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Step-by-step how we kickstarted a Black business revolution in Indy

In 2019 there were 5,771,292 businesses in America. Blacks make up 14.2% of the population but owned just 2.3% of those companies.

The math doesn’t add up.

When we collaborated with Innopower, the goal was clear: To better understand the challenges Black business owner journey face so we can ultimately eliminate them.

A few months later, we have a wealth of information and a thriving solution to show for it.

Here’s how we did it:

1500+ data points later …

To get a better understanding of the Black business owner experience and journey, InnoPower connected us with 37 Black entrepreneurs in Indianapolis.

We conducted focus groups and interviews over a four week period and collected over 1500 data points that shed light on their experiences – successes, failures, challenges and all.

What we found was really interesting:

Detailing the Black business owner journey

Before aiming to help a large swath of people, you have to nail down your audience and the challenges they face. So that’s what we did.

Starting with the Black business owner themselves:

3 distinct personas

Similar to marketing research, customer journey building begins with personas.

From our 11 interviews and 26 small group participants, we identified 3 unique entrepreneur personas that represent the different paths taken by black business owners here in our city.

  1. Bernice – Business savvy Black business owners
    • More experienced
    • Doctorate or highly-educated
    • Financially secure
    • Several employees
    • Highly diverse network
    • Strong strategic mindset and entrepreneurial drive
    • Focused on growing the social impact of her business
  2. Edith – Expert technician Black business owners
    • Somewhat experienced
    • College-educated
    • Comfortable financially
    • 1 or 2 employees
    • Industry-specific network
    • Highly skilled in their trade or profession
    • Focused on growth and sustainability of her business
  3. Ned – Novice technician Black business owners
    • Not experienced
    • High school-educated
    • Financially month-to-month
    • Solopreneur
    • Limited network
    • New to entrepreneurship and still learning the ropes
    • Focused on finding resources to help him grow his fledgling business

Types of helpful resources

To achieve their goals of personal growth, financial security, social impact and business growth (goals shared across the personas), these entrepreneurs need help.

A vacuum isn’t realistic for a growing entrepreneur and business.

So to succeed, what kind of resources do they need?

  • Financial resources — To run and expand their businesses, our partners indicated they need some financial support. Including access to loans, grants, investors, savings and other funding opportunities.
  • Networking opportunities — A network is key for both personal and business growth. Meaning more exposure to the community, more shared insights and mentorship opportunities. But how? Social media platforms, conferences, seminars and the Indy Black Chamber.
  • Mental support — We all know entrepreneurship is mentally and emotionally tough. Support makes all the difference. Black entrepreneurs turn to family, religion and self-care like meditation practices to find the support they need.
  • Education and mentoring — Experienced entrepreneurs can help others navigate challenges with more confidence. Black entrepreneurs in Indy lean on schools, organizations, programs, webinars, certifications and mentors for support.

Creating a solution for Black business owners

So to help Bernice, Edith and Ned level up and achieve both their personal and entrepreneurial goals, we needed to create a centralized place for all these resources.

Collabo XD partnered with MetaImpact to develop a Black business ecosystem app where entrepreneurs can …

  • Connect and network with one another
  • Find educational resources to solve their challenges
  • Access financial and mental support tailored to their needs

Some key features of the app include:

  • A directory of local Black-owned businesses
  • Community forums for networking, collaboration and support
  • A resource library with information on funding, mentoring and education opportunities

Call to action – Here’s where you come in

This new platform is just a baby. So it needs some feedback to grow and thrive.

As it rolls out, MetaImpact, InnoPower and we are looking for people to test the app and provide helpful feedback.

And what more could you want than playing a critical role in strengthening the Black business owner ecosystem here in Indianapolis?!

Contact us here to learn if you’re a good fit.

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