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New Majority

10 Hispanic-Owned Small Businesses to Support

This Hispanic Heritage Month, we put together a list of Hispanic and Latinx-owned businesses to support all year round. From hot sauce to home décor, here are some phenomenal Hispanic-owned businesses from the Hello Alice community for you to check out. _____ Artifacts Founded by designer Casey Perez, this New York-based jewelry line offers colorful jewelry pieces made with recycled and conflict-free metals. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Artifacts Jewelry (@artifactsnyc) Old Salt Merchants Based in Berkeley, California, Old Salt Merchants offers an array of gourmet salts like their Espresso Bravado Sea Salt and Szechuan Salt. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Old Salt Merchants (@oldsaltmerchants) Ceremonia Ceremonia offers ethically handcrafted home décor and accessories made in small batches using natural and locally sourced materials. View this post on Instagram A post shared by CEREMONIA (@ceremoniashop) SunKiss Organics SunKiss Organics offers nontoxic, organic skincare that uses ingredients like cocoa butter and coconut oil that hydrate dry skin and turmeric and honey that provide anti-inflammatory properties. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Skincare For SunKissed Skin (@sunkissorganics) Pintá Pintá offers vegan and cruelty-free nail polish so you can have a gel manicure at home. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Pintá | Esmaltes en gel (@pintabeauty) Peekaboo Ice Cream Need to find a sneaky way to get your kids to eat vegetables? Peekaboo Ice Cream creates ice cream incorporating veggies like spinach, cauliflower, and carrots for a healthier dessert alternative. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Peekaboo Ice Cream (@eatpeekaboo) Back of the Yards Coffee Co. For coffee enthusiasts, Back of the Yards Coffee Co. offers a variety of artisanal coffee blends and canned coffee. Located in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood, the coffee roaster invests $1 of every 12 oz. bag of coffee sold to fund initiatives that create social impact in the community. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Back of the Yards Coffee (@backoftheyardscoffeeco) Poplinen Poplinen offers timeless clothing essentials that are made from sustainable fabrics like upcycled denim and organic cotton. View this post on Instagram A post shared by POPLINEN (@poplinen) Sonoma Hot Sauce Looking for a new hot sauce to try? Sonoma Hot Sauce uses a blend of peppers grown right in Sonoma County, California, to create a fiery condiment. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Deb Ramirez Rock (@sonomahot) CocoAndré Chocolatier Co-founded by mother-daughter duo Andrea and Cindy Pedraza, the Dallas-based chocolate company offers artisan chocolate like raspberry lavender truffles, roseberry milk chocolate bars, and dark chocolate pistachio barks.  View this post on Instagram A post shared by Chocolatier & Horchateria (@cocoandre_chocolatier) For more small business tips and inspiration create a free account on Hello Alice or subscribe to our weekly newsletter.
Sep 22, 2021 • 2 min read
New Majority

10 LGBTQ-Owned Small Businesses to Shop

With nearly 1.4 million LGBTQ+ small business owners in the U.S. (and more than 14,500 on Hello Alice!), queer-owned businesses contribute $1.7 trillion to the economy. And what better way to support LGBTQ+ owners than by shopping at their businesses? Whether you’re in the market for clothing, home decor, books, or sports gear, a general rule applies: If you can buy it, you can bet there are quality LGBTQ-owned small businesses to supply it.  This Pride Month, we’ve rounded up a list of LGBTQ-owned businesses from the Hello Alice community to help you support these owners now and all year round. Show & Tell Concept Shop Founded by Alyah Baker, the shop features their in-house Show & Tell Collection, a line of homemade apparel, accessories, and décor. The shop also offers a selection of ethical and sustainable goods from other brands. View this post on Instagram A post shared by SHOW & TELL CONCEPT SHOP (@showtelloakland) Kaka’ako Kasuals If you’re looking for some casual footwear, Kaka’ako Kasuals offers slippers, sandals, and reef walkers created by local artists and designers in Hawai’i. View this post on Instagram A post shared by kαkα'αkσ kαsuαls (@kakaakokasuals) 18.21 Bitters Want to make a better cocktail? Started by Missy and Kristin Koefod, 18.21 Bitters offers cocktail bitters, shrubs, syrups, and tonics made from fresh ingredients. Try mixers like Grapefruit Lavender Bitters and Blackberry Peppercorn Shrub. View this post on Instagram A post shared by 18.21 Bitters (@1821bitters) Terrance Williams Designs  Find handmade clothing and accessory pieces from designer Terrance Williams. From dresses to headbands, the pieces are ethically and sustainably crafted, with 5% of total revenue going to climate initiatives. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Terrance Williams (@terrancewilliams_) Pupster Bakery Looking for treats for your furry friends? The New York-based Pupster Bakery makes vegan dog and cat treats using all-natural and organic ingredients. The bakery also offers custom orders where they can modify any recipe to meet your pets’ needs. View this post on Instagram A post shared by PupsterBakery (@thepupsterbakery) Outpatch Outpatch offers stick-on patches without the need to iron or sew. Local artists design the patches, and a portion of the sales are donated to humanitarian and disaster relief organizations. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Outpatch (@outpatch_) Maker & Moss Maker & Moss offers artisan and sustainable furniture, décor, and furnishings for your home. The San Francisco-based retailer features a line of custom-made furniture crafted by hand. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Maker & Moss (@makerandmoss) Under the Umbrella Bookstore Founded by Kaitlyn Mahoney, this bookstore offers new and used books written by queer authors and serves as a community space for people who identify under the “queer umbrella.” View this post on Instagram A post shared by Under the Umbrella Bookstore ? (@undertheumbrellabookstore) ProReferee For soccer lovers: ProReferee offers uniforms and equipment for soccer referees. Started by former competitive soccer player Jason Sholl, find professional uniforms, flags, whistles, cards, bags, and digital gadgets. View this post on Instagram A post shared by ProReferee (@proreferee) Birkenstock Village In search of the right shoe? This family-owned shoe store has been around for more than 25 years and offers high-quality shoes, sandals, and socks. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Birkenstock Village (@birkenstockvillage) We hope you support these LGBTQ-owned small businesses and others! Interested in joining the community of Hello Alice owners? Sign up for a free membership here for tools to grow your small business.
Jun 15, 2021 • 2 min read
New Majority

16 AAPI-Owned Small Businesses To Support

In honor of Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, we're highlighting AAPI-owned businesses that you can support this month and all year long. Ahead, find some fantastic AAPI-owned businesses from the Hello Alice community. Sugarbird Sweets Scones delivered right to your doorstep? Yes, please! Founded by Kei Okumura, Sugarbird Sweets offers a variety of scones and baked goods for your next afternoon tea. With flavors like Fig Rosemary and Black Sesame White Chocolate, the scones can be delivered already baked or in frozen doughs so that you can make them at home.           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Sugarbird Sweets (@sugarbirdsweets) TERRA This St. Louis-based company makes hand-poured candles in small batches, using clean and minimal ingredients. Dianna Allen started TERRA to capture the aromas from the natural environment.           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by TERRA (@terrasimply) Pairess Officewear, but make it comfortable? This clothing brand provides comfy, functional workwear clothing for women.           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Pairess (@pairess) JOI Looking for a plant-based alternative to milk? JOI creates plant milk concentrates where you can easily create your own almond, cashew, and oat milks at home.           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by JOI・Plant Milk Concentrates (@addjoi) 700 Rivers Founded by Catherina Gomes, 700 Rivers offers all-natural soaps that are made by Bangladeshi artisans who have escaped human trafficking and are now provided fair living wages.           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by 700 Rivers (@700rivers) MAIKA MAIKA makes bags crafted from recycled canvas, vegan leather, and eco-friendly pigments. Each bag design is illustrated in-house in their Oakland, California, studio.           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by MAIKA Sustainable Bags (@maikagoods) Erica Recto Art Find wheel-thrown ceramics like mugs, planters, and bowls created by artist Erica Recto.           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by E R I C A • R E C T O (@ericarecto.art) Omsom Omsom offers ready-made sauce packets, or "starters," for dishes like Vietnamese Lemongrass BBQ or Korean Spicy Bulgogi. Started by sisters Vanessa and Kim Pham, Omsom regularly collaborates with chefs to bring authentic flavors to its starters.           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Omsom (@omsom) Nā Mea Hawaiʻi Nā Mea Hawaiʻi carries an assortment of goods made by local farmers, small businesses, and artisans in Hawaii. Find everything from stationery, art prints, coffee and tea, bath and body products, and more. The store also sells books focused on Hawaii and the Pacific through their bookstore, Native Books.           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Nā Mea Hawai'i | Native Books (@na_mea_hawaii) Purpose Tea Founded by Chi Nguyen, Purpose Tea offers bottled purple tea beverages with flavors like Coconut Lime and Watermelon Mint. The beverage company also donates a portion of sales to lift female tea workers from poverty.           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Purpose Tea (@purpose_tea) Sijo Sijo offers home essentials like beddings, loungewear, and aromatherapy products. Focused on creating eco-friendly bedding, their French Linen Bedding collection is sourced in small batches and is made from the flax plant, a sustainable fiber.           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Sijo (@sijohome) Harlow & Grey Planning an event? Harlow & Grey has everything you need from stylish plates and napkins to decorative garlands and place cards.           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Harlow & Grey (@harlowandgrey) Malai This ice cream shop incorporates South Asian spices of founder Pooja Bavishi's childhood. Try flavors like Lemon Cardamom, Orange Fennel, and Red Chili Chocolate. Their brick-and-mortar shop is located in Brooklyn, but the ice creams can be shipped nationwide to your door.           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Malai (@malai_icecream) Spadét This beauty brand specializes in skincare for sensitive skin. All of their products are made with olive oil and formulated by founder and biochemist Annabelle Santos. (Read our interview with Santos here.)            View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Spadét (@spa.det) Paru This tea shop offers loose leaf teas, herbal teas, and matcha from around the world. Co-founders Amy Truong and Lani Gobaleza sources most of their products from family-owned tea gardens in East Asia and Southeast Asia. Paru also offers virtual tea tastings for small groups and teams.           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by PARU® (@paruteabar) Rue Saint Paul Based in Brooklyn, Rue Saint Paul offers an array of new and pre-loved clothing from sustainable brands online. The store also offers fashion that you can rent for 14 days.           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Rue Saint Paul (@ruesaintpaul) We hope you'll shop with these amazing AAPI-owned small businesses soon! For more small business tips and inspiration create a free account on Hello Alice or subscribe to our weekly newsletter.  
May 13, 2021 • 4 min read
New Majority

Let’s Protect and Support AAPI Small Businesses Together

It’s no secret that the pandemic has affected every small business owner — just read a few stories from the Hello Alice community elsewhere on our blog. But Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month feels like the perfect time to talk about the unique and urgent challenges facing this country’s 1.3 million AAPI small business owners.  These owners work in sectors most affected by pandemic shutdown orders such as restaurants, nail salons, and other service industries. Language barriers and lack of banking relationships have limited their access to vital government aid such as the Paycheck Protection Program. Most concerning of all, watchdogs have recorded an unacceptable 3,795 hate incidents targeting AAPI individuals over the last year, with small businesses listed as the primary site of discrimination. These factors all contribute to a huge economic fallout. A recent report from the New York Federal Reserve and AARP found that 90% of small Asian American firms lost revenue in 2020 — a rate higher than Black, Hispanic, or white entrepreneurs. Recent estimates predict that the number of AAPI business owners has decreased by more than a quarter since the pandemic began. If we are committed to ensuring business for all, it’s time to rally around the AAPI business community and speak out against anti-Asian hatred in every form. For us, that process starts by recognizing and celebrating the more than 17,000 AAPI owners on Hello Alice who demonstrate incredible resilience, ingenuity, and value every day. We’re talking about pioneers like Monica Wong and Quynh Nguyen, who took a chance to co-found the Bay Area’s first food truck before food trucks were cool; mothers like Krittika Khandelwal, who was monitoring product orders from her baby’s delivery room; and first-generation immigrants like Jiyoon Han, who is helping her entrepreneur parents take the family business to the next level.  We all play a part in these owners’ ongoing success. Every one of us can speak, post, and share our love for AAPI-owned businesses. We can buy their products and pay for their services. Crucially, we can report hate incidents and spread awareness about the threats AAPI owners face. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive the latest resources and grant opportunities, and follow us on Instagram.
May 12, 2021 • 2 min read
New Majority

12 Mom-Owned Businesses for Your Mother’s Day Shopping

Mothers wear a lot of hats, especially when it comes to entrepreneurship. Many moms are working on their business during the night or through the weekends. Some may put their hobbies aside to manage the business, while others are cutting back on their sleep to take care of their families and run their businesses. With Mother’s Day right around the corner on May 9, we’re here to help you shop for moms from small businesses owned by moms. Below, find mother-owned small businesses from the Hello Alice community that you can support and get your gifts from this Mother’s Day. For Moms Who Love Flowers: La Vie en Rose Company Roses frozen in time? This floral boutique offers preserved roses nestled in acrylic boxes. The flowers are sourced from Ecuador and are preserved to last a year, without the need to water. View this post on Instagram A post shared by La Vie en Rose Company™️ (@lavieenrosecompany) For Moms Who Journal: Soothi Soothi sells customizable leather journals made using recycled and upcycled materials. They also sell stationery and ink pens for all your writing needs. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Custom Leather Journals (@shopsoothi) For Moms Who Love Coffee: Bean & Bean Coffee Roasters Bean & Bean Coffee Roasters offers organic and fair trade-certified coffee from around the world, curated by mother-daughter duo Rachel and Jiyoon Han. If you’re looking for a virtual coffee experience, sign up for one of their DIY Cold Brew virtual classes where you can learn the methods of coffee brewing at home. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Bean & Bean Coffee Roasters (@beannbeancoffee) For Moms Who Love Cooking: Anar Gourmet Foods Find all-natural, gluten-free Indian spice mixes like the Chickpea Curry Gourmet Seasoning Kit and Chicken Tikka Masala Gourmet Seasoning Kit to create Indian-inspired meals at home. The seasonings are from the owner Priya Osuri’s own family recipes. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Anar Gourmet Foods (@anargourmetfoods) For Moms Who Love Jewelry: Marida Jewelry This Long Beach-based jewelry company offers minimalistic pieces designed by jewelry maker Marida Ngov. Find affordable pieces made with gold or sterling silver. View this post on Instagram A post shared by M A R I D A (@maridajewelry) For Moms Who Love Gift Sets: Le Wren These care packages are carefully curated with gifts such as bath salts, chocolate, and candles, all sourced from woman-owned businesses. Co-founders Serena Roberts Houlihan and Amanda Goller started Le Wren in honor of their moms. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Le Wren Care Packages (@lewrencare) For Moms Who Love Wine: Vinglacé Taking your favorite bottle of wine on the go? Vinglacé has portable, insulated bottle chillers to keep bottles of wine, champagne, or sparkling water chilled for hours. View this post on Instagram A post shared by VINGLACÉ | Keep Wine Chilled (@thevinglace) For Moms Who Play Tennis: CourtLife These durable tennis bags have nifty pockets that can fit anything from tennis racquets and water bottles to cell phones and sunglasses. View this post on Instagram A post shared by CourtLife (@courtlifesports) For Moms Who Love Skincare: Beija-Flor Naturals Beija-Flor Naturals creates organic skin and haircare products using fair trade, botanicals ingredients from Brazil. Their Cocoa-Mango Buttercream is made from organic cocoa and mango butters and aloe vera extracts and functions as a two-in-one product that can be used for both your skin and hair. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Beija Flor Naturals (@beijaflornaturals) For Moms With a Sweet Tooth: Bon AppéSweet There’s a lot of ice creams on the market, but have you tried gelato made from dates? Navy veteran Thereasa Black churns up all-natural gelato that swaps out cane sugar for dates. With flavors like Honey Butter Pecan and Peach Cobbler, these pints can be shipped nationwide. And for chocolate lovers, Bon AppéSweet also makes chocolate bars sweetened with — you guessed it — dates! View this post on Instagram A post shared by Bon AppéSweet (@eatbonappesweet) For Moms Who Love a Good Puzzle: Ordinary Habit The mother-daughter duo behind Ordinary Habit collaborates with artists to design beautifully-crafted puzzles that are “made to last for generations to come.” View this post on Instagram A post shared by Ordinary Habit (@ordinaryhabit) For Moms Who Love Just About Anything: Art Effect Not sure what to give your mom for Mother’s Day? Art Effect has an array of jewelry, clothing, and houseware products to choose from. Plus, they offer gift cards for picky moms who want to pick their own stuff! View this post on Instagram A post shared by art effect (@arteffect)
Apr 29, 2021 • 3 min read
New Majority

Celebrating Entrepreneurs in Black History Month

Black History Month reflects a clear message about entrepreneurship: In a world that tries to restrain your potential and dictate your path, owning a business creates the opportunity for self-determination. Notable Black Entrepreneurs in History That’s the story of Robert Reed Church, who founded the Solvent Savings Bank and Trust Company in 1906 to help African Americans buy homes and become entrepreneurs. It’s the story of Madam C.J. Walker, who became one of America’s first female self-made millionaires by developing cosmetics and hair care products for Black women. And it’s the story of Oprah Winfrey, who became the first Black female billionaire by leveraging her on-screen talent into a global media empire. With success comes influence, and all three figures have wielded their fortunes to right historical wrongs and lift up their communities. Black-Owned Businesses on Hello Alice That legacy continues among the almost 77,000 Hello Alice business owners who identify as Black. There’s Bridgette Baker, who told us that she opened Sunshine Remodeling, her New Orleans-based property company, to “create generational wealth and a legacy” for her daughter. There’s also Darsha Carter, who founded Melanoid Exchange, an e-commerce platform for Black-owned businesses, “to build a community that thrives off of inclusion, equity, and innovative technology.” Survey Stats Why assume the risk of starting a business? Survey data reveals that the most common reasons Black entrepreneurs set off on their own are “dissatisfaction with corporate America,” “desire to pursue my own passion,” and “ready to be my own boss.” Many of these people are fed up with being the only one in the room, tired of not being paid according to their skills and experience, and exhausted by microaggressions in the workplace. Black firms may receive just 1% of venture capital funding and are twice as likely to be rejected for a loan, yet Black women are among the fastest-growing groups of entrepreneurs in the United States. The urge for self-determination is that powerful. The Impact of Black Entrepreneurs Study after study suggests that entrepreneurship is one of the best tools we have for closing the racial wealth gap in the United States. Owning a business can help reinvest in a community, provide a path toward homeownership, and address the unmet needs of a market. These ventures’ economic potential is undeniable, with one Center for Global Policy Solutions report estimating that the U.S. economy could gain more than nine million potential jobs and $300 billion in collective national income if Black entrepreneurs received the necessary support. Pandemic Challenges But the coronavirus now threatens to roll back progress toward that future. Black Americans have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, with a staggering 1 in 735 now dead from the virus. And while stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines have affected small business owners of all races, just 12% of Black and Latino business owners were approved for CARES Act funding essential to business survival. These compound crises will only accelerate as some estimates project that more than 40% of Black-owned businesses will shutter due to COVID-19, shattering the social and economic fabric generations have worked to create. We cannot allow this to happen. Resources for Black Entrepreneurs We're expanding on our Black-Owned Business Resource Center hosted in partnership with the NAACP to connect Black owners with mentorship, knowledge, and grant opportunities required to make history themselves. Not sure where to begin yourself? Darnell Bowen, Hello Alice Controller and State of Black Entrepreneurship panelist, says to reflect on the basics: “A business owner should become comfortable asking and answering challenging questions: Do I understand the market? What elevates my product/service in the market? How do I operate my business most efficiently? By patiently working through these questions, confidence will spread from the business owner and benefit employees and investors.” For more small business learnings and inspiration create a free account on Hello Alice or subscribe to our weekly newsletter.
Feb 3, 2021 • 3 min read
New Majority

The 2021 Recipients of Our Business for All Grant Program

At Hello Alice, our mission is to help all owners launch and grow their businesses through resources, mentorship, and other business opportunities. But we can't achieve this mission alone. That’s why Hello Alice establishes partnerships with business support organizations to amplify a shared message and connect owners, especially New Majority ones, with more tools and resources to succeed. As part of the Business for All grant program launched in partnership with Verizon, Hello Alice is proud to extend $10,000 grants to three outstanding organizations to help continue their mission in supporting New Majority small business owners. Each recipient was first nominated by founders applying for the Business for All grant program. Ten organizations with the highest number of nominations were then evaluated by the Business for All panel based on the degree of assistance provided to founders. The three organizations with the greatest impact to owners were chosen as recipients. Below, get to know the three business support organizations receiving the Business for All Grant. 1. DivInc DivInc bridges the gap between underrepresented entrepreneurs and the resources they need to build successful businesses. The organization supports New Majority owners through programs, connecting them with investors, mentoring, and resources. Hello Alice partnered with DivInc to amplify New Majority owners through initiatives such as the “The Impact of COVID-19 On Black Business Owners,” a data report providing insights into the challenges facing Black founders and actionable steps we can take to eliminate these barriers. Together, we are able to expand support for underrepresented owners and provide more opportunities for entrepreneurial growth. “What I love about the Hello Alice team is their authenticity, passion and commitment to go against the tide and make a positive difference in this country for people of color and women entrepreneurs,” says DivInc co-founder and CEO Preston James. “They don't claim to know it all, but that they are in this fight with us to eliminate disparities and create equitable opportunities for underrepresented founders in the entrepreneur ecosystem.” 2. Bunker Labs There are 2.5 million veteran-owned businesses in the U.S., contributing about $1 trillion to the economy. But military-connected businesses, including all branches of the U.S. military, active and reserve component members, military spouses, and veterans, face unique challenges: The work outside of their industry and multiple relocations sets them behind to build generational wealth. Organizations like Bunker Labs, however, are building a network of veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs, providing the tools they need to grow their businesses. Hello Alice partnered with Bunker Labs to provide business resources to support military-connected entrepreneurs through the pandemic. Bunker Labs plans to use the grant to continue their efforts in supporting veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs. “Hello Alice has been at the forefront of driving innovation, collaboration, and access for entrepreneurs across the U.S., wanting to connect into the right resources and networks to bring their ideas to life,” says Todd Connor, founder and CEO of Bunker Labs. “As an early adopter of Hello Alice, we have seen the impact of their platform, and now as a Business for All grantee, we will be able to invest even further in connecting with and supporting military-connected entrepreneurs.” 3. National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) NGLCC is the largest global advocacy organization dedicated to expanding economic opportunities and advancements for LGBTQ+ founders. The organization also offers a certification program for LGBT Business Enterprises (LGBTBEs). “As the business voice of the LGBT community, the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce leads the fight for equity and opportunity for America’s 1.4 million LGBT business owners and the more than $1.7 trillion they add to the US economy,” says Justin Nelson, co-founder and president of NGLCC. “To help them succeed and tear down the barriers of discrimination that get in their way, we need experienced and passionate allies.” Hello Alice partnered with NGLCC to strengthen support for LGBTQ+ business owners through initiatives such as "The Impact of COVID-19 on LGBTQ+ Businesses,” a data report showing the obstacles confronting LGBTGQ+ founders and the recommended actions to support them. “Collaborating together on the ‘The Impact of COVID-19 on LGBTQ+ Businesses’ report helped elevate the needs of our innovative, diverse entrepreneurs during this most difficult year,” Nelson says. “With the generous grant they have provided, Hello Alice has demonstrated a commitment to helping small businesses in our community — and all communities — now and always. Together, we can ensure a more level playing field and better access to the tools needed to help ensure the American Dream is open to every American.” For more small business tips and inspiration create a free account on Hello Alice or subscribe to our weekly newsletter.
Jan 27, 2021 • 3 min read
New Majority

Closing the Latina Wage Gap Starts by Supporting Latina-Owned Businesses

I personally experienced the Latina pay gap for the first time back in 1994, at age 14, when I filled in for a friend to babysit for a neighbor. At the end of the night, the family paid me $12, roughly $2 per hour. It was 33% less than they paid my white friend for the same service. As a young Latina, I was taught to bite my tongue, smile, and show gratitude for the opportunities I was offered. It’s a skill that’s served me well in many instances over the years, but it also contributes to one of the largest racial disparities in our country: the Latina wage gap. On average, Latinas in the U.S. are paid 45% less than white men and 30% less than white women. Many attribute this to a disparity in education, experience, or negotiation skills, but the facts don’t line up. I am not alone in my babysitting experience. The wage gap starts at age 16 for Latina girls, when they are paid 11% less than boys the same age, and it only widens as they grow older. In fact, the higher the education level for a Latina, the wider the wage gap. Even though Latinas ask for raises and promotions at higher rates than men, they get worse results. My response to that babysitting snub was the same recommendation I give Latinas today: Start your own business. The most effective way to close that gap is to employ ourselves, to dictate the value that we are worth, and to be willing to walk away when others aren’t willing to pay us for that value. It gives Latinas not only the power to close the wage gap for their own careers, but to pay their power forward through equal wages across their team. I hear the corporate rhetoric around bringing diversity into the workplace, and the efforts leaders are taking to bring more equality inside their institutions should be applauded. But there are stronger forces at play that make it incredibly difficult to put a Latina into a C-Suite or even a senior leadership position. The people circling these job opportunities — white men who have also worked hard to get where they are, but who have more context, greater experience, and tighter relationships with the decision makers who select these roles — make leapfrogging to the top almost impossible for Latinas who often sit in more junior roles. There is an unspoken understanding in the corporate world that change requires a generational shift of gradual promotions up the corporate ladder by leadership who recognize the long-term effects of a deeply ingrained social bias. So we can wait and hope that the number of leaders who grasp the severity of the diversity gap in the workplace can hold the rest of the company accountable — or we can take matters into our own hands. When a Latina is empowered to start her own business, she relies on the market to determine the value she provides. While her negotiations may have been ignored  in the board room or corner office, as an entrepreneur, the value of her services is set by the court of public opinion — a diverse public, of which 18% are Latinos themselves, representing the second largest racial or ethnic group in the United States.   So to those corporate leaders who truly want to make a difference, spend your diversity dollars investing in Latina entrepreneurs. Source your supply chain from Latina-owned businesses, and build up the very companies you may someday look to acquire. Provide our community with the leadership positions we’ve long deserved, as CEOs of our own businesses, and allow us to prove our potential today, not generations from now. The data supports this model, with both female and Hispanic-owned businesses outperforming our white male counterparts. Give Latinas the platform to grow and lead, and to flood the pipeline at all levels of a corporation. If you need our resumes to match our potential, give us an opportunity to show, versus tell. To the consumers who are enraged by the data shared above, spend your dollars with Latina-owned businesses. Help these women grow their revenues, not only for the benefit of their own salaries, but as employers of over 680,000 people, many of whom are Latinos themselves. Contact your local Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for a listing of Latina-owned companies in your area. And to all of you Latinas wondering why you are earning sixty-four cents for every dollar the white male next to you takes home, use your voice and speak up. Nearly one-third of Americans are unaware of the pay gap between Latinas and white men; nearly half of Americans don’t know it also exists between Latinas and white women. It is time to take back control of your financial independence, and to invest in yourself when the rest of the world may not yet recognize your full potential. Share your business and get the support you need at Hello Alice’s Hispanic Business Center, which is full of grants, opportunities, education, and community to ensure you succeed. Whether you close that gap with a side hustle, or a full-time venture, give yourself the title, the power, and the paycheck that the world has yet to provide. Carolyn Rodz is the co-founder and CEO at Hello Alice. You can follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Oct 29, 2020 • 3 min read
New Majority

Maria Maso Created baMa to Find More Investors for Diverse Startups

A few years ago, Maria Maso, an entrepreneur and investment maven originally from Barcelona, worked as an IT program manager for Fortune 500 companies like Shell, Telecom, and Centrica. Then a very sick child spurred her family's move to Houston for better medical care, where she "started to become interested in how these technical [medical] devices are made that are saving our family’s life — and who is investing in them." But Maso, whose career focused on finance process improvements around the world, quickly discovered that one of the biggest problems plaguing this kind of innovation is lack of diversity. About Maria Maso Maso's investing journey began after her friend Juliana Garaizar, the Director of the Texas Medical Center Venture Fund and former managing director of the Houston Angel Network, nudged her to become an angel investor for several local organizations. It didn't take long for her to encounter multiple roadblocks. “The first problem was that they were not inclusive. I was the only Latin lady, speaking too fast, moving too much, and not really feeling like part of the team,” Maso says. “The other problem was that they were not educating me. They assumed that because I had the capital and wished to invest, I knew what was going on.” A Lack of Investment in Diverse Startups After a meeting in 2019 with the Angel Capital Association, Maso realized that not having enough investors from diverse backgrounds was a national problem leading to lack of investment in diverse startups. This felt personal to Maso given that although more than 70% of the Houston population belongs to a minority group, New Majority business owners still represent less than a quarter of the local startup ecosystem. “I was surprised that even though I was in Houston, at the Latin Round Table, and in all the organizations I should be a part of, I was not not getting good investment opportunities,” Maso says. “We’re just missing an organization that will bring together new investors, and bring together more capital to be invested in minorities.” What is baMa? This is how the Business Angel Minority Association (baMa) was born in March 2020. baMa aims to bridge the investment gap in New Majority startups, or startups targeting minority-driven markets, by rallying a troop of accredited investors with an annual investment pledge and presenting them with 10 annual pitches. To be able to pitch baMa, startups need to be either founded by a New Majority member or have a New Majority member on the board. Because baMa is still a new organization, they currently require an investor to lead the round. The baMa Investment Academy baMa has responded to the challenges of COVID by launching its Investment Academy with four modules addressing the basics of business angel education, the basics of investing, the difference between venture capital and corporate venture, legal information, and more.  “For me education was an important part of the journey,” says Maso. The original plan was to launch the academy in 2021, but because there’s been a lag of investors, Maso decided it was best to start the education process first. In fact, Maso sees a silver lining in the current moment: “A lot of people were supposed to join us but didn’t because of COVID, so naturally, why not educate as we wait?” The first round of one-on-one business angel education begins in August. Partnerships In the meantime, baMa is also focusing on building partnerships with other organizations that are also investing in minority startups. Most recently, it partnered with Hub Angels, the Boston investor group. “There are a lot of good initiatives that aren’t working properly together. One of the ways we’re trying to address that issue is by making a fund of funds,” Maso says. “That way we can bring more money to the table and invest in organizations that are already in the market. Our goal is that baMa will have their own fund that will be invested in startups and other funds.” For more small business tips and inspiration create a free account on Hello Alice or subscribe to our weekly newsletter.
Jul 31, 2020 • 3 min read
New Majority

This VC Doesn’t Just Fund Immigrant Entrepreneurs, It Makes Them Americans

Not all business is on hold right now. Just ask Manan Mehta of Unshackled Ventures. "We bet on immigrants. While not a badge of distinction, we recognize many immigrants (or teams with immigrants) have lived through adversity and are well prepared to navigate it," he says. That means, that despite the coronavirus outbreak, his VC company is still actively seeking businesses to invest in. In fact, Unshackled even added a new member to their team during this trying time. "We love the power of the adversity muscle and hope you will consider us as your first investor," he adds. This is the story behind this very special firm. Mehta (top right) was born and raised in Silicon Valley, but if there’s one thing he knows, it’s that immigrants are some of the most entrepreneurial people you’ll find. As he puts it, his story is an arc of a very privileged son of Silicon Valley immigrants, including a father who came to the U.S. for his MBA, worked for Ross Perot, and retired by age 50. But how do you start a business in the U.S. if you’re not a citizen? That can be a difficult question to answer. That’s why he and co-founder Nitin Pachisia founded Unshackled Ventures. Mehta, a confirmed generalist who focused on both engineering and economics in college, says that he was never interested in venture until he was presented with an issue that needed to be resolved. “We wanted to solve a problem for immigrants and saw there was an untapped population of a lot of Silicon Valley VCs that were no longer finding outliers — they’re immigrants sitting in the shadows. For us it was solving that problem that was really enticing,” Mehta explains. It was a problem that touched Mehta personally. Both he and Pachisia previously had to shut down businesses because their immigrant co-founders were on visas. “We weren’t able to figure out how to sponsor their visas so they could work full-time on the business with us,” he recalls. In parallel, Mehta was also aware that there was a deep talent pool of immigrants moonlighting in co-working spaces around Silicon Valley. The pair realized that what they needed was not only to bring money to the brilliant minds at work “in the shadows,” but also help them to stay in the country legally. The goal was to provide something like a friends and family loan to people who, by virtue of being foreign nationals, didn’t have much wealth at their disposal. They also wanted to provide the right resources at the right stage. “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know and when,” says Mehta. “We call it stewardship. We provide these talented, hardworking, credentialed people networks of influencers so they can knock down walls pretty quickly.” But none of this matters without the immigration portion of the model. And that has been a massive success. Since 2015, Unshackled has done more than 120 filings on behalf of its founders. In fact, that aspect of the business is what gave it its name. “You can feel like you’re shackled. It’s not the policies themselves, it’s navigating the polices,” says Mehta. By helping people to fund their businesses and stay in the United States to see it grow, they are breaking those bonds. Unshackled’s portfolio is diverse not only in terms of the people in which it’s investing, but also the types of businesses. Eighty percent of the team at Lily AI is women. Founder Purva Gupta appeared in Wired with the headline “The Fashion App Founder With a Pocket Full of Visas.” Thanks to Unshackled, she now has a Green Card and is raising a Series A for her company that uses AI to help retailers understand why customers buy what they do. Other success stories include Plantible Foods, started by two Dutch entrepreneurs in San Diego. The company is developing a plant-based protein that’s odorless, colorless, and tasteless. Pod Foods was founded by two women, one from the U.S., one from Singapore. Mehta admits he was surprised that a cookie company, albeit one with an unconventional recipe using pea protein, was seeking venture funding. But in finding a market, they created “a modernized food distribution company” that allows data to drive stocking. These kinds of forward-thinking creations only prove Mehta’s thesis that “by supporting immigrants earlier you’re actually supporting American innovation. You’re supporting American job growth. This is a land of immigrants we are very bullish that immigrants are job creators.” So far, Unshackled has funded 44 companies to the tune of about $17 million. Their fund doesn’t supply massive amounts of collateral because its companies tend to be extremely early stage. In fact, 60% of Unshackled’s investments went to businesses before they’d even incorporated. So how do you impress a venture capitalist like Mehta? He says that most important thing you can do is show him what makes you different. “Don’t bury the lede. Too may people go into the problem statement too quickly, they go into their solution too quickly and they forget to tell us what makes them different,” he says. And if you impress the team at Unshackled, it could set both you and your business on a path to the American Dream.
Mar 31, 2020 • 3 min read