clarisse-libene

A word from Clarisse LIBENE

Founder of Afropreneuses Summit

When I started my entrepreneurial career in 2010, I had very few success stories of women who look like me in France. I spontaneously turned to the United States where the success of women like Oprah Winfrey reminded me that everything is possible.

I belong to a generation of women entrepreneurs from diversity, as we say, black, 100% digital and connected, which are the legacy of lineages of women entrepreneurs in Africa, the Caribbean and the diaspora. From Congolese traders to Togolese Nana Benz who had managed to unite, create their financing systems and build their empires. Going through more recent initiatives such as Black Women in Tech in the United States, we, in Europe and the Carribeans, are struggling to federate our energies.

 

A FEW DISCOVERIES

Black women are the most dynamic ethnic group in business creation in the United States. According to the National Women's Business Council, 1,531,494 businesses are owned by black women in the United States, representing a 66.9% increase since 2007. These businesses employ approximately 376,500 workers and generate revenues of $ 51.4 billion. of dollars.

 

AN ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT THAT ALSO REACHED FRANCE

Over French-speaking Facebook groups with more than 100,000 members in France and in French speaking countries.

According to a survey conducted by my agency in 2017, 34% of women surveyed say they wish to start their own business, or have already started it, as a main or secondary activity.

Discrimination related to our status as women and black in the job market are important. Starting a business is somehow the perfect way to succeed, not to depend on the biased judgment of a boss on our skills.

The difficult conciliation of work and family life is also an important factor. Like all French women, Afro-descendant women seek to succeed in combining their lives as women, mothers and working women.

Once the business is launched, we don’t know where to go to. No place to find a mentor or inspiration, when we know how determinant those assets can be in the career of an entrepreneur. Eyes focused on the United States or Africa where the successes of black women are much more visible, some Afropean are even pushed to leave their country for Canada, the United States or the African continent where they feel more supported and valued.

FROM LACK OF REPRESENTATIVENESS TO LACK OF EXISTENCE

This is all the more true that these entrepreneurs rarely benefit from support structures adapted to their problems, especially market data on the communities they target for their companies. The absence of ethnic statistics compelling them to navigate by sight and to take significant risks that could jeopardize the success of their business project. Things are getting tougher when it comes to being credible with banks and investors.

 

AFROPRENEUSES SUMMIT, THE FIRST DAY DEDICATED TO AFROPREAN WOMAN ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Fortunately enough, the generation of entrepreneurs who started in the 2000s all know each other. In any case, I know them all. And I was eager to bring together those who share the same leitmotif as me : sharing, transmitting, preparing.

SPEAKERS OF THE LAST EDITION

  • The first edition, that took place in 2018, was a huge success, with the presence of

  • Kelly Massol, founder of the french cosmetics brand Les Secrets de Loly

  • Angele Mwana, founder of Happy 50

  • Paola Audrey Ndengue, founder of FashizBlack and Panelle & co, who came from Abidjan to tell her story

  • Leslie Belliot, the french blogger transmitting the art of Caribbean food with her workshops Jecuisinecreol

  • Rebecca Cathline, founder of MacoiffeuseAfro, the first app to connect African independent hair stylist and black women in France

I can not wait to have you for our second edition.

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