Black Louisville entrepreneurs receive $25K in grants to help grow businesses

Black Louisville entrepreneurs receive $25K in grants to help grow businesses
Published: May. 9, 2023 at 5:36 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - On Tuesday, 15 entrepreneurs received $25,000 in matching crowdfunding grants to help grow their businesses as part of a new partnership powered by Metro United Way called FundBLACKFounders,

Resources, organizers emphasized, have been needed since only 1% of start-up capital accrues to Black entrepreneurs.

FundBLACKFounders is a crowdfunding platform that assists funding Black founders to create more Black-owned businesses, according to a release.

”This will change lives and our entire community,” Metro United Way President and CEO Adria Johnson said. “It is a win-win for us all.”

One of the local entrepreneurs is Shauntrice Martin, artist and founder of Chahta Noir.

Martin said she creates sculptures, mixed media, prints and more, drawing inspiration from her son.

”Any of my art can go onto clothing,” Martin said. “We also have bandanas for the kids, and I encourage the students to create furniture out of sustainable materials. So we go to thrift stores, get old materials and then recreate new art to try to get some of the trash out of the landfill.”

Martin said Chahta Noir celebrates both Black and Indigenous art.

”Essentially, I like to take symbols from both cultures and integrate them,” Martin said. “A lot of us don’t get to know our history through school and we have to do our own research, so I try to use art to do that. To educate people on both the artistic side, and on the side of just understanding why culture is important.”

Entrepreneur Lecresha Sewell said plans to use the grant to grow her business on a global level. Her mobile app is called Melanated Healthcare.

”The years that I was in practice, continually having patients express similar experiences, prior to seeing a provider that they felt comfortable with and that they could connect with,” Sewell said.

Sewell said her app allows patients to discover local providers who share the same racial or cultural background, in various specialties, ranging from physicians, dentists, doulas, allied health and more.

”Digital health was my way to connect far and wide and make the most difference in health care and decreasing disparities, and ideally increasing health equity,” Sewell said.

Black people represent 14.2 percent of the US population, but only 2.2 percent of employer businesses, according to the release.

For more information on FundBLACKFounders, click or tap here.