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Major retailers boost Black female entrepreneurship as employment gap lingers


Ulta Beauty now carries twice as many Black-owned brands.

Ulta Beauty

As Black women entrepreneurship bridges the employment gap, major beauty stores are encouraging minority-owned small businesses.

According to The Census Bureau, 17% were starting new businesses or managing existing ones as of the end of 2013. Harvard Business Review. It is higher than the 15% and 10% reported by white men.

However, just 3% of Black women have reported owning mature businesses.

Traditional workers are also welcome unemployment rateAccording to the Labor Department, Black women still have a high unemployment rate of 5.5%, which is higher than 3.6% overall U.S. employment. Hispanic females had 4.2% unemployment during this same period. It was 2.8% for white women.

Target, Ulta, Sephora, and Sephora created diversity programs and start-up incubators in an attempt to support small businesses. They also offer financial assistance and mentorship.

This month Ulta BeautyIncubator Rare Beauty Brands was partnered by Black Girl Ventures (a foundation that finances and scales Black and Brown-founded companies) for the second pitch competition. Rare Beauty Brands gives a pitch for their three minute business plan in an open, crowdfunded competition.

First place winners will be awarded accounting consultations and $10,000, as well as a permanent spot on Ulta’s product shelves for at most six months. Vote results determine the winners. The voting between the seven finalist closed April 14th. Next week will bring the winner to you.

There is also the possibility of key mentoring. Black Girl Ventures gives coaching prior to pitching, while Rare Beauty helps business owners to win.

Chris Hobson, Rare Beauty CEO, stated that while we know that Black women are more likely to use beauty products than other people, financing for Black female entrepreneurs remains a major problem. This is not about us adding brand value, but rather about correcting a wrong. It’s a way for us to say “Thank you” to large numbers of our customers and trying to be part of the solution.

Kim Roxie is the founder and CEO at Lamik Beauty. This brand, which was founded by Black women, became Ulta’s first clean-products company. She won the Black Girl Ventures pitch contest last year. Her business was transformed by Rare Beauty’s partnership, she said.

Roxie stated that “it was game-changing” for Roxie as a founder and for her company. They allowed me to use their team in ways that were not possible for me.

They kind of filled that gap by sub-contracting.”

Ulta Beauty pledges to spend $50 Million this year on diversity projects, which includes the launch of an e-commerce site. accelerated programTo support Black entrepreneurs by donating money to their marketing.

According to the company, it’s about halfway towards reaching its target of 15% minority representation on shelves by February. This is part of its wider strategy. diversity initiatives.

Scaling of brands

Sephora runs similar accelerated programs for entrepreneurs, aimed at improving representation of brands from BIPOC — Black, Indigenous and people of color — founders. Since its inception five years ago the Accelerate program has received over 600 applications this year from small-business owners.

Rauvan Dulay is vice president for global merchandising and business development at Sephora. “The Accelerate Program serves as a platform for emerging brands to become visible and viable, stable and financially solvent.” “Business growth in communities of color creates jobs, opportunity, stability and generational wealth — having the potential for decades of positive impact.”

Target Takeoff, a large-box retailer launched in 2016 by Target with similar goals but was more geared towards mature consumer packaged good companies. According to Target, Forward Founders was an incubator that helped Black entrepreneurs get started earlier. It helps them with product development, ideation and scaling for mass retail.

In January, the incubator revealed its second batch.

CNBC was informed that Target’s Accelerator Programs have a successful history and the company saw an opportunity for growth.

According to Target, its Forward Founders program attracted four times as many applicants than it expected this year. To ensure that all applicants can benefit, it tripled the size the annual cohort.

— CNBC’s Melissa Repko contributed to this report.