By Victor Ochieng
Besides the capital, startups also need networks and expertise to survive the competition and register growth.
After realizing the need to support small businesses, Monique Woodard made a decision to do something about it. She’s establishing a partnership with small businesses owned by Blacks and Latinos through 500 Startups, a $25 million venture microfund that seeks to give lifeline to small businesses that are in their early stages.
Woodard is also linked to Black Founders, a national organization she co-founded in 2011. The organization focuses on helping Black entrepreneurs to secure funding for their business ventures. She’ll be leading the newly established microfund and will be charged with overseeing the fund’s quest to raise the targeted amount of $25 million.
“Black and Latino consumers (is) a market that investors should be paying attention to,” Woodard points out.
People of color find it more difficult to secure small business loans than their white counterparts. This is more pronounced when seeking traditional bank loans. A lot needs to be done to ensure that every American who wants to venture into any viable business can secure funding without being discriminated against because of their racial backgrounds.
Even with the situation as it is, the black purchasing power is on the rise and is expected to hit $1.2 million, according to The Atlantic. University of Georgia’s Selig Center for Economic Growth notes that the buying power is expected to reach a high of $1.4 trillion by 2020.
The $25 million microfund that Woodard will head definitely requires someone with a strong resume, and, of course, she fits the bill. Besides being one of the able founders of Black Founders, she was also among the first Innovation Fellows for San Francisco and has done a lot to help cities embrace the use of technology in managing the workforce and delivering civic services to the people.
At the same time, Woodard is also very much acquainted with small businesses, having been an entrepreneur for more than 15 years.