Rise in Black Female Entrepreneurs Spurs New Groups, Conferences

Mar 18, 2019

Kalamazoo natives Alisa Parker, Demarra Gardner and Nicole Parker have formed groups to serve the growing number of black female entrepreneurs.
Credit Earlene McMichael | WMUK

Did you know black women are the fastest growing group of business owners? From 2007 to 2018, black female-led businesses grew by 164 percent, says a new report. To appreciate the magnitude of the growth, consider that, overall, the number of women businesses rose 58 percent for the same period. Yet, things like this happen: Nicole Parker says a professor once discouraged her from focusing on black female entrepreneurship for her master's degree research. Undeterred, Nicole Parker and three of her sisters decided to form Sisters in Business.


Today's guests on WMUK's WestSouthwest news & public affairs show are Sisters in Business' Nicole Parker and her sister Alisa Parker; and Demarra Gardner of Black Women About Business. These Kalamazoo natives talk about the struggles of women entrepreneurs of color and how their individual groups are providing skill-building, support and financing for this rising demographic.

For instance, Sisters in Business has held workshops and pitch competitions in Kalamazoo and Battle Creek since launching in December 2017. Then, coming up on April 18, Gardner's Black Women About Business, begun in January 2017, kicks off its Be Well Fabulous Black Woman Tour in Kalamazoo at the Radisson Plaza Hotel, offering business, leadership and wellness tracks. The retreat stops next in Detroit on May 14 and on June 4 in Grand Rapids.

Hear the longer interview 

WestSouthwest news & public affairs show airs Mondays and Thursdays on WMUK 102.1 FM at 7:34 a.m., 9:34 a.m. and 4:20 p.m. You can subscribe to the WestSouthwest podcast through Apple iTunes and Google Music. There you can leave a rating and write a review.