A venture capitalist firm is aiming to level the playing field for Black women when it comes to securing funding for their business ventures. Backstage Capital recently announced that it will invest $36 million in the entrepreneurial endeavors of African American women, Business Insider reported.
The firm unveiled the plan for the fund at the United State of Women 2018 Summit in Los Angeles, the news outlet writes. Through the initiative, Backstage Capital plans to invest in nearly 20 companies over the next three years. Arlan Hamilton, the founder and managing partner of the firm, says that the statistics surrounding Black women securing venture capital are alarming and it needs to be changed. “I think the figures speak for themselves: less than .2% of all early-stage venture funding goes to Black women, while we make up approximately 8% of the U.S. population and are one of the fastest growing entrepreneur segments in the country,” she told Tech Crunch. She also believes that its unfair Black women have had to “accept scraps” when trying to get financial backing for their business endeavors.
According to Business Insider, the first group of entrepreneurs will be awarded this year.
Many Black entrepreneurs are launching initiatives to help their fellow Black business owners thrive. Marceau Michel—creator of Black Founders Matter—is aiming to raise $10 million for visionaries of color in the tech industry. “By raising awareness, using our supporters as walking billboards and reaching our community, I believe we can raise more than enough funds to shake up venture funding as it pertains to people of color and make them pay attention to our resourcefulness and resilience,” said Marceau.