The Entrepreneurial Side of Venus Williams
By Robert Stitt
In a world where athletes are going bankrupt due to poor financial decisions and Blacks and women are often found at the bottom of pay scales, Venus Williams stands as a beacon of hope for all three of those demographics. Venus is a Black female athlete that has not only dominated the tennis court for decades, but has amassed a small fortune through her business savvy. Just recently, Venus faced her sister, Serena, in a Grand Slam quarterfinal event. Serena won the match, but Venus still took home a hefty $410,975. Of course, that’s just a drop in the bucket for a woman with a net worth estimated at over $75 million.
Venus Williams turned pro in 1994 at the age of 14 and has been competing ever since. Like many who dominate their sport, she signed a brilliant deal with a shoe company. For Venus, it was a contract with Reebok for $12 million at the tender age of 15. She resigned 5 years later for $40 million. During the same period of time, she also signed endorsements with Wilson’s Leather, EA Sports, Kraft, Ralph Lauren and Tide.
V Starr Interiors, a small boutique firm in Jupiter, Florida is the interior design firm Venus started in 2002. She runs the company with a group of six women and brings in millions of dollars in contracts.
The NFL may just be getting its first female refs and coaches, but Venus and her sister have been partial owners of the Miami Dolphins since 2009 when, according to Black Enterprise, they became “the first female African Americans to have ownership stake in an NFL franchise.”
In 2010, Venus Williams became a New York Times best-seller for her part in the collaboration “Come to Win: Business Leaders, Artists, Doctors, and Other Visionaries on How Sports Can Help You Top Your Profession”. In 2011, she became a celebrity spokesperson and franchise owner for Jamba Juice. She currently owns four locations around Washington, D.C.. Black Enterpriseestimates the sites generate near $3 million a year. In 2012, she continued her entrepreneurial endeavors with her athletic clothing line, EleVen. She has a degree in fashion design to go with her certification in interior decoration and BS in Business Administration.
Venus Williams should inspire you to be a better person, leader, and dreamer. After all, she has the same number of hours in her day as we do in ours. What have you done today?