I’m black. I started my first business on the internet. So I’m one of the answers to this question.
And as much as I hate the word – Entrepreneur, I am an an entrepreneur.
While everybody in college was worrying about a thing called E.M.A, I was the guy selling T shirts, hoodies and anything I could to get some extra money.
E.M.A basically means if you signed up for some documents in college back then, the college would pay you £20-£30 per week. In association with the government.
I sold whatever I could get my hands on. I was drawn to business, retail and always have been.
You could say it’s in my blood but not literally, as my family has no history of entrepreneurship whatsoever.
For as long as as I’ve officially been an entrepreneur (since starting a legitimate business) I’ve never ran into a black Entrepreneur before. Besides the guy I see in the mirror everyday, of course.
But seriously… I can’t remember seeing that many black internet entrepreneurs, or any black entrepreneurs for that matter.
Yes there are a few I remember. But it’s so few that it’s scary. Or maybe it’s just where I’m looking?
If you go looking for a classy woman in a run-down bar, you’re unlikely to find her after all. But when I think about it I know where I’ve “looked” can’t be the reason.
I mean, a big city like Manchester, Liverpool, London (etc) should have plenty of black Entrepreneurs, right?
And if you look online, it seems there aren’t too many the average person mentions in conversation.
Of those who are internet entrepreneurs, why are so few well-known? If at all?
I could take the easy route and say something predictable like…
- It’s racism.
- The world hates us.
- We’re being cheated.
- It’s bullshit.
Or something small minded like that (even though racism is a possibility, let’s be real here). But it’s too easy and too typical to believe it’s one of those 4 reasons.
Because everybody would use any of the 4 reasons I’ve mentioned. And if everybody’s saying it, that doesn’t mean it’s true.
I believe there’s a bigger reason why black internet entrepreneurs are so scarce. Unseen. Unheard of. Invisible. Unknown.
Something so big you’d think it’s obvious to notice, but in reality is too hard to see because we’re not paying attention.
But what could that be?
This is my guess as to why there seems to be so few:
“I think if you give in and accept society’s stereotypes, then you start thinking, ‘I cannot dance till late at night because I’m 70.” – Yoko Ono
The quote above isn’t wrong. Black stereotypes look like this:
- Basketball players.
Koby Bryant. 50 Cent. Beyonce. Muhammad Ali. Usain Bolt. Kevin Hart.
Those are the 5 names I think of from each industry I mentioned.
You see, the stereotype is – if you’re black, then you’re bound to do one of those 6 things. Because these are the industries where black people are most well-known.
When something or someone becomes famous, it opens doors. And then it gets flooded. And then if enough people start flooding the gates, it becomes a stereotype, an expectation.
A black man or woman being drawn to entrepreneurship? That’s not a strong expectation, let alone a stereotype. Nobody assumes that.
People are more likely to expect a white American (or British) to be drawn to entrepreneurship. Like the Bill Gates and the Mark Zuckerberg’s of the world as an example.
Hence why I believe stereotypes are the reasons that:
- Black entrepreneurs are disregarded or giving less media attention.
- Less would be black entrepreneurs are willing to start and get into business.
Let’s not sugar coat the situation:
The media controls a lot of what is seen, heard and shown to the public.
If the public see’s nothing other than black people who are rappers, comedians, or something typical, then what else are people expected to think?
If the majority believe in these stereotypes, then our perceptions become blurry.
It’s no different to how a woman can claim she was raped or abused by a man even if she wasn’t.
The stereotype dictates that the law will favor the woman’s opinion over the mans. So the man will 8/10 lose in court, and be sent to jail for something he may not have even done.
Stereotypes have the power to do that, after all. Especially when the majority believes in it. Even if the thinking behind it is irrational.
2. There aren’t enough black internet entrepreneurs
Lets take the music industry as an example. You could argue that there were no way near as many black musicians 50 years ago.
There are 1000’s of black musicians. Many of who are successful and have made their mark in the world.
I’m not convinced it’s the same story for black internet entrepreneurs though.
Like I said earlier, I don’t know of many other than myself and a small few.
Another thing I don’t know of are many:
- Black authors.
- Website owners.
And so on. Across the whole spectrum of business and entrepreneurship. There just aren’t enough doing it.
Sometimes when something is in short supply, the demand is low. And few people pay attention, if any at all.
When you go shopping offline, you don’t go to the shops that are empty and have no customers inside. No, you go to the shops that are:
- Packed with people.
- Brimming with energy.
And so on. That’s because even though the supply is high, the demand is even higher. And that’s what draws you to it.
I can’t say why there aren’t many black internet entrepreneurs. Whether they’ve made it, or they’re a work in progress, I can’t say I know why there are so few.
Or why so few of them are even mentioned or heard of.
Or why they’re not promoting themselves out in the open for the world to see. Or whatever other reason there is.
What I do know is it’s best to lead by example. And I’d like to be one of the sparks that sets off the fireworks of black entrepreneurship.
Not in a small way, but in a way so big that the impact is undeniable. And so more of us have the courage, confidence and drive to pursue entrepreneurship.
Especially if entrepreneurship is a part of who you are from the inside-out.
Where Are All The Black Internet Entrepreneurs?
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