Keeping an eye out for inspiring Black women shouldn’t happen only during Black History Month. In fact, those exciting voices and the amazing work they do should be celebrated and elevated all days of every month. This is why Red Shoe Movement has compiled a group of interesting voices in a list of 10 Inspiring Black Women to Watch in 2021.
Inspiring Black Women Who Educate
Angel Rich has been called “the next Steve Jobs” by Forbes Magazine. She is the founder and CEO of fintech company The Wealth Factory, developer of CreditStacker, and the Vice Chair of the Washington D.C. government’s Financial Literacy Council. Her financial literacy gaming app CreditSacker, teaches users about finances through modules and has been translated to 21 languages.
Angela Benton is Chief Executive Officer at Streamlytics, a tech company that allows users to protect their data and even makes sure they’re paid for it sometimes. In 2020, Fast Company included Beton in their list of The Most Creative People in Business and she’s among the most influential women in tech. Benton is also the founder of NewME, a platform that supports entrepreneurs from non-traditional backgrounds in building their business.
Investing in an Inspiring Future
Arian Simone founded the Fearless Fund with Keshia Knight Pulliam and Ayana Parsons “to bridge the gap in venture capital funding for women of color founders”. The fund invests in early-stage business, matching founders with mentors and making their network of celebs and influencers available to them. Forbes also calls Simone a serial entrepreneur, philanthropist, angel investor, marketing expert, and best-selling author of three books. Her most recent, The Fearless Money Mindset: Broke Doesn’t Scare Me, was released in 2020.
Arlan Hamilton is the founder of Backstage Capital, a firm that invests in startups led by “underestimated founders”, including women, people of color and members of the LGBTQ+ community. She’s invested in more than 170 startups, offering support that goes beyond a simple investment. Hamilton also hosts a podcast called Your First Million and, in 2020, she published It’s About Damn Time (How to Turn Being Underestimated into Your Greatest Advantage).
Inspiring Black Women in Beauty
Cashmere Nicole is founder and CEO of Beauty Bakerie, a cosmetics brand that caters to all skin tones and has been endorsed by Beyoncé herself. What better endorsement than that? Nicole created Beauty Bakerie while battling breast cancer, a survival story she decided to share as part of her campaign as her products became non-toxic, vegan and cruelty-free. The ‘activist in makeup’ founded Sugar Homes in 2016, building orphanages and making donations to other orphanages around the world. They currently sponsor 3 orphanages in Uganda, Indonesia and Zanzibar.
Karissma Yve founded Gildform, an on-demand jewelry manufacturing platform that was born from her own need for quality jewelry production. Through their user-friendly app, Gildform offers 3D printing and jewelry manufacture to independent designers and business owners. Her platform also offers a couple of online courses, including one on Social Media Marketing for Jewelry Brands to help new brands grow. She is also founder and owner of her own specialty jewelry brand, Xenophora Objects.
Black Women and Healthtech
Bea Arthur is a Columbia University-trained psychotherapist. The startup founder was the first African American female founder in Y Combinator and one of Newsweek Magazine’s Entrepreneurs to Bet On in 2014. Arthur’s third endeavor is The Difference, a company that provides on-demand access to therapy through Amazon’s Alexa. The service is available to anyone with a phone and an Alexa-enabled device, with therapists available from 9am to 9pm EST.
Nathalie Walton is the CEO of Expectful, a startup helping expectant and new mothers tackle issues of health and wellbeing. Walton’s own problematic pregnancy made her realize that Black women face big risks during pregnancy regardless of their economic background, and hopes to prioritize Black maternal health. Expectful began as a guided meditation library, but Nathalie hopes to turn it into a go-to wellness resource for moms by offering important information, recommendations, tips, therapists, nannies and even on-demand doula support.
Building a Better World
Zuleyka Strasner created Zero Grocery, a zero-waste online store in Los Angeles delivering fresh groceries in reusable containers and bags. Their mission is to remove single-use plastics and reduce waste. Once you’re done, you return the glass jars to be used again in your next purchase. In only a year, her company has gone from a 4-people endeavor that nearly had to close shop, to a thriving company that’s raised $4.7M and now employs almost 100 people.
Jasmine Crowe is the founder and CEO of Goodr, a sustainable food waste management company based on the belief that hunger is an issue of logistics. Crowe found that over 72 billion pounds of edible food are wasted every year in the United States, so why not give it to hungry people instead of throwing it away? Goodr tracks surplus food from pickup to donation, “delivering real-time social and environmental impact reporting analytics.”