People of color are equal members of business world nowadays. However, the trace of the former discrimination remains: due to numerous factors firms of entrepreneurs of color are not growing on pace with white-led companies. Unfair? Kelly Burton and her platform Founders of Color are here to help. 

 

Activism as a lifestyle

Kelly Burton has a big and diverse experience of activism. She is a researcher with Ph.D degree in Social Sciences, philanthropic advisor start-up founder and social change agent – all in one.

It is her life path that inspired Burton to move on: Kelly grew up in a working-class family and saw al the effects of urban poverty at an early age. Later she moved to Atlanta to study Social Science in Clark Atlanta University and then she got a scholarship from Emory University where she earned a Ph.D.

After some years of working as a researcher, she decided to apply her skills and launched a consulting firm dedicated to improving challenged communities like the one she grew up in. Launched in 2009, Nexus Research Group (NRG) quickly grew quickly, hitting the $1 million revenue mark in the first few years. Now NRG consults with non-profit funders and government agencies to help them strategically invest precious resources to achieve the most impactful social programming possible.

In 2013 Kelly learned that she has Grave’s Disease, an auto-immune disorder that affects the thyroid. The condition wreaked havoc on Kelly’s body and triggered severe sweats. When she was unable to find base layers to help her manage her condition, she decided to do something about it. That’s how Bodyology was created: a high-tech apparel company which infuses performance technology into women’s innerwear that revolutionized the way modern women dress.

Just a year later, in Bodyology was selected as one of ten companies nationwide for Macy’s The Workshop program, a competitive vendor development initiative designed to prepare women and minority-owned businesses for entry into large-scale retail.

 

 

“Believe me, you always have competitors. Even if no one does exactly what you do, there are firms that could easily pivot to do what you do if the demand presented itself. Therefore, when researching your competitors, go deep and wide. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask questions of people doing something similar and finally, don’t be overly anxious to be the first to market. You know what they say… pioneers get shot, settlers get rich” – Burton adviced in her interview to Urbangeeks.com

 

Making entrepreneurship equal

 

Being a successful entrepreneur of color herself, 3 months ago, in April 2017, Kelly Burton decided to create a community that aims to help to people of color to develop their business more effectively. According to Founders of Color’s data, while minorities start business on a rapid pace, it is not growing. Nowadays white-led companies generate 10 times more profit than black firms and 4 times more than Latino ones.

Kelly set a goal to interrupt this inequality state by launching the platform that gives firms led by minorities a lot of opportunities: an access to relevant information and data, relationships and opportunities they need to scale quickly. Launched two months ago, the site has already attracted several firms founded by people of color in 6 industries such as construction, architecture and design, information technologies, food, customer goods and services and banking. Overall, about 50 companies got involved by such a short period as two months.

 

What’s on the platform?

Say you are a minority entrepreneur. In what way the site might be helpful and how to use it?

There is a “Execution lab” on foundersofcolor.com, where minority start uppers and entrepreneurs can find information concerning business development: how to build an effective business plan, how to promote your organization. Members of the community can consume, produce and exchange the info about methods that can make the business grow rapidly. For this purposes, there is an “Ecosystem” page on the site. It provides all the nessesary orrortunities and resourses to educate minority entepreneurs and to develop their skills.

Furthermore, the platform allows interacting not only online, but offline too. There is a calendar with regular events, business incubator and information about co-working spaces. Such a meetings is an opportunity for founders of color to share the experience and to establish professional ties. Futhermore, Kelly Burton herself gives a public speeches on different conferences devoted to inclusivity topic regularly, so the minority entepreneurs are also welcome to attend.

“At FOC, we are not interested in reinventing the wheel, replicating or duplicating what others do well. Rather, we aspire to be the connective tissue that brings it all together and makes the pathway towards business growth more clear, while making the experience of being a minority entrepreneur a lot less lonely and painful.

If we get this right, they are going to write books about what we were able to achieve here, together. So, here we go. Let’s GROW!” – the Founders of Color’s main page states.

The issues of minorities is a point of discussion nowadays. Organizations are trying to help people who experience discrimination to integrate in all the spheres of social life. Moreover, business was a niche where people of color needed support. Kelly Burton found this gap and after only two months the strong community have started to establish.  No doubts she has pitched in the future of business that is going to be equal and tolerant.

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