04 Feb Entrepreneurship Is the New Black by Candice Quarles
I have always searched for a place that could be uniquely mine in Dallas. I see many small cities and suburbs here, tiny islands that if they were more connected could really push a region forward. How much more could we accomplish if we truly worked collectively as a region? Being uniquely placed between two bustling sprawling cities as far north as Prosper and as far south as Midlothian, I realized that this effort starts on the individual level.
Another aspect of my search for a space uniquely mine were identity issues that arose as a women of color. In my search, I found a need for a group that focuses on the needs of women of black women in the areas of business, entrepreneurship, politics, and family.
The Golden Circle
Thus, the Golden Circle was born. The Golden Circle is a group of African American women looking for and affecting change in the DFW area. Founder and Executive Director Denita Lacking-Quinn had the vision to create a formal voice for the black female entrepreneur, career women, voter, mom, wife, and the many other titles we women hold. The specific need for our voices to be heard has come up time and time again when elected officials and new businesses ignore our segment of the population.
The Golden Circle is a group of African American women looking for and affecting change in the DFW area.
The group of women encompasses a variety of backgrounds. Anyone is welcome to join if she supports the mission of more African American women in leadership roles.
When Lacking- Quinn asked me to join as Board Chair, I was hesitant. As a past President of a highly engaged member organization, I already knew the time commitment and tenacity involved in leading a group (and especially starting a new one from scratch). I gave her the typical, but real excuses: “I’m so busy already;” “My kid is only 17 months” (she is); “I have my own company to worry about.” But the need was there. Sometimes, in leadership, you find that you’re the one you’ve been waiting for. There is no one who is going to advocate for you if you aren’t willing to step out and do it for yourself.
I frequently attend entrepreneurship events/forums, and still, in 2016, I am one of a few brown faces in the room. As I catch another woman or person of color, we glance with a familiar look of “What’s up? I guess it’s just us,” because we all know each other. Again, it’s only a few. We must do better.
Entrepreneurship + Women of Color
“The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well, and the woman’s appetite for entrepreneurship is at an all-time high,” said Carla Harris, Chair of the National Women’s Business Council. Need proof? On Etsy, 88 percent of sellers are women. But the data shows minority women/women of color do not start businesses as often or get past the initial start-up/survival stage as fast as their white counterparts, which can be three-four years on average. We need to encourage dialogue around black women entrepreneurs, through leaders and policy makers.
To change anything we have to acknowledge and address that there is a problem. Let’s tackle it, North Texas.
With Lacking-Quinn as Executive Director and me as Board Chair and a phenomenal team, we venture off into the sunset to create an organization that will address entrepreneurship and leadership for African American women. We are 7 percent of the total population; 64 percent voted in the last election; and we control 85 percent of the buying power in the black community to the tune of $1.1 trillion. Let’s start acting like it. Join us if you want to support.
Our first event will be March 19, and it will feature a panel of prominent business women and leaders. via Dallas Innovates