100 businesses in 24 hours: Iowa Black Business Coalition
This type of event represents an unprecedented effort to help women and minorities across Iowa become legitimate business owners-on the spot.” Dana Boone, Editor-in-Chief, Epiphany 365
The startathon, coined by the tech industry, accelerates the startup process. The term typically invokes images of the tech industry, where white college guys start companies overnight. The Iowa Black Business Coalition aims to change that assumption with an event during Global Entrepreneurship week targeted to women and minority-owned businesses.
The key to this event is that participants don't need to be starting a tech company, don't need to be 19 years old, and they don't need to be part of an elite group. Anyone can get access to mentors, web designers, and business advisors. All they need to participate is a business idea, and a name.
“It's important for minorities and women in Iowa to have opportunities to come together in solidarity for the unique challenges we face to entrepreneurship. This type of event represents an exciting and unprecedented effort to help women and minorities across Iowa become legitimate business owners-on the spot.” Dana Boone, Editor-in-Chief, Epiphany 365
Both the tech industry, and the business world have historically been inhospitable environments for women and minorities. According to USA today, though blacks and Hispanics have been graduating in historic numbers with tech degrees, hiring rates have not shown the same gains. Overall, only 2% of Silicon Valley employees are black, and only 3% are Hispanic. Fortune Magazine has noted that African-American women are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in America. Yet the SBA found that minority owned businesses are denied loans and credit for businesses disproportionately .
“As we know, Iowa is last in the nation in women business starts. We need to help women overcome barriers – whether internal or external - giving them the tools and support they need.” Stephanie Cardwell, Drake University Entrepreneurship Centers, Startup Boot Camp for Women
Iowa is ground zero for the disparities in minority and women-owned businesses. In 2014, both the SBA, and Bloomberg News pinpointed Iowa as the worst state to do business in for African Americans and women. Yet Forbes Magazine named Iowa as one of the best places to do business in the nation.
As the founder of the ecommerce marketing firm SocialWise Media Group, Ini Augustine has first-hand experience.
“Some of the major barriers to entrepreneurship are things like lack of affordable child care, and for the low-income or rural, transportation. Getting paid at a decent rate, and also being respected as a professional can be a battle.”
Thus the idea for The Untraditional Start-A-Thon was born.
“ It made me wonder how many companies remained uncreated, and how much potential remained unused because of these barriers. It made me think we could really find some solutions if we found the right partners, and had community buy in“ says Augustine.
During The Untraditional Start-a-thon, a team of business consultants will guide would-be business owners through the process of filing with the Secretary of state, setting up their website, outlining their marketing plan and business strategy.
“As an aspiring entrepreneur, I feel likeThe Un-Traditional Start-Athon would be beneficial for minorities because it gives other aspiring entrepreneurs like myself an opportunity to start our businesses. Most of us just don't have the support or resources we need to pursue entrepreneurship.” Shayla Williams, Des Moines native, and founder of Black Peach Tea Blog
The Iowa Black Business Coalition was founded to help combat inequality in entrepreneurship and increase opportunities for minority-owned businesses in Iowa. Childcare, food, scholarships and transportation will be available.
Register today: www.iowablackbusiness.com/startathon