black business, funding, Black entrepreneurs

Black Entrepreneurs Face Increasing Opposition From Conservative Groups

As Black entrepreneurs already face an uphill battle getting their business off the ground, accessibility to loans from investors is becoming even harder to obtain due to legal blocks by conservative groups. 

This rising issue, as detailed by CNN, attempts to stunt the strides already made in diverse entrepreneurship, especially in investments and capital funding. For example, the Fearless Fund, a venture capitalist firm dedicated to investing in the ideas sparked by women of color, is facing a legal challenge by a conservative nonprofit, the American Alliance for Equal Rights (AAER). 

The AAER’s motion to thwart the Fearless Fund from awarding its grants to Black and other women of color recipients was approved by a federal appeals court. The case claims the firm promotes racial discrimination in its applicants violates the Civil Rights Act of 1866. AAER was founded by Edward Blum, known in the legal sphere for his action against affirmative action in college admissions, as well as lawsuits against law firms’ diversity fellowships.

“Our nation’s civil rights laws do not permit racial distinctions because some racial groups are overrepresented in various endeavors, while others are under-represented,” shared Blum in an effort to twist whom the legislation was intended to protect. 

In the past, the Fearless Fund would bestow 20,000 grants to Black women business owners in a quest to bring their entrepreneurial ideas to fruition. One Black female CEO, Cathleen Trigg-Jones, launched her media company, iWoman TV, which focused on putting women in the forefront with the help of a substantial grant. 

“Every little bit helps when you’re a Black female trying to start from scratch to build a business in a world that is not designed to see you succeed,” Trigg-Jones told CNN. “The barriers are expansive.” 

The risk of a lawsuit has firms fearful of enacting or continuing their diversity initiatives. However, these programs are still vital to dismantling the racial wealth gap through entrepreneurs, despite Blum’s willingness to go to trial over their existence. 

“We just want an equal playing field,” said Rashae Barnes of Evals Equity, an investment fund for female entrepreneurs of color. “If we were incorporated, to begin with…we wouldn’t have to create programs or funds to help people who look like us.“

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