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Partner with Black Women CEOs - FoundHers Nationwide Research Study

 

Cherene Francis interviews Amoye Henry on partnering with Black Women Entrepreneurs and the FoundHers Research Project.

FoundHers is a nationwide research study examining the investment and financing options for Black women founders by a team of women researchers. They are mentored by Sandpipers Venture.

Read the Full Article by Amoye Henry: THE HORRIFYING TRUTH ABOUT BEING A BLACK WOMAN FOUNDER IN CANADA 

 

Click the Button Below to Partner with the FoundHers Research Project

 

Interview Notes

Cherene Francis:
Hello, everyone, Cherene Francis here. And I'm so excited to have this special guest of mine. She's actually a long time friend of mine. We've known each other since our daycare days when I was three years old. And now she has really evolved as a woman in leadership. She is the co-founder of Pitch Better, a company that seeks to help small business owners, especially women and minorities, build their business, scale their business and get the funding they need to grow. So thank you Amoye for being with me here today. I'm glad.

Amoye Henry:
Thank you for having me Cherene. Thank you for fitting me into your busy schedule.

Cherene Francis:
Of course. For you, of course, right, we go way back.

Amoye Henry:
That we do.

Cherene Francis:
So the reason why I wanted to have a conversation with you is I wanted you to share what you're doing with your Fund Her project. And I also wanted to discuss how we can help more women, especially women in minority groups build and grow their business so that they can be economically empowered. But before we go there, can you just share with us, what is this Fund Her research project that you're a part of?

Amoye Henry:
Absolutely. So I, as you mentioned, I'm the co-founder of a company called Pitch Better. It is a startup and our focus is helping women scale their businesses on a mission to create more women millionaires. And there are so many viable businesses, so many incredible problem solvers out there, and they're using their businesses to address some of these huge gaps that we have in our markets. So we have three different programming offerings through Pitch Better. We have our Invest Her talks, which is where we bring an investor, investor or venture capitalist to come in and talk to the women entrepreneurs about how to get their business's investment ready, and how to make their value proposition really pop and really stand out.

Amoye Henry:
We also have another platform called Pitch Her, which is a virtual pitch competition where our women business owners jump on live and pitch their businesses to a of investors. And they have an opportunity to win $10,000.

Amoye Henry:
And finally, we have Found Hers, which is a research project now that we are undertaking to do an environmental assessment across the entire Canada, analyzing and gathering information to know what the business needs are out there for black women entrepreneurs. And so this research project recently launched, and we are working with incredible researchers. We have a team of PhDs, MBA students, data analysts, all black women coming together to collect this data and really build a meaningful dashboard. So we can know where the Bible businesses are across our country and figure out how we can invest on a small level, but also pitch these business to huge investment firms and the banks and the public sector as well.

Cherene Francis:
Amazing. I'm really excited about this. Can you just share a bit because you wrote a great article the other day that was published and I'd love for people to get a little bit of a sense of what was in that article and why they should read this, why they should really pay attention.

Amoye Henry:
Absolutely. So the article was speaking to the fact that there is not enough data being collected about black women entrepreneurs across Canada. There is data on women entrepreneurs, and that's great, but we have a specific set of nuanced characteristics with our businesses and we have different experiences and we approach business differently as well. Right? And so one of the key issues is for investors out there, or for VCs out there, how do they get access to us? How do we get access to them? And how do we prep our businesses in a way where we're able to go and pitch for funding, go and pitch for partnerships with VCs and investments out there?

Amoye Henry:
So the article really spoke to this idea that we exist, we're great, we're doing incredible things. Our American counterparts are raising money. They are securing funding, but unfortunately in Canada we do it, but it's not recorded. It's not documented and there's not enough stats and data to support the fact that we exist. So there was a fund last year that came out by the big federal government and it was a $30 million offering. And so $30 million of taxpayers' dollars was earmarked towards small business owners who were women. Unfortunately, out of the 300 winners of the $100,000. Two of them were black. 2 black women won out of 300, and it was a diversity fund. So what that means is everybody that applied was able to just literally click I'm diverse and they were able to get that funding.

Amoye Henry:
Meanwhile, they weren't. As we realized once we did some research and really looked through all the companies that were successful in getting the funding. So that indicated to us that there's a huge gap in terms of us knowing what's out there. And in terms of those government bodies, knowing which communities to go into and kind of say, look, here's an opportunity for you to get 100K in funding to scale your company. And so that's where we really started this process of building up this network of women entrepreneurs, making sure that our voices are heard amplifying each other's stories and our platforms and our businesses, and really making a case, a business case for why not investing in black women entrepreneurs is essentially inhibiting Canada's potential to be a more globally competitive country, right?

Amoye Henry:
And so there is a market case for us. We are a huge network of spenders, consumers, investors ourselves, right? And so not tapping into us and not bringing us into the ecosystem more is inhibiting Canada from growing. And so we're making that business case that we need this funding, black women alike, investors alike, everybody, every walk of life, we need this funding to be able to demonstrate why we are a strong. We are strong investible businesses.

Cherene Francis:
Right? Wow. And I can see that this is a really passionate topic for you for as long as I've known you. And even over the past 10 years, it was such a blessing to see you establish communities such as your AfroChic lifestyle and seeing Pitch Better come into play. What drives you to do this Amoye? Why are you so passionate about helping women, especially with their businesses?

Amoye Henry:
51% of the Canadian population is women. Only 16% of businesses run in Canada are led by women. But yet we employ 1.5 million people, across 30 million people demographic. So we are hugely important to society. We are important to the economy. Without women, what is the world? Essentially like we birth society. And so I think I'm passionate about it because I know that there's a lot of potential, but there's a lot of greatness and that we are doing the things that we are, all of the great things that I know us to be. But I just don't think necessarily that that is reflected out there in terms of our income opportunities and our earnings and our financial viability and how successful we are. We can have these great ideas, but the moment a man walks into the room, it's almost as if we're no longer there. Or if we walk into a room to pitch or present our business, we certainly might have more credibility if a man walks in and we look like the assistant.

Amoye Henry:
So I'm here to kind of change the narrative and I'm here because I believe that generational wealth is something that we all deserve access to. And we each have certain gifts within us that once amplified and once supported, can help to bring the opportunities to create generational wealth. So we don't have to work as hard as our parents and our children don't have to work as hard as we are now. Right. So that's what I envisioned for women. I believe that we have so many tools and so many resources within us. And so it's just a matter of putting it into the right channels, putting it into the atmosphere and really making sure that it's clear that we have investment potential. And we're a huge market benefit to the Canadian ecosystem.

Cherene Francis:
Wow. Well, that's just wonderful. And I'm so grateful for you and the work that you're doing. So Amoye, if someone wanted to contribute or collaborate and really be a partner in what you're doing, how can they support and be a part of this?

Amoye Henry:
Absolutely. So we just launched our research project as I said, it's called Found Hers. You can visit our website, www.pitchbetter.ca. It's also all over our social media. So Pitch Better on LinkedIn, Pitch Better on Instagram. And you can really just tap in and donate, donate, donate, contribute, be a part of what we're doing. Your logo will be recognized if you're an organization or a company or a small business, and we will keep you up to date with the progress of collecting this research and building out this incredible platform for black women entrepreneurs.

Cherene Francis:
Wow. Well, thank you so much for sharing your wealth of knowledge and how we can make our economy better through empowering women. For those of you watching again, www.pitchbetter.ca to partner with Amoye and her team. Thanks for watching. Amoye, thanks for being with us today.

Amoye Henry:
Thank you so much Cherene.

Cherene Francis:
And I wish you all the best. I'm so glad for you.

Amoye Henry:
Thank you so much. I'm so grateful to you too. Thank you everyone out there.

Cherene Francis:
All right.

 

Read the Article: "THE HORRIFYING TRUTH ABOUT BEING A BLACK WOMAN FOUNDER IN CANADA"

Click here to read the full article.

 

More Info About FoundHers

Our key objective is to paint a picture of promise and resilience for Black Canadian Women Entrepreneurs and Founders. There is limited data surrounding our wealth and entrepreneurship outcomes and Covid-19 has really proven that small businesses led by underrepresented founders, particularly Black women are taking a major hit. This is already a disenfranchised group, so the socio-economic implications of this pandemic have made things more complicated for Black women founders. We feel it would be a huge missed opportunity to not engage Black women founders from all parts of Canada from the Western regions of BC and Alberta to the central of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, to the Eastern parts such as Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in our collaborative Research Study. Our introductory research so far has already allowed us to engage with Black Women Founders in Regina Saskatchewan, Vancouver BC, and Halifax NS. There are a lot more Founders and Black women-led Startups to engage with more resources and a bigger team. 

There is a film called "She Did That" which premiered on Netflix in 2020 of this year. The film highlighted Black women founders from the US who scaled and developed their businesses either through bootstrapping or fundraising. This was incredibly instrumental to our team of Black women creators and researchers coming together and decide to develop this pilot. In Canada, we need more imagery and films depicting Black excellence and Black potential, but just as important, we need the empirical data to confirm our theoretical views and lived experiences. On the private investment/equity side, 2% of Women-led Startup Founders receive Venture Capital funding, while 0.02% of Black Women-Led Start-Up Founders receive VC funding. On the public side, loans and investments from Financial Institutions are given to Black Women founders less frequently than White women founders. Last year, the Federal government issued a $30M fund to "diverse" women founders, of the 300 $100,000 recipients, 2 entrepreneurs were Black women. In addition to the film, we are prioritizing the development of a Nationwide Dashboard that will enable us to look at Founders across Canada on a map, understand their industries, gaps and potential to scale and offer a resource for communities to interact and support small business owners across regional and provincial boundaries. 

Senior Project Manager - Chantelle Quow-Craig, MBA

Principal Investigator - Patience Adamu, PhD candidate

Senior Data Analyst 1 - Amoye Henry, e-MBA candidate

Senior Data Analyst 2 - Meryl Afrika

Data Analyst 3 - Adeela Carter

Project Coordinator - Tenisha Yonge

Click the Button Below to Partner with the FoundHers Research Project

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