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Black female founders and the business investment gap

BUSINESS SAVVY: Jocelyn Mate and Rachael Corson

THERE HAS been a lot of of talk recently about inequality in business investment for women, but black women are left out of the narrative.

Data shows that it’s near impossible for black women in business to get money to scale through traditional avenues. Especially if running a business serving other Black British women.

Joycelyn Mate and Rachael Corson, co-founders of Afrocenchix — a multi award-winning natural hair care company for afro and curly hair – are currently working on raising investment to help scale their company and are taking an innovative approach to overcome the barriers they face as black female founders.

The duo started the company when they were both 19 with nothing but £50 each scrapped together from part time jobs at university. Their huge vision has carried them through almost a decade of learning and developing to become the first brand for Afro Hair to launch in all UK Whole Foods stores last summer.

The tiny team of three full time staff and a carousel of interns currently make all products in-house. The company is now at a point where they are struggling to meet surging demand so the founders are raising investment to help them to scale and get manufacturing out of their hands.

The investment will allow them to grow the team and release new products their customers have been requesting for years. Despite having sold thousands of bottles to customers in over 22 countries, finding investors was proving to be a difficult task. Investors either claim it’s “too early” for investment or they just “don’t get” the problem.

Rachael Corson says:“We often watch ‘pre revenue’ White Oxbridge male peers receive millions in investment (and watch many go on to quit/fail) whilst we’re told ‘the market just isn’t big enough’ or ‘the team lacks experience’ despite the fact we’ve spent a decade changing a market valued at £4.2B in the UK alone. We’ve been quoted 20% and over for loans.

“We've had an investment offer from a competitor in the space but it didn't align with our values and the equity ask was massive so we politely declined. We currently have some Angels & VCs considering our proposition but it’s important to raise money on our terms to achieve our aim of reclaiming the Afro Hair industry and ensuring that safe, effective & affordable products become the norm.”

Find out more about the brand here:

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