According to the U.S. Black Chamber of Commerce, “African-American businesses have grown at an exponential rate in the 21st century.” Four months in and 2018 is already shaping up to be a banner year for African-American entrepreneurship. Currently there are nearly 2.6 million African-American-owned businesses in the U.S., and now there are countless platforms, programs, initiatives and conferences in place to support such exponential growth.

Kezia Williams is a D.C.-based entrepreneur who currently leads a national program designed to cultivate the next generation of African-American entrepreneurs and innovators for the United Negro College Fund. She is also the founder of The Black upStart, a national initiative to train African-American entrepreneurs. According to Williams, “The penalizing effects of racism robs black employees of fair and equal earned income simply because they are black. Therefore, entrepreneurship is not only necessary for black employees seeking to fully capitalize from their labor but also for black returning citizens who attempt legitimate employment despite policies that restrict their economic mobility and subsequent earning potential.”

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