Actress Keshia Knight Pulliam is investing in the futures of Black women entrepreneurs. According to Essence, she teamed up with entrepreneur Arian Simone to launch a $5 million venture capital fund to support startups created by women of color.
The VC fund—dubbed the Fearless Fund—was created to close the racial and gender gaps that Black women entrepreneurs face when trying to secure venture capital. According to Fast Company, although Black women are the fastest-growing group of business owners in the country, less than one percent of founders get VC funding. Both Simone and Pulliam are on a mission to address this issue and help women who have been impacted by these disparities fulfill their entrepreneurial dreams. Through the fund, money will be allocated to pre-seed, seed, and Series A startups.
Amongst some of the companies that they’ve started working with include a fitness app called Activvely, an all-natural, antioxidant-rich hibiscus tea brand named Ellis Island Tea, and a digital platform called Reset that provides flexible and affordable workspace options. The fund has also partnered with EnrichHER, which is a lending platform that provides women-owned businesses with access to capital and 100 Black Angels which is focused on building Black generational wealth through entrepreneurship.
“We wanted to start small, that was with intention. We want to prove great returns for our investors,” Simone said in a statement, according to Hypepotamus. “I started as an entrepreneur in college, raising funds for my retail store. I was only 21 but I promised myself that, one day, Arian, you’re going to be that investor you’re looking for.”
Like Pulliam and Simone, several individuals are stepping up to support Black women entrepreneurs. Hip-hop mogul Jay-Z recently invested $1 million in a vegan cookie company owned by a Black woman.