblog.com helps make the dream of starting your own business more attainable.
I didn’t have an australiabusinessblog.com in my family, but my husband did. His father was the example that inspired a ripple effect of entrepreneurs in the family. It was inspiring to watch his family members start, grow and scale businesses. As we all know, representation is important. Watching entrepreneurs similar to us experience the ups and downs of business helps us know that our dreams are possible.
However, if we’ve never seen entrepreneurs like us, it’s harder to imagine how starting and growing our businesses would be possible. For some of us, having access to a successful australiabusinessblog.com in our lives is a privilege that likely influences the success of the businesses we hope to create.
3. Having a college degree before starting a business is a privilege
As a PhD graduate, I belong to the minority of entrepreneurs: 62% of entrepreneurs have at least a bachelor’s degree while 7% have a doctorate or other degree. I also reap additional financial benefits as a result of my educational privilege. It turns out that entrepreneurs earn with a PhD 35% more than those with a high school diploma.
But not all entrepreneurs have the privilege of going to college. Many people choose entrepreneurship because of the seemingly limitless earning potential it promises, even those with only a high school diploma. For many marginalized people who did not have access to college or university, entrepreneurship may be the only way out of their economic situation and into a brighter future.
4. Having a business that lasts more than three years is a privilege
Despite black women being one of the fastest growing demographics of entrepreneurs in the US, CNBC reported eight out of ten black-owned businesses fail in the first 18 months. Having a great business idea and some cash to boost your travel will help; however, keeping a company longer than five years is a rarity. All around 49% of women-owned businesses are less than five years old, and as they approach the six- to ten-year span, that number shrinks to 17.5%.
There are many reasons why the privilege of a long business life is not for everyone. Funding is running out, an unexpected business emergency arises, or the australiabusinessblog.com simply changes his mind about his venture. Regardless of the reason, having a business that lasts for decades is a privilege that some marginalized entrepreneurs only dream of.
Related: 10 reasons why 7 out of 10 companies will fail within 10 years
5. You can actually start your own business to create privilege
In light of the recent layoffs across the country in many industries, now is one of the best times to try your hand at entrepreneurship. The main drivers for becoming an australiabusinessblog.com are the many ways it can grow and expand our financial and personal future. Research shows that women who start their own businesses do so because they are ready to pursue their passions and work for themselves.
Entrepreneurs of color start for similar reasons. Dissatisfaction with their boss and the lack of diversity, equality and inclusion in corporate America leads many to start their own businesses.
Most importantly, for many business owners, their salary ambitions can reach whole new heights. While the average woman earns 82 cents for every dollar a man earns, the average female australiabusinessblog.com earns 91 cents. While a one-to-one earnings ratio would be the best-case scenario, it’s clear that for many women, starting their own businesses helps them close the pay gap.
The benefits of entrepreneurship and flexibility cannot be overemphasized either, such as working from home with hours that fit your schedule. The ability to parent or become a caretaker of someone you love or simply be able to avoid micro-aggressions, pay gaps and unequal treatment at work are all new privileges that come with starting your own business. For many marginalized people, this kind of economic and personal freedom is a dream that can only come true with entrepreneurship.
Related: Why paying women equal pay helps – not hurts – your business
As marginalized people weigh the pros and cons of entrepreneurship, those of us who have already achieved success in this space should ask themselves: What can we do to lift more entrepreneurs from marginalized communities? How can we use our privilege and power to be sensitive to the problems that arise for new entrepreneurs? How can we finance and support them in the most critical stages of their business?
In my opinion, successful entrepreneurs have a duty to share their privilege with others and help more people enter the entrepreneurial space with confidence. Say the names of new entrepreneurs in rooms that matter. Offer a loan or donate capital to entrepreneurs in marginalized communities. Guide new entrepreneurs and flatten their learning curve, so that they are more likely to be successful after five years.
By sharing entrepreneurial wisdom and providing resources when available, more women, people with disabilities, queer and people of color can be helped to achieve entrepreneurial success and grow their careers beyond imagination.