Black Entrepreneurs: 4 African-American business owners making the biggest cultural impact
The population of black entrepreneurs is in absolute growth, more and more black people on this side of the world are opening up businesses and running their own companies. However, the idea of a black business owner in North America is a new concept. The first completely black-owned business in the United States dates back over 100 years ago to 1898. Entrepreneurs Aaron Moore and John Merrick, both adopters of the economic philosophies by Booker T. Washington, founded the first black-owned insurance company called North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance.
Fast forward to present day, 2018 black-owned and operated are flourishing more than ever. Not only are they making an impact economically within the African-American community, but they are also shaping a culture of black excellence and prosperity.
These days there are many entrepreneurs of color that are doing well and holding a strong bottom line within their enterprises, there are few in particular that are leading the way and making the biggest cultural impacts through their entrepreneurship. We will check out some of these names and the influence that have on black culture.
Moziah Bridges owner of Mo’s Bows
Moziah is the youngest of the bunch but definitely one of the most impactful. Mo began his journey at the tender age of 9; now 15, he has grown his own bow and tie business to be valued at over 150 thousand dollars and is rapidly growing while he is continuing to command media attention.
Mo started when he saw a gap in the fashion industry for young men and good-looking bows and ties with great color. Great local success led to their appearance on the fifth season of Shark Tank in 2013. They did not get a deal, however they received something a little more valuable, a mentorship from black business mogul Damon John.
From media outlets featuring Mo, to meeting Barack Obama and other celebrities, Mo has gone through quite the journey to matching the success of his mentor. Mo now has penetrated the NBA market with his players wearing his ties in the NBA draft and the most recent licensing deal with the NBA.
This young black Memphis teenager is now the role model for many African American youths. They are able to see that no matter where you are from and no matter the age, one great idea and the passion for excellence can lead you to true prosperity and economic freedom.
Tristan Walker owner of BEVEL
Nearly 80% of black people and 30% of people of other ethnicities are affected by razor bumps, and that is why Tristan Walker, now 33, started Walker and Co. Tristan is pushing the limits of diversity in Silicon Valley while building one of the largest valued startups in the country.
Given his start at Foursquare in business development, Tristan soon found himself as one of the first business developers at Twitter. In 2013, Tristan launched Walker and Co. releasing their flagship product BEVEL, a single blade shaving kit that targets people that suffer from razor bumps, specifically people of color with coarse and curly hair.
With investors like Nas, who features the brand in his latest song with DJ Khaled - Signature Fade with the Bevel Blade, that's a major key, as well as other influencers such as NBA player Harrison Barnes and rapper Isaiah Rashad representing as brand ambassador Tristan is making moves within the culture. Appealing to the youth as well as solving a problem that affects millions of men and women mainly African Americans finally, there is a brand made for us by us in the mainstream. Still making major moves and turning down a reported $500 million from Gillette, Tristan is a major influence in Silicon Valley, a place that notoriously lacks diversity, as well as the country.
Shawn Jay-Z Carter, TIDAL
Known for his illustrious rap career as Jay-Z, arguably the top hip hop artist of all-time, Shawn Carter continues to stay relevant with his entrepreneurial endeavours. Shawn has been part of many major and successful business ventures such as Roca-wear clothing, his involvement with the Brooklyn Nets, his record label Roc Nation, his sports agency, and most recently, TIDAL.
Tidal is a streaming service aimed at partnering with and empowering the artists themselves giving them a stake in the company rather being slaves to the digital music phenomena that is paying artist pennies on the dollar. Tidal now competes with major music streaming giants such as Spotify and Apple Music.
Shawn Carter has become a sensation for the black community not only with his empowering and relatable music, with his success in the business world with the networth of nearly a billion dollars. Jay-z aka Shawn carter will continue influence black culture and be in the forefront of black excellence.
Benita Johnson, The Vine Wine Club
Leaving her 9-5 job as an accountant, Benita started vine wine club to help diversify an entire industry. When everyone thought it was a bad idea, Benita, with very little knowledge of the wine industry started by opening up her own beer and wines stores and gaining knowledge from her distributors and customers. She has now cemented her brand as friendly and consumer-focused.
Her subscription based company has become a brand for women of color to come and feel welcome and understood in an industry that overlooks them. Benita has become the leader in the African American entrepreneurial community.
In 2018, these entrepreneurs have more moves to make, will continue to build their brands, while making waves in black culture.