It’s no secret that the ranks of women business owners are growing at a rapid pace, with black women entrepreneurs leading the pack. The fact that many, if not most, of these women are first-time business owners is both an exciting and challenging element of this trend, as they are fighting against the intimidating odds of small-business failure without the benefit of experience, the examples of role models, and the advice of mentors.
That’s why 50 Billion Dollar Boss: African American Women Sharing Stories of Success In Entrepreneurship and Leadership (Palgrave MacMillan; $35) is such a valuable contribution to the cause of entrepreneurial education and business success. Co-written by supplier diversity and small business development expert Kathey Porter and business strategist and developer Andrea Hoffman, the book assembles the advice and experiences of some of the nation’s most successful black women entrepreneurs in industries ranging from fashion and food products to media and consulting. Most of the women featured in the book have appeared on the pages of Black Enterprise magazine; at least two—World of EPI L.L.C. CEO Dr. Lisa Williams and Michele Foods CEO Dr. Michele Hoskins—have graced its cover.
50 Billion Dollar Boss (a nod to the combined revenues generated by black-women-owned firms between 1997 and 2014), through the stories of its subjects, provides useful insights into the challenges facing business owners regardless of race or gender, including raising capital, getting a promising idea to profit-generating product and forming strategic partnerships. In addition, the book allows the entrepreneurs to tell more personal stories impacting their journeys as business owners, including financial struggles, family issues and life-threatening illness. The result is a must-read for black women (actually, any woman), especially those contemplating, aspiring or new to the entrepreneurial lifestyle.
Black Enterprise Executive Editor-At-Large Alfred Edmond Jr. is an award-winning business and financial journalist, media executive, entrepreneurship expert, personal growth/relationships coach, and co-founder of Grown Zone, a multimedia initiative focused on personal growth and healthy decision-making. This blog is dedicated to his thoughts about money, entrepreneurship, leadership and mentorship. Follow him on Twitter at @AlfredEdmondJr.