Beloit, Wisconsin has 65 businesses owned by Black women. Of those 65 businesses, 32 were launched in the past two years, according to Rock County Jump Start (RCJ). Doubling the number of business owners in such a short time is impressive for any city, no matter its population. What has inspired so many women to go into business for themselves? The answer, believe it or not, is social media.
RCJ is a business incubator and accelerator that provides the education, tools, and resources Black entrepreneurs need to start, grow, and sustain a successful business in Rock County. RCJ’s Executive Director, Gina Stevens, told Rockford’s WREX, “I think now with social media and this visibility now of Black women in tech, Black women in marketing, I think now is when they staring to believe they can do something.” Lexi Payton, with the Black Women in Business Expo added, “It’s also opening it up for people to say, oh she did it, she is a Black woman, I can open my own business.” Social media has become a game changer.
Various scholars have concluded that seeing a Black POTUS actually helped Black students narrow the achievement gap. The visual of an Obama inspired students to believe that they could achieve more. In the same way, social media has ignited many Black women to believe in themselves. When Black women see other Black women making moves, they are emboldened to do the same. When Black women see other Black women launching tech companies, opening restaurants or becoming independent, it inspires confidence. The internet and social media, especially, have unleashed a tidal wave of Black Girl Magic.
Social media is a tool, one that can be used for good or evil. You can watch fight videos or indulge in twerking on social media, if you’d like. Black women, however, have taken social media and ran with it in a different way. As evidenced by what is happening in Beloit, Black women are drawing inspiration from social media and daring to dream.
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