Building a Better Pipeline for Women in Business in DetroitBy Lauren Bealore on May 28th, 2016 /
Four years ago when beginning this journey to support women in business, my Co-Founders and I built a strategic vision of three main entities that we wanted to include: Business Development, Community Engagement and Mentorship, and Personal Development. From research of where women, especially women of color, falter statistically in business, we felt that these three areas were where the statistics needed to change…and so the mission began.
In 2014, the revitalization efforts for the City of Detroit began to come to fruition. Like many other cities such as Chicago and D.C. respectively, the new rise of business development and less affordable housing painted a portrait of a less inclusive demographic that resulted in a museum of what many viewed as gentrification. This is where we began to see the importance of building partnerships and that meant making sure we were at the table exercising our voice for others.
Like any movement or initiative, in order to have a real impact, one must be present in the room for the voices of your community to be heard; otherwise it falls on deaf ears alone. We knew that in order to truly embody our mission of “Lifting as We Climb”, it required extending the ladder to bridge builders that were entering Detroit with a strong echo of resources resounding through the city. This is where co-working spaces came into our network.
According to an article in HuffPost Women, “Coworking spaces became very trendy in the technology scene very quickly. It became an easy way for start-ups or corporations to monetize their extra workspace by renting it out to entrepreneurs. And a great way for entrepreneurs to cut costs and risk when starting their businesses. In 2014, a Marketing Executive in Los Angeles identified a missing link in the co-working marketplace.” For the City of Detroit, the missing link was the education of these resources. With the build up of the entrepreneurial hubs of Bamboo Detroit, Build Institute, Ponyride, and Techtown (see Michipreneur’s directory for more), we saw a void of inclusive resources that needed to be filled. This was our opportunity to make the impact that we envisioned in 2012 and thus began our Y.A.B. event series.
After taking a chance on our Y.A.B. Sister Sip event series with our co-working space partner Bamboo Detroit, which is a series that focuses on women of color revitalizing the City of Detroit in different industries, we saw fit that we introduce a new co-working space partner: Build Institute. Working alongside Build Institute, whom helps people turn their business ideas into reality by providing them with the necessary tools, resources, and support network in Detroit, we hope to help even more women of color develop their business dreams into business plans. To date, Build Institute has graduated over 700 aspiring and experienced entrepreneurs from their classes, with over 70% of those businesses being owned by women of color.
With this summer kick-off happy hour event taking place on June 2, 2016 from 6PM-8PM, we are looking forward to showcasing some of our new Y.A.B. Detroit Venture Partners as well as highlighting how Aireal Taylor, Founder of Kidz Cab and our guest speaker for the event, is building on modern transportation by creating services that operate as an Uber for adolescents. We are hoping that like our partnership with Bamboo Detroit, our partnership with Build Institute will provide another great space for networking and resources for Detroit women and further propel our mission forward.
To all of my fellow Young, Ambitious, and Beautiful women, continue to be change agents, continue to be curators, and continue to be the author of the story of your lives. As one of the Co-Founders of Y.A.B., we look forward to continuing to support you and “Lift As We Climb”. We hope to see you at our next event. RSVP here.