New Voices Fund to Invest $100 Million in Businesses Founded by Women of Color

Richelieu Dennis, founder of Shea Moisture and owner of Essence Ventures has announced the official launch of the New Voices Fund. This $100 million fund, initially announced in November 2017, will invest in companies owned and/or managed by women of color.

Research done by the Boston Consulting Group in collaboration with MassChallenge revealed what’s known as the “investment gap.” The study found that despite being more profitable, businesses with women founders had a more difficult time securing investors. The goal of the New Voices Fund is to combat this issue for women of color business owners.

“The facts about investments in women of color entrepreneurs, particularly Black women, are astonishing,” said Richelieu in a statement. “Entrepreneurship among women of color has increased 322%, but only 0.2% of those women receive access to the funding needed to sustain and grow their businesses. Black women raised just 0.0006% of the total $424.7 billion in tech venture funding since 2009. This is unacceptable. It is why the Fund is focused on making equity investments and creating an ecosystem that empowers women of color entrepreneurs to reach their full potential by addressing three of the most pertinent issues preventing their long-term success – access, capital, expertise.”

Since the launch of The New Voices Fund website in February 2018, $30 million has been invested or committed to the following eight companies: Beauty Bakerie, Beautycon Media, Envested, McBride Sisters Wine, Mented, Sweeten, The Honey Pot Company, The Lip Bar.

“We are excited and proud to partner with each of these women to bring value that will help fulfill their visions for their companies and create opportunities for economic inclusion, social change and wealth creation in their communities,” said Richelieu.

Women of color entrepreneurs may apply for funding and other resources and join the New Voices community at

Chantè Russell

Chanté Russell is a Howard University print journalism major from Raleigh, North Carolina. Her entire life has been shaped by her passion for writing, fashion and activism. Those passions have led her to create a blog entitled Be The Zeitgeist and serve as a staff writer for Howard’s student newspaper, The Hilltop. She has also written for Lady With Attitude and worked as a freelance journalist. Some of her biggest role models include Anna Wintour, Maya Angelou and her cousin, Dr. Jennifer Edwards, who inspired Chanté to attend Howard. After completing college, Chanté hopes to work as a fashion journalist and use her platform to combat cultural insensitivity within the fashion industry and improve the public perception of the industry.

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