Tanya Morris knows that black and brown founders need better access to capital. It doesn’t always mean VC

Tanya Morris’ organization for women founders is called Mom your business (MYB) – that is, nurture her, help her grow, but always challenge her to be better. It’s also how she approaches her business coaching and mentoring job.

With her MYB founded in 2017, the North Philadelphia native – who is, yes, a mom herself – is creating a community for female founders to thrive. A former DC student Black Girl VenturesMorris is also a local founder of this competitive, business-driven, non-profit organization. spear Philadelphia Chapter. And she is the founder in residence of University campus science center OnRamp program connecting budding entrepreneurs to bizdev programming.

This year, she added another title by releasing Founders to funders, an accelerator for start-ups that connects black and brunette women entrepreneurs to fundraising resources like CDFIs, angel investors, crowdfunding, and pitch contests – intentionally, not just venture capital. From the first cohort, the founders collectively raised $ 30,000, according to Morris.

There is a common thread in these recent experiences: expanding access to capital. During an OnRamp kickoff in February 2020, “I was listening to the women in the room [and] already knew that founders of black women were the fastest growing and least funded group, ”she said. Technically.

Morris thought that creating an accelerator might solve this problem and contacted the founder of Black Girl Ventures. Shelly bell for point of view. Bell supported her and asked her a guiding question, Morris recalls: Where do you want to step up the founders? Where do you help them go?

By focusing her accelerator on access to capital, she believed, black women would not be stuck in starting businesses and could instead grow their businesses to be worthy of investment – especially important. given that a small percentage of venture capital goes to the founding black women. With a plan and a growth strategy, these women could also become job creators.

“I’ve spoken to friends who have become entrepreneurs, and not everyone will be Rihanna or a unicorn, or a million dollar business or a billion dollar business,” Morris said. “But what if the success for me is to quit my full-time job to run my business permanently, or to get my business to be solvent and working every day?” It’s success, she thinks.

Morris’s long-term goal is to create a low-interest, non-dilutive business loan fund for women entrepreneurs of color that would foster a funnel of new business. She also plans to launch pop-up programs, a quick mentoring program and a think tank. While she supports the search for venture capital for founders who consider their best financial option, she is cautious when discussing strategy.

“If they want to go to a VC, we’ll help them navigate those relationships,” she said. “We are a company catalyst. In a lot of ways we’ve idealized the world of venture capital and made it so great, getting the seed funding and increasing Series A to end up losing 10, 20, or 30% equity to an investor. , she said. This happens on “Shark aquarium“all the time. In these cases,” you are slowly losing control of your business. “

With more female business owners, Morris believes Philly’s entrepreneurial ecosystem will expand to include more black-owned businesses and in turn reduce the city’s high poverty rate. During the pandemic, black-owned businesses closed at a faster pace than white-owned businesses, and many are still struggling.

“It’s surprising and these businesses need support to get started, sustain themselves, become creditworthy and continue to grow,” Morris said. “We took the time to really invest part of our curriculum in personal care. [The majority] black women are heads of families and are the breadwinner. We wanted to secure strategies to ensure that people can find community. “

With a mom’s touch, these small businesses might have a better chance of thriving.


Michael Butler is a 2020-2022 corps member of Report for America, an initiative of the Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism. -30-


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