ATLANTA — Black women are the fastest-growing demographic of entrepreneurs in the United States. Atlanta leads the nation in the number of women starting businesses.
Channel 2 Anchor Jovita Moore met two women who started their own businesses. One of them got a big break at the Super Bowl.
“I didn’t have a life. I think I probably lost some hair through the process,” said Jamine Moton, who founded Skylar Security. Her business helped keep Mercedes-Benz Stadium safe during the Super Bowl.
“(It was) an incredible opportunity,” Moton said.
Her security guards made a big impression. The client asked Skylar Security to double its shifts.
Moton never imagined snagging such a prestigious event when she first started her business while working as a Clayton County police officer. After doing both for three years, she quit her day job.
“It was probably the most nerve-wracking moment in my life. Like I said, I’m a cop, athlete. I don’t get scared,” Moton said.
A few months later, Moton joined the Women's Entrepreneurship Initiative. WEI is a 15-monthlong incubator that helps women with everything from hiring a team to finding funding.
“They literally do grab you and support you and say, ‘How can I help?’” Moton said.
The City of Atlanta invested $1 million in WEI. It is “the only city-funded initiative of its kind in the country,” said Theia Smith, WEI’s Founding Executive Director.
“We know Atlanta constantly leads the nation in the number of women who are starting businesses here. We want to stay at the top of that list with the number of women who are sustaining businesses here,” said Smith.
WEI works with Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs, which gives loans to women and people of color who may be considered too risky by traditional financial institutions.
“The range is between $15,000 and $1 million,” said Grace Fricks, ACE’s president and CEO.
The average size loan is $125,000. The organization lent $11 million in 2018.
“The number one question is always about how I get money. And the number one pushback from the space is no, but what are you going to create that deserves that money,” said Candice Jordan, Love Home’s founder and CEO.
Jordan is bootstrapping. She is investing her own money in Love Home, a home decorating tech solution. It can predict customers’ style preferences and smart shop products to them.
Jordan is getting help through The Big Incubator. It is a nine-month program that leads women through the idea stage to creating a profitable business.
“Being able to keep your business in business is a success,” said Essence Lofton, with The Big Incubator program.
Jordan balances running Love Home with a full-time job and raising three children with her husband. The Big Incubator and mentors help make it possible.
“Because being an entrepreneur is not easy. So, you need to have someone in your corner who will continue to push you past that wall,” said Jordan.
Jordan has advice for women with a business idea: “I would say go for it. For so long I think we all have those moments in life where we’re like what if, what if? I could just do that, I could just create that,” Jordan said.
The success of Atlanta’s entrepreneurs is helping the city. Their businesses are creating jobs. In Moton’s case, Skylar Security has grown from having about 70 security guards before WEI to more than 500.