Over the years, Black entrepreneurs have made significant contributions to various industries, from technology and finance to beauty and fashion. Black-owned startups still face numerous barriers when it comes to securing funding and scaling their businesses despite their talent and hard work. Nonetheless, these businesses continue to thrive and innovate, driving economic growth and creating job opportunities.
In this article, we highlight 10 Black-owned startups and their founders, who are breaking barriers and making their mark in their respective industries. These startups are disrupting industries and paving the way for future generations of Black entrepreneurs.
A scheduling software company that was founded in 2013 by Tope Awotona. The company is a pioneer that specializes in producing a simple and user-friendly platform that helps people schedule and manage meetings and appointments more efficiently. Calendly has been recognized for its innovative approach to scheduling software, and has been featured in several media outlets, including Forbes, The New York Times, and TechCrunch.
A digital media company aimed at black millennials, offering news, lifestyle, and culture content founded in 2014 by four Black millennial entrepreneurs: Morgan DeBaun, Jonathan Jackson, Jeff Nelson, and Aaron Samuels. Blavity is based in Los Angeles, California, and has been recognized as one of the fastest-growing media startups in the country. The company has raised over $9 million in funding from investors such as GV, Comcast Ventures, and Macro Ventures. Blavity’s flagship platform is its news and lifestyle website, Blavity News, which covers a range of topics from politics and social justice to beauty and entertainment. The company also operates several other websites, including 21Ninety (a lifestyle platform for Black women), AfroTech (a tech news and events platform), and Travel Noire (a travel platform for Black travelers).
A vegan and cruelty-free makeup brand that offers bold and vibrant lipstick shades for all skin tones was founded in 2012 by Melissa Butler. The Lip Bar aims to challenge traditional beauty standards and promote inclusivity in the beauty industry. The company’s products are sold on its website and are also available in several major retailers, including Target and Walmart. The Lip Bar has been recognized for its innovative and inclusive approach to cosmetics and has been featured in several media outlets, including Forbes, Vogue, and Essence.
A feminine hygiene company that offers natural and herbal-based products for women was founded in 2014 by Beatrice Feliu-Espada. Beatrice founded The Honey Pot Company after experiencing recurring bacterial vaginosis and discovering that there were very few natural and effective options for treating the condition. The Honey Pot Company offers a range of feminine care products, including menstrual pads, tampons, and washes. The Honey Pot Company has won several awards, including a 2016 ESSENCE Best in Black Beauty Award, and has been featured in several media outlets, including Forbes, CNBC, and The Today Show.
A natural haircare brand offering vegan and cruelty-free hair products for afro-textured hair founded in 2010 by Rachael Corson and Joycelyn Mate. Afrocenchix, a UK-based company, offers a range of natural hair care products, including shampoos, conditioners, hair oils, and styling products. All of their products are made with natural and organic ingredients that are gentle on Afro hair and help to promote healthy hair growth.
A craft cocktail company that offers cocktail mixers, bitters, and syrups made with natural ingredients founded in 2011 by Jomaree Pinkard, Tobin Ludwig, and Eddie Simeon. Hella Cocktail Co provides cocktail mixers and bitters, including classic mixers like tonic and ginger beer, as well as unique flavors like hibiscus and smoked chili. The company also produces a line of bitters, which are used to add complexity and depth to cocktails. The company’s products are now sold in retailers and restaurants across the United States, as well as online.
A makeup brand that specializes in creating nude lipsticks for women of color was founded in 2017 by KJ Miller and Amanda E. Johnson. The company’s mission is to create high-quality makeup products that are specifically designed for women of color and to help redefine the beauty industry’s standard of inclusivity. All of their products are vegan, cruelty-free, and made without harmful chemicals like parabens and phthalates. The company has also won several awards, including the 2018 Sephora Accelerate program, which supports female founders in the beauty industry.
A snack brand that offers allergy-friendly and vegan cookies made with simple, wholesome ingredients was founded in 2016 by Denise Woodard. Denise was inspired to create Partake Foods after her daughter was diagnosed with several food allergies. She struggled to find snack options that were both safe and tasty and decided to create her own line of cookies that would be allergy-friendly and delicious. The company has also been featured in several media outlets, including Forbes, NBC News, and Good Morning America. You can find these tasty treats in retail stores across the United States.
A stock photo marketplace that offers culturally diverse and inclusivestock photos was founded in 2018 by Karen Okonkw. TONL aims to provide more realistic and representative images of people and cultures from around the world. The company’s photos are sold on its website and are also licensed by businesses, media outlets, and other organizations. TONL has been recognized for its groundbreaking work in the photography industry, and has been featured in several media outlets, including Forbes, Vogue, and The New York Times.
A vacation rental platform that focuses on offering safe and welcoming spaces for black travelers was founded in 2015 by Stefan Grant and Jide Ehimika. Noirbnb offers a range of vacation rentals, including apartments, villas, and unique properties that are owned and operated by people of color. The company’s rentals are available in a variety of destinations, including the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. Noirbnb has been recognized for its groundbreaking work in the travel industry, and has been featured in several media outlets, including The New York Times, Essence, and Black Enterprise.
These founders have amazing stories and backgrounds that can be informative to early founders. It’s extremely to learn from those who’ve been through where you are now. Make sure you check out these amazing businesses if you haven’t already!
Written by: Lucretia Williams