BIPOC Voices

Voices of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color

Hope, Cookies, and the End of Relationship Violence, with Junita Flowers, Junita’s Jar

Junita’s Jar donates a portion of their profits to end relationship violence. One year ago, Junita Flowers said, “Clarity comes while you are working.” And, she is always working. So, it comes as no surprise that she launched a new brand, Junita’s Jar. They offer new products, including 3 oz snack packs. She has a new overarching message, #HopeMunchesOn. And her new job title is “Hope Muncher in Chief.” Still, she remains true to her mission. She brings hope to women experiencing relationship violence. “Junita’s Jar is focused on creating meaningful conversations that foster education and awareness around relationship violence,” Junita explains. A portion of profits from each purchase of…

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The Many Side-Hustles of Sherrell Dorsey, ThePLUG and BLKTECHCLT

ThePLUG is the first daily tech newsletter covering founders and innovators of color. What do these people have in common: Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Larry Page, Tim Cook, and Larry Ellison? Yes, these are all icons of the tech industry. They also happen to be white men. Sherrell Dorsey of ThePLUG says, “Part of my personal and professional growth was staying abreast of what was happening in the news.” However, she noticed a gap in tech news. “The daily business and tech news cycle is filled with the stories and work of white men building the future,” she says. “Rarely are we recognizing the work of…

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E-Commerce for Everyone, with Isaac Hunja, Sky.Garden

Sky.Garden is a SaaS e-commerce platform built for retailers in Africa. People who work in the informal economy make up half to three-quarters of the non-agricultural labor force in many countries. In Kenya, the informal sector represents 82.7% of all employment. Many of the people involved in the informal economy also have a job in the formal economy. Isaac Hunja, the Chief Marketing Officer at Sky.Garden, comments, “Every Kenyan has a side-hustle.” One example of the informal economy is street vendors. They may have a kiosk in a marketplace or they may be selling goods from the back seat of their car. According to Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and…

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Launching Minority-Led Tech Startups with Mondo Davison, The Black Tech Guy

Mondo Davison, known as “The Black Tech Guy,” is on a mission to inspire a generation of black youth to pursue a life in tech. African-Americans make up a little more than 11 percent of the US population. Yet, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs, only 2.1% of businesses with at least one employee were owned by African-Americans. In the tech sector, the statistics are worse. According to CB Insights’ data on VC investments, only 1 percent of VC-funded startup founders are black. Mondo Davison, known as “The Black Tech Guy,” is trying to close that gap. When Mondo was a child, people would ask him…

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Educational Opportunities for All, with Maimuna Ahmad, Teach for Bangladesh

Nearly 60 million children in Bangladesh are denied high-quality education as a result of an inequitable system. Teach for Bangladesh is addressing this problem.  Bangladesh is one of the poorest countries in the world, and yet a country of great opportunities. However, those opportunities are not evenly distributed across society. Many children live on less than $2 per day. They go to school for as little 2-3 hours per day, often in classrooms that can swell to 120 students or more. Of the 17 million children who begin elementary school each year, only around 2 million will graduate from high school. The teachers themselves are sometimes poorly educated, with most…

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Mapping the Trillion Dollar Impact Investing Sector, with Rehana Nathoo, The Case Foundation

The Impact Investing Network Map visually presents the best publicly available information on impact investments. Any good entrepreneur will tell you, problems are opportunities. People in a remote village don’t have access to electricity, and yet, they have funds for kerosene. Companies like d.light and Barefoot Power see a market opportunity. Consumers throw textile and garment waste into landfills, generating 14 million tons of waste per year in the United States. Stacy Flynn launches Evrnu, turning cotton waste into a usable fabric. Social Entrepreneurs turn global problems, including the Sustainable Development Goals, into sustainable businesses. But ideas like these need capital in order to launch and grow. Impact investing is…

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Hira Batool Rizvi: Transforming Transportation for Women in Pakistan

She`Kab is transforming how women travel to and from work. When She`Kab Founder and CEO Hira Batool Rizvi started working in Pakistan, she quickly recognized a problem with transportation for working women. She estimates that about 90 percent of her colleagues feel unsafe going to and from work each day. And, like any good entrepreneur, she recognized this problem as an opportunity. The problem with transportation leads women to stay home or to pay four times as much as men for safer travel options. Public transportation options for women in Pakistan are limited. A typical bus has one seat available for women and 27 seats for men. If women do manage…

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Balancing Entrepreneurship with Family and Self-Care, with Dorcas Cheng-Tozun, Inc. Contributor and Author of “Start, Love, Repeat”

Dorcas Cheng-Tozun is a columnist for Inc.com focusing on startup life at the intersection of marriage, family, and personal well-being. She is also the author of Start, Love, Repeat: How to Stay in Love with Your Entrepreneur in a Crazy Startup World. “We’re not fully acknowledging the reality of what it means to pursue a business,” Dorcas Cheng-Tozun begins. “There is so much excitement and goodness in it, and yet there is this other side to it that involves sacrifice and some measure of pain.” d.light is a global solar energy company, delivering affordable solar solutions. When Dorcas’ husband Ned co-founded d.light in 2005, Dorcas was immediately pulled into the…

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Making Technology Fun, Relevant, and Accessible for Girls, with Betty Gronneberg, uCodeGirl

uCodeGirl offers pathways to technology careers for teen girls by tapping into their curiosity, skills, and potential. Betty Gronneberg grew up in Ethiopia. She attended Addis Ababa University where she majored in statistics. Betty recalls a day in college when she saw her name on a list of students who had been accepted into the new Computer Science track. She was one of two female students on the list. This was 1991. The “world wide web” had not yet been invented. Betty learned to write simple programs in BASIC, an early computer language. Betty’s experience grew rapidly as the internet began to spread. She became a country-wide email administrator for…

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Clean Water, Powered by Gravity, with May Sharif, AguaClara

AguaClara designs gravity-powered water treatment plants for low-income communities around the world. According to May Sharif, Founder and Managing Director of AguaClara, “More than one in ten people around the world don’t have access to clean drinking water on tap.” When people don’t have access to clean drinking water, adults lose time at work and children miss school. They suffer from illness and or even death. “Up to two million people die each year due to waterborne disease,” May explains. “Most of them are children under five.” By providing access to clean drinking water, people prosper and children learn. Conventional water treatment plants typically do not last more than two…

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