Entrepreneurs in the creative industry face a number of challenges¹. Those challenges are even more difficult for women of color. It’s extremely difficult for them to raise venture capital. They must deal with a male-dominated world where few networking opportunities exist. Competition is intense, and it’s difficult to pitch your ideas to people who can’t relate to your background. These challenges exist, but these women are not being discouraged by them. In fact, entrepreneurship in the creative industry seems more popular than ever before among minorities.
When raising capital and pitching ideas to investors, women in the creative industry might encounter a number of different challenges. One clear example is a female CEO who is also a mother. Some women have successfully turned this into an asset, pitching themselves as “mom CEOs” and allowing others to identify with their struggles. Others feel self-conscious and unsure of how to present a professional image while also acting as a mother. In short, motherhood should not be treated as a liability, unfortunately, it often is.
The lack of a “safety net” is another issue that these female creatives might face when approaching the industry as a new entrepreneur. They may not have the ability to ask friends or family for loans. The entrepreneurial world is littered with stories about people maxing out their credit cards and getting loans from everyone they know in order to fund their startups. This type of funding is often critical for new entrepreneurs, and it is disproportionately harder for nonwhite women to obtain.
It’s a Global Movement
All around the globe, women of color are displaying a greater interest in creative entrepreneurship. In Kenya, women accounted for 50% of the applicants for the 2020 Young Creatives Challenge, an initiative to nurture new creative talent². When half of all professionals in the creative industry are women, it’s fair to say that the goal of equal representation has been achieved.
The UK has a vast number of initiatives and programs that are specifically designed to help women of color who want to break into the creative industry, including the Black Art Futures Fund, the Jolt Academy, the No Trace BAME Initiative, Project Noir, Black Ballad, and many others³. This is definitely a step in the right direction.
Why the Creative Industry is so Important for Wider Representation
When more women from diverse backgrounds become influential in the creative industry, everyone wins. When barriers are broken down, the creative industry as a whole can evolve. If steps are not taken to build a more inclusive and diverse creative industry, progress may grind to a halt.
Companies are in danger of becoming stagnant if more minority women are not represented – whether they’re involved in film, architecture, marketing, or any other creative field. Brooklyn-based designer Batsheva Hay probably summed it up best when she said: “It’s so important to have diverse perspectives throughout the entire design process. Organizations need to make their hiring pools diverse, and they must question who is making the entire image and ensuring multiple voices from multiple perspectives are being heard.”4