Creative men talking at networking event, sharing startup ideas and discussing new innovation at business conference. Diverse group of people meeting, collaborating or having a conversation in office.

By Tyron Hoisten

In Akron’s vibrant business scene, black-owned businesses are on the rise, mirroring a national trend. The Akron Urban League plays a role in this growth. With their dedicated support, they help these entrepreneurs not only find their voice but also strengthen it.

The rising tide of black-owned businesses is inspiring. Yet, barriers remain, especially when it comes to accessing capital and gaining traction in the marketplace. Many find it challenging to gather the necessary resources to spotlight their enterprises.

Consider this: the average female black-owned startup might raise approximately $30,000, a fraction when juxtaposed against the typical startup’s $5 million capital injection.

Success in this landscape requires unwavering tenacity. For many, resilience is the cornerstone of progress. Eager to overcome adversity and break barriers? Here are some strategies for your journey:

Embrace Resourcefulness: In the face of financial constraints, many black entrepreneurs find themselves juggling multiple roles. The strategy here is to maximize available resources, exchange services within networks, and steadily aim for profitability. As the business becomes profitable, doors to conventional funding opportunities often open wider.

Deep Dive into Your Industry: It can be challenging to carve a niche in industries where representation is sparse. For those starting in sectors with limited predecessors, the approach should be to chart one’s unique path. Networking, staying updated, and continuous learning are essential. Adopting a proactive and informed stance can be the key to success.

Cultivate a Supportive Community: Success often hinges on the strength of one’s support network. Surrounding oneself with individuals who understand the specific hurdles faced by entrepreneurs of color can provide invaluable guidance. It’s essential to foster a community where ideas are freely exchanged, and mutual support is the norm.

Master Your Finances: Before embarking on the entrepreneurial journey, a clear understanding of finances is paramount. It’s crucial to grasp the nuances of cash flow, financial needs, and expenditure rates. Planning meticulously, including understanding how long existing funds can support the business and considering potential personal investments, will lay a firm foundation.

Prioritize Growth Drivers: In the initial stages of setting up a business, identifying and concentrating on growth catalysts is vital. Allocating dedicated time each day to strategize ensures the business remains on a trajectory toward sustainable growth.

Set Clear Business Terms: The excitement at the beginning of a new venture is palpable. However, it’s crucial to anchor this enthusiasm with clear agreements and understandings. This involves defining responsibilities, profit-sharing modalities, and strategies for potential financial challenges. Being proactive in these discussions ensures a smoother collaborative journey and minimizes the risk of conflicts.

Facing adversity is intrinsic to the entrepreneurial voyage. But with clear goals, a robust strategy, and unyielding spirit, not only can one navigate these challenges, but also enrich the U.S. business panorama and honor the storied tradition of black entrepreneurship.

As we celebrate the 98th anniversary of the Akron Urban League, it’s imperative to recognize their pivotal role in community empowerment. Organizations like these continue to champion the dreams and aspirations of countless individuals, reinforcing the profound impact of collective growth and unity.