African Women Business Alliance provides African women immigrants/black women diaspora with holistic-approach and culturally responsive-tools required to start, grow, and scale a small business through macro movement involving professional business development training, coaching, networking, tailored workshops, marketplace, and access to seed capital.
Our Vision is to work collectively with various stakeholders and partners: service providers, financial institutions, small and grassroots businesses, academic institutions and grassroots community in closing both gender and racial gap in business development for black women diaspora. We seek to harness and amplify the power of African woman's ingenuity and resilience; to generate significant wealth through self-employment and entrepreneurship.
Black Womxn’s Strength and Resilience
Authentic Community Driven Impact
Women's Economic Mobility
Our founder, Nourah Yonous believes that in order to lift the most marginalized/under-served/under-represented society out of poverty, we must focus on women as givers of life. We can't lift ''low income'' women out of poverty and ignore their ingenuity in entrepreneurship. In order to lift women out of poverty and create a more just/inclusive, and gender-balanced world for economic development, we must focus on entrepreneurship as well as-come up with non-traditional, innovative, and inclusive tools towards business development. Systematically we live in a world of inequities and there are specific-both gender and racial constraints towards entrepreneurship. We can do better if we want better. We cannot afford to operate with traditional tools not designed for inclusive economy and entrepreneurship. Our people are equipped with great talent, strength, and resilience but they lack resources and opportunities.
The Invisible/Visible Barriers are: Lack of Access to Financial Resources, Lack of Sharia Compliant Loans, Gender gap in Business Financing, Language Barrier, Legal Representation/Barriers, Information and Networking, Gender Bias, Racial Inequity in Business Development, and Immigrant/Refugee Deficit Based Narrative.
The existing research in income inequality indicates that women in general, and black women in particular, face many financial challenges and may turn to entrepreneurship as a path to economic freedom and prosperity, but in turn may find themselves lacking the capital to do so. Women of color have limited access to seed capital across board.
African Women Business Alliance commissioned a feasibility study report to understand the challenges and needs of African women immigrants in Greater Seattle, and assess the demand for the one-stop holistic professional business development program-AWBA plans to offer for the first time in 2018. In addition, the conclusions and recommendations of this report are intended to guide the initial decision making process for AWBA by providing a disaggregated data-supported understanding of our prospective clients. The factors that differentiate African women immigrants in the greater Seattle area from other demographics can inform program planning and service delivery methods as we begin to implement our vision.
Lack of access to capital was noted as one of the primary barriers to success in AWBA’s Tukwila and Kent focus group sessions, and more than 81% of prospective entrepreneurs surveyed indicated a need for access to seed capital in some form. The low median of income and existing barriers among this demographic may motivate these women to explore entrepreneurship as a means of breaking out of low-wage employment.
Many women in the focus groups conducted in South Seattle, Kent, Tukwila/SeaTac expressed a desire to be economically independent and believe starting their own business will help them get there. Several focus group participants also noted they have saved money for this purpose, but will need more. Low income appears to both drive immigrants towards entrepreneurship while also hindering them from effectively starting a business due to the challenge of saving a significant amount of capital. More than 72% of potential clients for the African Women Business Alliance come from households making less than $35,000 per year (Figure B.2). Current and future business owners were graphed together as the results for each group did not differ significantly
Why African Women Immigrants and Black Women Diaspora? The playing field is not leveled for black women diaspora and African immigrant women entrepreneurs. We seek to create an informed alliance and community for/by women. We strongly believe in women’s economic independence and gender justice. We are motivated and fueled by the African woman’s resilience, strength, ingenuity, and entrepreneurship spirit. We strongly believe that when women are well informed and are able to access tools required to unlock their full potential and growth, they become change agents in transforming their families and world at large. Because regardless of systemic barriers and challenges, black women are soaring high in entrepreneurship-as the largest growing pool of entrepreneurs in America. We celebrate and harness the strength and resilience in all black women.