Spend Less Money on Your Startup Budget - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

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Felix Lloyd received consulting services and startup capital from Echoing Green, a social venture fund, to help launch his company Skill-Life Inc.

Finding capital to launch your business might be the hardest part of entrepreneurship. An examination of census data shows that black-owned businesses have very low levels of startup capital relative to white-owned businesses and these differences persist across all major industries.


But don’t let that dissuade you. There are a plethora of organizations, universities, and companies that provide pro bono or professional services at a reduced fee, ranging from accounting to information technology and from human resource management to marketing. When such services are free, this practice is often referred to as skills-based volunteering.

“When you are capacity constrained thinking outside of the box in terms of pro bono services and volunteer support is a really smart and effective way to add capacity to your organization without adding to your expense line,” says Cheryl Dorsey, president of Echoing Green, a New York-based social venture fund that provides capital to support social entrepreneurs.

When Felix Lloyd was looking for backing for his startup, he turned to Echoing Green, which had provided financial support for a former employer. Lloyd, a former educator, needed funding for an online game that would help high school students develop financial literacy and math skills. As an Echoing Green fellow he received consulting services and startup capital to help launch Skill-Life Inc.

Echoing Green also reimbursed Lloyd for healthcare expenses, paid him $60,000 over a two year period, and matched him up with free and reduced cost legal services.

“Echoing Green provided my company with critical legal support, branding expertise, and an extensive professional network while challenging me to think and act strategically in building my business,”  Lloyd says.

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, SocialWayne.com chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining BlackEnterprise.com as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and BlackEnterprise.com helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.

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