Despite the racial and gender inequities that exist within the realm of entrepreneurship, Black women founders are making power moves and hitting historic milestones. According to Ad Week, the Black woman-owned beauty brand Mielle Organics recently secured a multi-million dollar investment.
When it comes to venture capital funding, the statistics surrounding support for Black women entrepreneurs are abysmal. According to Fortune, Black women founders received 0.27 percent of VC investments between 2018 and 2019. In the face of adversity, Black women entrepreneurs like Mielle Organics Co-founder & CEO Monique Rodriguez are overcoming the odds, charting their own paths and thriving. Her beauty brand—which was founded in 2014—recently received $100 million in VC funding from the Boston-based firm Berkshire Partners. The investment is historic as only 93 Black women entrepreneurs have secured $1 million in funding.
For Rodriguez—who started the business with her husband in their garage and now has products in major retail stores like CVS, Target and Walgreens—the investment will be instrumental in the company’s global expansion and it will also further Mielle Organics’ efforts to use beauty as an avenue to cultivate community. Some of the funds will go toward the brand’s “More Than a Strand” initiative which was launched to celebrate mother-daughter relationships. “We are excited to forge this historic partnership with Berkshire Partners,” Rodriguez said in a statement. “Their investment reinforces our mission for community development and growth of Mielle’s vision of global expansion. We are also thrilled to continue this journey with New Voices. They believed in Mielle from the beginning and have truly been a great partner. These are the types of steps it takes to create generational wealth and jobs for people of color. We are truly grateful for their partnership.”
Melvin Rodriguez, Co-founder & COO of Mielle Organics, says the VC funding will help elevate brand awareness and support the creation of new products. Monique and Melvin will remain the majority owners of the company.
News about Mielle Organics’ major investment comes after the Black-led VC firm Harlem Capital hit a milestone by raising $134 million to invest in diverse entrepreneurs. The investment group has taken major strides towards changing the face of entrepreneurship.