From Tragedy to Triumph, How One Entrepreneur Hooked Major Retailers

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One entrepreneur, Joe Pippins, holding his fishing caddy

Millions of people throw their hat into the ring to become entrepreneurs. Most of them, however, don’t make it far before they walk away, giving up on their business-owning dreams. One entrepreneur, Joe Pippins, has defied the odds and tragic situations that could have held him back, and now his business is being taken to a whole new level. Within the last few months, he entered into partnerships with four major retailers to have his line of products, The Fishing Caddy, in their stores around the country.

“I grew up in the inner city and had to learn how to make my way, taking scraps, being the butt of jokes, and learning to earn money on my own,” explains Joe Pippins, creator and founder of The Fishing Caddy. “It’s my childhood and ingenuity that has helped me overcome and go on to succeed. It’s all been a journey and learning experience.”

Pippins started selling toys out of his bedroom window when he was in the third grade. When he was in middle school he learned that he could make money selling candy. Not only did he sell it, but he had a crew of friends selling it, too. Growing up poor, and at one time being homeless, he used those lessons to fuel his motivations to succeed. He learned how to make money, as well as manage it. He also learned some lessons along the way, such as never leaving anyone else in charge of your profits.

As an adult, he had an entrepreneurial dream and invented The Fishing Caddy, which is an all-in-one fishing system. But the road to success was bumpy and he had a lot of things that could have held him back.

In the last two years, while trying to launch his business idea, his younger brother was a victim of gun violence, and his mother passed away. Then he experienced another major loss when the man, Curt Robertson, who taught him how to fish and was also his youth soccer coach died. These tragedies made him question his goals and consider giving up.

“I’ve learned so much about giving it everything you can and working toward the things you want,” added Pippins. “It’s important to know that you can’t control where you were born or the environment you were raised in, but through hard work and a take no prisoners mentality you can achieve the things you desire.”

Pippins dream came when he entered into the partnerships with major retailers, each of which will be carrying five of his fishing products. The Fishing Caddy system, as well as his single rod mounts, anywhere rod holder mounts, and anywhere cup holders, will all be sold in Ace Hardware, Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, and Scheels All Sports at locations around the country.

The products will be in stores in time for consumers to do their holiday shopping, giving them great present options for the estimated 46 million Americans who participate in fishing. The Fishing Caddy makes a great gift, because it will help ensure fishing trips are less stressful and will be enjoyed more, because it’s been designed for organization and to improve the anglers’ experience. The caddy is the world’ first all-in-one fishing system, offering a padded seat top or tackle box lid, a built-in cup holder, a life well for the fish caught, two rod holders, LED lights, and more. The water weight prevents it from tipping over, making a great piece of gear for sharing with a family that loves the outdoors.

The Fishing Caddy, which ranges in price from $69.95 to $129, was expertly designed for all types of fishing, and can be used by anglers of all ages. The organization system gives people everything they need for a great fishing experience. The fishing system has been designed to help make fishing more enjoyable, and give people more time to fish, rather than track down and organize their tackle and supplies. The Fishing Caddy is available online at Amazon, Etsy, Ace Hardware, Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, and Scheels locations, and at the company website: thefishingcaddy.com.

About The Fishing Caddy

The Fishing Caddy is the world’s first all-in-one fishing system. Created by Joe Pippins, the caddy offers anglers an easy and simplified way to head out fishing. Features on the caddy include two rod holders, a cup holder, live well for storing fish, tackle box, and a padded seat option. The Fishing Caddy is made in the USA and comes with a two-year warranty. For more information, visit the site at: thefishingcaddy.com.

Source:

The Outdoor Foundation. 2015 Special Report on Fishingtakemefishing.org

Rihanna Launches Another Big First: A Visual Autobiography

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Rihanna pictured in gold and black long dress at her book launch party

With only two months left in the year, Rihanna continues racking up a number of big wins. Recently at New York City’s revered art institution, the Guggenheim Museum, the fashion and beauty industry disrupter celebrated the release of Rihanna, the lavish large format book that features 1000 photos—many never seen before images from her days growing up in Barbados to candid moments between her global jaunts with friends and family.

As Rihanna welcomed invited guests—including many Navy fans—to the book launch, she acknowledged the book’s many contributors and artisans, including the Haas Brothers, who she said “they decided to do something this huge and dream this up with me.”

But the celebrated multihyphenate couldn’t finish her next acknowledgment after simply saying three words, “my bestie Melissa.”

The crowd erupted into thunderous applause for her long time friend Melissa Forde, who has a number of photographs featured in the book. “Thank you for these intimate images of life,” said Rihanna. “I didn’t even know the camera was here.”

She also thanked her tour photographer Dennis Leupold, who has shot a number of ESSENCE covers including Idris Elba, Taraji P. Henson and the cast of Black Panther, by calling him “a legend in his own right.”

Rihanna book is pictured opened with two pages filled with photos

And if Rihanna, which is 504 pages and weighs 15 pounds, wasn’t special enough, the artist has created three other unique editions. Already available, the Fenty x Phaidon edition, “This Sh*t is Heavy,” includes a copy of the book and a tabletop bookstand inspired by Rihanna’s hands. On November 20, the Luxury Supreme edition is signed and numbered by Rihanna and a “Drippy + The Brain” gold toned bookstand covered with a bespoke black vermiculated fabric (together it weighs 126 pounds). Lastly, the Ultra Luxury Supreme edition, entitled “Stoner,” includes a Portugal marble pedestal.

Rihanna will be available on October 24.

Continue on to Essence to read the complete article.

Inside Tyler Perry Studios’ Grand Opening Gala with Oprah, Spike Lee, Tiffany Haddish, Beyoncé and More

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Tyler Perry pictured with celebrities at his studio opening gala

In a speech celebrating the opening of his brand new 330 acre studio in Atlanta, Ga., Tyler Perry challenged his guests to dream bigger, like he had, while turning the former Army base into his personal production play land.

But even the biggest dreamers — and the biggest names in entertainment — couldn’t be prepared for all the multi-hyphenate creator had in store at his recent grand opening gala.

“For people to drop what they’re doing in their very busy schedules to come and join me in this moment is beyond anything I could’ve imagined. It makes me happy. It makes me want to cry. It makes me grateful. It’s just I’m beyond,” Perry told Variety on the red carpet as the festivities kicked off. “I’m over the moon right now.”

The centerpiece of the evening featured Perry’s tribute to trailblazing black stars who inspired him — Oprah Winfrey, Denzel Washington, Spike Lee, Will Smith, Halle Berry, Sidney Poitier, Whoopi Goldberg, Cicely Tyson and Harry Belafonte.

“It means I’m a part of history. This is an historic night in American cinema. It’s never been done before. So I’m honored and humbled that my brother asked me part of it,” Lee told Variety before being honored with soundstage No. 10.

The reveal of each soundstage and the star it honored was accompanied by a fireworks display and a round of massive applause from the A-list crowd. Perry also immortalized the late Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis, Della Reese, John Singleton and Diahann Carroll, who passed just before the ceremony on Friday.

Of celebrating Carroll’s legacy through the event, Perry said, “It’s sad news, is exactly what I thought at first, but then I looked at her 84 years on this planet. I looked at all that she was able to do. I looked at the bridges and the barriers that she broke just for me to be in this moment. So I’m celebrating it.”

Tiffany Haddish considers Perry a mentor after filming “Nobody’s Fool” on the lot. “Every time that I came in to work here at Tyler Perry studios, it was the biggest smile on my face. Cause I know the history of this place — It was a Confederate union military base,” Haddish recalled. “Trying to keep us enslaved. Now it’s owned by a black man.”

One attendee called the event “the black Met Gala” — but in actuality, the guest list gave the event the feel of the Oscars, Emmys and Grammys combined.

Continue on to Variety to read the complete article.

Over 6,000 Minority Business Enterprises and Corporate Partners Attend National Conference on Supplier Diversity in Atlanta

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minority business owners shaking hands at conference

On Sunday, October 13, the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) kicked off its annual conference and business opportunity exchange in Atlanta. 

With over 12,000 certified minority-owned businesses representing millions of consumers, NMSDC is the largest and most successful non-profit advocating for minority entrepreneurs in the country. 

The conference draws over 6,000 minority-business owners and corporate partners from around the nation.

“Economic inclusion is one of the most urgent issues we face to ensure opportunity and prosperity for all Americans,” said Adrienne Trimble, President of NMSDC. “Our numbers prove our success in this area.

In 2018, we executed $400 billion in revenue for minority-owned businesses. Some 1.6 million U.S. jobs were created, resulting in $96 billion in wages earned.

Who: National Minority Supplier Development Council

NMSDC President: Adrienne C. Trimble

What: 2019 Conference and Business Opportunity Exchange

Where: Atlanta, GA Georgia World Congress Center

When: October 13 – 16, 2019

Click here for the full conference schedule

Why: Economic inclusion for all Americans is one of the most critical issues of our time.

About NMSDCNMSDC advances business opportunities for certified minority business enterprises and connects them to corporate members. To meet the growing need for supplier diversity, NMSDC matches its more than 12,000 certified minority-owned businesses to our network of more than 1,450 corporate members who wish to purchase their products, services and solutions. NMSDC, a unique and specialized player in the field of minority business enterprise, is proud of its unwavering commitment to advance Asian, Black, Hispanic and Native American suppliers in a globalized corporate supply chain.

Alkaline Water Acquires Mark Wahlberg, Diddy Backed Aquahydrate

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Mark Wahlberg (L) and Sean Combs visit Extra at The Grove holding their water bottles

The Alkaline Water Company recently announced its acquisition of Aquahydrate, the Los Angeles-based bottled water company backed by celebrity investors like actor Mark Wahlberg, Sean “Diddy” Combs and fitness influencer Jillian Michaels.

Alkaline Water, the Scottsdale, Arizona-based maker of mineral-enhanced water Alkaline88, is completing the purchase for an undisclosed sum. The hope for the merger is to expand into more packaged water offerings, with upcoming launches that “will focus on CBD-infused products due to increased demand and popularity for functional wellness beverages.”

“When Sean and I first got involved in the business, our vision was to build a lifestyle company focused on health and wellness, and that’s what we’ve done,” Wahlberg said. “The Aquahydrate and Alkaline88 brands align well and will support exciting innovations in flavors, sparkling and CBD products.”

Interestingly, Alkaline Water also stressed its intention to comply with regulators when releasing the planned CBD products. The company stated that “Alkaline intends to comply in full with all federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations as Alkaline develops its CBD-infused products.”

Wahlberg, Diddy and Michaels also serve as Aquahydrate’s ambassadors, giving Alkaline Water a slew of added social media clout via their massive followings. Not to mention, the associated “celebrity friends,” including Beyoncé, who have been spotted drinking and endorsing Aquahydrate. The buzz has helped the company quickly gain distribution deals with national retailers, including Walmart and Target.

Continue on to The Observer to read the complete article.

20-Year Home Inspection Pro Becomes Franchisee With #1 Home Inspection Company

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Kareem Mincey standing in front of home inspection logo background wearing his uniform

After devoting over twenty years to the home inspection industry, 47-year-old, Kareem Mincey, decided that it was time to go into business for himself.

Recently, Mincey launched his own Pillar To Post Home Inspectors franchise.

Pillar To Post Home Inspectors is the brand to which more than three million families have turned to for 25 years to be their trusted advisor when buying or selling a home. Consistently ranked as the top-rated home inspection company on Entrepreneur Magazine’sannual Franchise500, Pillar To Post Home Inspectors is enjoying its 19th year in a row on that list.

If ever there was a hand-in-glove scenario for the Pillar To Post Home Inspectors franchise model, Kareem Mincey epitomizes it. His professional experiences as a claims adjuster, home inspector and project manager provides the ideal foundation upon which to build his business. “Having been responsible for inspecting and estimating property and casualty claims with roofs, attics, basements, and crawl spaces for the past two decades, I feel like I am ahead of the curve,” quipped Mincey when asked about his new business venture. Mincey was also required to be available for 24-hour emergency response services, which might come in handy as a new business owner. “Sales, marketing and even accounting were part of my role as a project manager,” said Mincey, which further indicates his preparedness for this new role.

A professional evaluation both inside and outside the home is at the core of Pillar To Post Home Inspectors’ service. Pillar To Post Home Inspectors input data and digital photos into a computerized report that is printed and presented on site. All information is provided to clients in a customized binder for easy reference, allowing homebuyers or sellers to make confident, informed decisions.

Mincey is accustomed to visiting job sites, preparing work-orders, estimating, scheduling and following projects through to completion. “All of my past experiences are going to help me be a better business owner,” said Mincey. “Not only do I have the practical experience, but my background in this industry has also taught me invaluable lessons about the importance of documentation, follow-up and most importantly, exceptional customer service. You can be great at what you do, but if you don’t do it with a smile and a can-do attitude, you’re not going to get very far for very long.”

Mincey researched many franchise models before selecting Pillar To Post Home Inspectors. “I ultimately decided on Pillar to Post Home Inspectors because of its history and reputation in the industry, and with 20 years of industry-specific experience of my own, I felt I would have more time to focus on aspects of growing the business and serving my community,” said Mincey.

About Pillar To Post Home Inspectors®
Founded in 1994, Pillar To Post Home Inspectors is the largest home inspection company in North America with home offices in Toronto and Tampa. There are nearly 600 franchises located in 49 states and nine Canadian provinces. The company has been named as Best in Category in Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise500® ranking for 19 years in a row. Long-term plans include adding 500 to 600 new franchisees over the next five years. For further information, please visit pillartopost.com. To inquire about a franchise go to pillartopostfranchise.com.

Twitter Is Raving Over Angela Bassett’s Powerful Speech at the Black Girls Rock! Awards

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actress Angela Bassett speaks onstage wearing sequined outfit

Some are born icons, some eventually achieve icon status, and some have icons thrust upon them. Such was the case with Angela Bassett, who became the recipient of the Icon Award, the highest accolade at the 2019 Black Girls Rock! event.

After Academy Award–winning actress Regina King introduced Bassett to the audience, the actress delivered an empowering acceptance speech, in which she discussed the winding road to finding her life’s purpose and what it means to stand in the face of adversity as a black woman.

“My purpose as a black woman, as an actress, has always been to portray excellence on the screen, to be proud, unapologetic, and without regret,” said the Black Panther queen.

“It hasn’t always been easy. And there have been tough times, days when the phone didn’t ring, even after What’s Love Got to Do with It, as well as moments of uncertainty and of doubt,” Bassett said.

“But what women like my mother, Betty Jane, and my Aunt Golden taught me is that there will be times when you seemingly face insurmountable obstacles, but that’s when you dig deep into your soul for the courage and the fortitude … .”

She additionally thanked her family for “giving me the opportunity and the space to be a black girl who rocks.”

Later, she urged the audience to persistently remind the world of their worth and irreplaceability. “When you’re told you’re not good enough, you tell them, not only am I good enough, I’m more than enough,” she said. “When they say send her back home, you tell them, I am home. I am the foundation of what you call home. When they tell you that you’re angry or nasty, you tell them that they’re mistaken. This is me. This is me being resolute and standing firmly in my truth. And when they say you’re not beautiful, you tell them that you are the descendant of royalty.”

Continue on to Harper’s Bazaar to read the complete article.

Viola Davis To Play Michelle Obama In New Showtime Series

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Michelle Obamba and Viola Davis pictured side by side

It’s fair to say that the next potential next TV role for Viola Davis will come with a lot of pressure.

The actress has signed on to play former First Lady Michelle Obama in a series titled “First Ladies” which is in the works at Showtime.

The network has given the prospective one-hour drama a three-script commitment, with novelist Aaron Cooley on board to write and executive produce.

The series will peel back the curtain on the personal and political lives of First Ladies from throughout history, with season one focusing on Eleanor Roosevelt, Betty Ford and Michelle Obama.

“First Ladies” will turn it lens on the East Wing of the White House, as opposed to the West, where many of history’s most impactful and world changing decisions have been hidden from view, made by America’s charismatic, complex and dynamic First Ladies.

The series hails from Showtime and Lionsgate Television.

Continue on to Variety to read the complete article.

New, Black-owned radio station in Chicago becomes the “Game-Changer”

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Tracey V. Bell close up professional picture

Chicago makes history by ushering change as African-American female industry veteran Tracey V. Bell, President of The Integrated Brand Marketing Company (The IBM Company), seals the deal of a lifetime and has purchased 95.1 FM Clubsteppin™ Chicago from Windy City Broadcasting.

Commercializing the brand name of Clubsteppin™ and recognized as “The Heartbeat of Soul,” 95.1 FM Clubsteppin™ Chicago becomes the only African-American-owned music station in Chicago with a strategy to change the game in the third largest media market in the country. While the parent company of Clubsteppin™ reveals that Steppin music will remain the nucleus of the format, it also shares that Steppin music transcends genres.

95.1 FM Clubsteppin™ Chicago will not only serve up the same great music its listeners have come to expect and enjoy, it will extend itself to ensure an optimal listening experience, intermingling Steppin music with Classic/Old School R & B. It will also remain committed to servicing African-American adults 35 plus years of age as its primary listener, the only music station in Chicago to do so.

Solidifying that commitment, in addition to Tom Joyner who will continue to start the day at 5:00 a.m., 95.1 FM Clubsteppin™ Chicago has teamed up with an A-List of Chicago’s veteran personalities, the Who’s Who in “Black” Chicago radio: Legendary DJ Sam Chatman, Ramonski Luv aka “The Al Kapone Of The Microphone,” Kris Hutchinson aka “First Lady,” who also dubs as Program Director, Gene “Airman” Phillips, Bonnie “Hey Baby” DeShong, Brian Frazier, Troi Tyler, Gachelle Coffey, Dana Divine, Hugo Hutchinson, AJ Parker and Ken Bedford and Luther Gage.

More still, 95.1 FM Clubsteppin™ Chicago, is bringing Smooth Jazz back to the airwaves in Chicago. Amidst one of its weekend specialty segments, “The Sunday Evening Winddown,” Gachelle “Smooth Touch” Coffey kicks off the segment and renowned recording artist Will Downing headlines at 9:00 p.m.

Committed to helping uplift the community, 95.1 FM Clubsteppin™ Chicago will work to become the people’s station and build a gateway for the exchange of information in support of small businesses. Building on that gateway, 95.1 FM Clubsteppin™ Chicago reaches 95 percent of African Americans on the South and West sides of Chicago and some areas of NW Indiana.

Continue on to the Chicago Crusader to read the complete article.

2 Million Downloads Later: One Woman’s Mission To Highlight Black Female Entrepreneurs

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Nicaila Matthews Okome sits casually on floor in front of couch smiling

It’s no secret that women are often unsuccessful in securing adequate funding to scale and grow their businesses. For women of color, these experiences can be even more pronounced.

The 2018 State of Women-owned Businesses Report found that in 2018 women of color comprised 47% of all women-owned businesses and that the number of companies owned by women of color grew by 163%. After non-minority women, Black women make up the largest segment of women-led businesses, the report indicates.

Nicaila Matthews Okome decided to spotlight these untold stories of female entrepreneurship and highlight the different trajectories of successful Black female business owners.

In 2016 Nicaila started a podcast, Side Hustle Pro, that features interviews from black female entrepreneurs who have successfully turned their side hustle into a profitable business. Now three years later, the podcast has amassed over two million downloads and was named “the perfect entrepreneurship podcast” by Mashable.

Nicaila sat down with Forbes to discuss what she’s learned through her podcast, how women can successfully launch a profitable business and what she wishes she knew when she started her side hustle journey.

Janice Gassam: What sparked your desire to start you own podcast? Why was it important for you to highlight black female entrepreneurs?

Nicaila Matthews Okome: What sparked the idea for Side Hustle Pro, well it was a gradual process that led me to launch the podcast. First, coming out of grad school I didn’t have a job initially. When I moved back to Washington D.C., I struggled to kind of find my place as someone with a social media marketing background, very creative media background in the political capital of the United States and I really wasn’t sure where I was going to land so while I was searching, I started to take matters into my own hands and started to write again, started to use social media to market and promote my own work, as a way to kind of build a portfolio…and attract employers. As I was doing that, I started to realize that I just genuinely enjoyed writing but more so talking to Black women…who were working but finding a way to nurture their multi passions through side hustles. I started doing those interviews, just as a side thing on the blog and then I eventually shifted completely into focusing on interviews and after a while, that blog grew into a podcast…I just wanted to do justice to their stories and I wanted people to hear their answers and not have to edit it down.

Continue on to Forbes to read the complete article.

Want more money? Tips for creating a successful side hustle

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woman small business owner

Millions of Americans have a ‘side hustle’ to supplement their income. How does one supplement their income? Some are turning to ‘side hustles’ to get some extra cash while simultaneously pursuing their passions.

In an effort to boost their income level as well as pursue their passions, research shows millions of Americans are turning to “side hustles.”

A study of 2,000 full-time employees showed 27 percent of them turned their hobby into a side business, while 55 percent of them said they dreamed of finding a side hustle themselves.

The average income for these side hustles, according to the research commissioned by Vistaprint, was more than $14,000 annually post-tax.

“America’s side business economy is booming, as employees increasingly look for financial, professional and personal fulfillment that may not be present in their main job,” Simon Braier, Vistaprint’s customer strategy and insights director, said.

Of the most common side businesses, beauty and wellness was a clear favorite, which includes professions like dieticians, personal trainers and hairdressers. Arts and entertainment was another popular choice, including being an artist, a DJ or a designer.

While a majority of people took on a side hustle to earn some extra cash, 41 percent did it to spend more time going something they enjoy.

“While many side hustles are born out of a personal interest or hobby, they don’t have to stay small,” Braier said. “Side business owners can test their venture’s long-term viability, growth and marketing opportunities in a safer setting, helping them to ease the transition into full-time entrepreneurship and spend more time doing what they love.”

Most of the people surveyed said they work on their side hustle in between the hours of 5 p.m and 9 p.m., but nearly half of them work their side job on the weekends. Those polled said they typically work up to 16 hours a week, but 34 percent of them said they spend more than 20 hours on their side hustle.

Continue on to Fox Business News to read the complete article.

LL COOL J hosts his 15th Annual Jump & Ball Youth Camp

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LL Cool J posing the Jump Ball team

Over the weekend, LL COOL J returned to his hometown in Queens to host the closing ceremonies of the 15th Annual Jump & Ball Community Camp. LL was greeted by the more than 200 youth who participated in the month long camp and residents of the neighborhood where he grew up.

Launched in 2005 by LL COOL J, Jump & Ball is a free and fun-filled camp every Saturday & Sunday during the month of August for hundreds of kids from Southeast Queens.

The program was developed as an opportunity for the kids in the community to not only learn the game of basketball but also learn team building and leadership skills critical to life off the court.

LL has always been an avid philanthropist involved in numerous causes including literacy for kids as well as music and arts programs in schools. Celebrating its 15th Anniversary this year, LL’s charity “Jump & Ball” – which takes place every August in his hometown of Queens, New York – aims to give back to his local community by offering a five-week athletic and team building program dedicated to bringing wholesome fun to young people.

Guests enjoyed lie music courtesy of Rock the Bells, LL COOL J’s curated Sirius XM channel featuring classic hip hop, a special performance by the Harlem Globetrotters, free food, free back to school haircuts and more.

LL and youth at Jump and Ball

Keisha Knight Pulliam & Arian Simone Are Investing $5 Million Dollars In Black Women Owned Businesses

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Keisha Night Pulliam and Arian Simone pose together in brightly colored dresses

When Black women want something done — we have to do it ourselves. The same holds true when it comes to bridging the funding gap for Black female entrepreneurs.

The Fearless Fund, founded by actress Keshia Knight Pulliam and her business partner Arian Simone, will deploy $5 million in pre-seed, seed, and Series A startups.

The fund already has five portfolio companies, including Ellis Island Tea, a beverage company founded by ‘Forbes 30 Under 30’ entrepreneur Nailah Ellis-Brown; EnrichHER, an Atlanta-based fintech platform for women entrepreneurs; and 100 Black Angels Fund, a fellow investor in minority-founded startups.

Simply put: these two Black women are addressing inequity by building equity of their own.

Through the Fearless Fund, Simone and Pulliam are highlighting how diversity significantly impacts a company’s performance and potential to provide investor returns.

The two first-time fund managers have also brought on several established power players in the entrepreneurial space to help the initiative reach its’ full potential. Entrepreneur Rodney Sampson (Opportunity Hub founder and a Professor of Entrepreneurship at Morehouse College) and Tracy Gray (founder and Managing Partner of venture capitalist firm The 22 Fund) have both joined the team as advisors.

Continue on to Essence to read the complete article.

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