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Entrepreneurial program launches in December

BLACK WOMEN IN BUSINESS

11/1/2017, noon | Updated on 11/1/2017, noon
“It’s hard enough to be an entrepreneur, but it becomes that [much] more difficult when you don’t have relevant support,” ...
Demarra Gardner has built a national reputation as an entrepreneur, consultant, public speaker and life coach. To add to her list of credits, she also created a program for women of color in business. Photo Credit: Black Women About Business (BWAB)

Black Women In Business

Entrepreneurial program launches in December

By Christopher Shuttlesworth

According to the State of Women Owned Business Support Report (2015), African American women control 1.3 million businesses, employ 297,500 workers and generate $52.6 billion in revenue.

Demarra Gardner, who is currently residing in Kalamazoo, Michigan, has been the principal of Change Agent Consulting, an independent consulting practice since 2008.

Among her numerous titles, she’s built a national reputation as an entrepreneur, consultant, public speaker and life coach. Gardner explained that over the course of her ten years in business, she has encountered and coached many Black women who wanted a space to call their own and who were looking for support.

“It’s hard enough to be an entrepreneur, but it becomes that [much] more difficult when you don’t have relevant support,” she said. “So, in January 2017, I woke up in the middle of the night with an idea to begin a program focused on women of color.”

Gardner said after comparing market research for weeks, she found that there are programs supporting women of color, but nothing comprehensive for Black women. A month later,Black Women About Business (BWAB) was born.

BWAB is a year-long virtual retreat, business-support program that provides education on strategic planning, branding, digital marketing and access to funding for aspiring business owners and seasoned entrepreneurs.

“It was really important for me to make sure that Black women could reflect on internal things that may be prohibiting them from going to where they want to go as a business owner or aspiring entrepreneur,” Gardner said. “The design is to make sure we have a safe space to explore issues relevant to us as Black women and not just as entrepreneurs.”

On its website, BWAB is described as a program, “designed to provide black women with the tools they need to be wildly successful in business.” It focuses on education, mentorship, coaching and funding and will launch in about two months.

The organization plans to create situations where, “more than 90% of all business supports will be provided by black women in business.”

Gardner said Black women will have access to webinars and it will be a place where women can discuss clients, marketing issues and strategies. An advance track program will include 9-months of mentorship-coaching sessions, which are individualized sessions and a 3-month small group session

focused on consulting, public speaking, becoming an author and blogging.

“We will provide three months of small group work and there will be only 12 women in each group that will be facilitated by an expert,” said Gardner.

She continued to say BWAB will allow Black women to put themselves first and invest in their personal development.

“Women are the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the country, but we’re still lagging behind in leadership roles, access to funding, mentorship,” Gardner said. “So, it’s important to make sure we’re not defined by society but [make sure] we define ourselves and we do the necessary work to be the best

versions of ourselves.”

The inaugural BWAB program will begin on December 4, 2017. For more information, visit www.blackwomenaboutbiz. com or www.facebook.comblackwomenaboutbusiness.