Article by: Marie Reine

You might not know it, but Ghana, Africa leads the world in creating female entrepreneurs. And as someone who was born there, it is heartwarming to see the global data telling a story I already know: women, and especially minority women, are taking up more and more of the entrepreneurship world. Finally!

It’s a worldwide trend, believe it or not, and it’s starting to make for legitimately high-functioning, diverse colleagues — like me and my coworker, Sarah, a Chinese-American who’s just driven as I am. Ghana has one of the highest percentages of women entrepreneurs in the world according to the Mastercard Index of Women’s Entrepreneurship; China is a place where 55% percent of Chinese technology startups are founded by women. More than 51% of WeWork China’s members identify as women, compared to an average of 47% worldwide. Out of the ten richest self-made women in the world, seven are from China.

Their dominance is only “suddenly” apparent because, for a long time, nobody was really paying attention to us. But why not? Women are innately innovative thinkers and collaborative problem solvers. Women have always possessed a lot of grit, emotional intelligence and have always been entrepreneurial.

Growing up, my mum who was a teacher at a senior high school — but at the same time had a small-scale poultry farm at home, sold water and ice cubes and ice cream. Building on her examples, my sisters and I would go on to engage in small businesses at various stages, from when I sold eggs at university to support myself to the present day. Now, I head marketing at a rapidly-expanding firm called Supplied, connecting a dynamic network of factories with even more female entrepreneurs!

Sarah and I are thrilled to see the work we are doing at Supplied truly empowers women, by helping them to start their own boutiques or grow their boutique businesses without the drawbacks of traditional wholesale. The world needs to start seeing women in that light and begin making bets on us — especially minority women.

But why is this happening now? For me, there are three main items driving the change.

First of all, socioeconomic and political climate conditions are giving rise to conversations about women empowerment, with overdue focus on minority women. Census projections predict that women of colour will make up the majority of women by 2045. And women are now more likely to graduate from college and more of them are attending. Women entrepreneurs are “an underlooked asset class that is overperforming,” in the words of Jane VC founder Jennifer Neundorfer.

As a result, we have companies like Goldman Sachs and Ernst & Young, offering financial support/grants specifically for minorities alongside more vigorous government efforts. These will be pivotal for encouraging budding minority female entrepreneurs if they continue to gain momentum.

Secondly, there has been a surge in organizations purely focused on minority women. This has allowed these entrepreneurs to identify, support and fully collaborate with each other. As Esosa Ighodaro, founder of the social media shopping app CoSign and the networking organization Black Women Talk Tech rightly said, “Entrepreneurship is very lonely and even lonelier in minority communities.” Having organizations like Black women’s networks, the Buy Black Network, et cetera, helps fight this trend.

When women support each other, great things happen. And that’s even more true for minority women. When you can share ideas and collaborate with women who share similar experiences then the sky is only the beginning. I love this Mao Zedong quote Sarah once shared with me: “women hold up half of the sky.” That is the aptest description of the power of women working together and supporting each other.

Lastly, and probably most importantly, is the raw grit minority women possess. It’s tough enough to belong to a minority group, period. But as a minority woman, you grow up having to truly fight for your place in society, to be noticed, to be given equal opportunities. You find ways to do things efficiently and effectively. You learn how to spend your energy to give that 1000%. These are the very skills that make great leaders and entrepreneurs: grit, perseverance, emotional intelligence, efficiency, knowing how to distribute your energy!

There’s still much to do in terms of support for minority women. According to American Express 2019 State of Women-Owned Businesses, “Black women represent 42% of all net new women-owned businesses — that’s three times their share of the female population (14%).” But while Black women are increasingly becoming entrepreneurs, projections of census data shows the size of their businesses shrank after the Great Recession. Other businesses grew. Average revenues tell a concerning tale:

● Black women-owned businesses decreased by 41%.
● White women-owned businesses increased by 21%.
● Men-owned businesses increased by 16%.
The result is a stubbornly disproportionate share of the American business market: according to a report by Brookings, “people of colour represent about 40% of the population, but only 20% of the nation’s 5.6 million business owners with employees.” Structural differences in personal wealth, business experience, and networks, as well as different entrepreneurial motivations and increased likelihood of being single mothers balancing caregiving responsibilities with running a business, result in Black women having small — and increasingly smaller — businesses.
We often forget: minority women, more often than not, are entrepreneurs out of necessity. There is still work to be done to truly provide the support they need to thrive, not just survive. There is particularly a huge gap in access to finance and resources that allow minority women to really scale their businesses.

But when given equal opportunities at entrepreneurship, I truly believe that women are a true catalyst for economic growth and change. The U.S. could have millions of more businesses if women and minorities became entrepreneurs at the same rate as white men — and it’s a potential that is true, globally, too.


Marie-Reine has spent her career delivering transformative solutions for businesses across Asia and Africa. For five years, she worked in banking and finance, focusing on business strategy, project management, business development and relationship management. She has an MBA from the Asia School of Business and a certificate from the MIT Sloan School of Management.

As a consultant, she led teams to create process improvement and marketing strategies for Asian based brands like Johnson & Johnson, AirAsia, Citi Malaysia and Dao Social Enterprise. She became the marketing manager for the Jumia Group in Ghana (an e-commerce company listed on the NYSE), where she led key areas in customer acquisition and engagement.

She is currently the head of growth at Supplied and is excited to leverage her expertise to create a holistic shopping experience for the entrepreneurs who use the platform. As a woman of color, she is dedicated to ensuring women entrepreneurs all over the world are empowered to achieve their dreams. YOU CAN REACH MARIE AT

By Published On: October 7, 2020Categories: Women Entrepreneur

About the Author: Dee Ferrero

Ms. Ferrero is the CEO of Western Mass Women Magazine as well as the founder of several women's mentor and advocacy groups along the east coast.

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