Abena Foli Shares Her Startup Journey with POKS Spices

Featured recently in this article in the Cornell Chronicle, Abena Foli shares how her inspiration to bring West African flavors to the US marketplace was the idea behind her launch of POKS Spices. Foli is a graduate of the Bank of America Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship certificate program and discusses how specific coursework as well as the connections made in the program opened her eyes to funding and resources that were available to launch and scale her business. We are so proud of all that she had achieved so far and can’t wait to see where POKS Spices goes next!

Support Women’s Leadership Progression in the World of Work

As the world emerges from the COVID pandemic, most employers – especially those that manage knowledge workers – have had to contemplate what the future of the office looks like in terms of in-person versus at-home expectations. This new hybrid model is an interesting one when it comes to the impact on women in the workforce. This article in Talent Management shares four important ways that business leaders can build hybrid workplaces that support their organizations’ diversity goals and encourage the advancement of women into leadership roles.

Female Entrepreneur Turns $10K to $2MM in 2 Years

Tiffany James from Modern Blk Girl

Tiffany James , a 27-year-old African American woman from New York City, is the founder of Modern Blk Girl, which helps educate women on how they can build wealth through investing. James was inspired to launch this venture and share her knowledge after she turned a $10,000 starting investment in the stock market into $2 million in just 2 years. Read more about her investing journey and her commitment to educating women about building wealth in this article in Black Enterprise.

No More Greenwashing for Stella McCartney

Stella McCartney, famous English fashion designer and daughter of British singer-songwriter Paul McCartney, has always been a staunch supporter of animal rights and environmentalism and is known for the use of animal-free alternatives in her fashion work. This article in The Story Exchange shares how McCartney is now taking her designs to the next level. In one example, she is producing a parka made from Econyl which is a regenerated nylon created from discarded fishing nets and other plastic waste that is 100 percent recycled and recyclable. With the fashion industry being one of the most polluting industries, this is a fantastic step forward. Click the link above to read more.

REPOST: Spreadsheet with funding resources for 2023

Each month, we send an email blast to students enrolled in the program with a list of funding opportunities and business resources. In between the monthly email blasts, we keep this spreadsheet updated daily with new opportunities that we find (the last column indicates the date when the item was added to the spreadsheet): https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1zU5SUCYBopz64FM4q_nqp2wvILmcdItq_PRWQRXFUB4/edit?usp=sharingMore

Success Is Never Guaranteed And Requires Perpetual Work

Monique Rodriguez, self-made millionaire and founder of Mielle Organics, founded her natural hair care brand in the wake of losing her son at eight months of pregnancy. She decided to leave her career as a nurse and pour her energy into her startup which would also enable her to cope with her post-partum depression. That creative outlet that helped her get through the trauma of losing her son has become a multimillion-dollar brand sold in over 100,000 stores across the U.S. 

Rodriquez mentions that the best career advice she’s ever received came from her husband who said, “Success, if not owned, is rented — and rent is due everyday. Don’t get complacent, don’t get comfortable, and never feel like you ‘made it.’ Because when you get to that place, there’s always someone trying to take your spot. You have to continue working and striving as if you know [your spot] is not guaranteed.” To read more about Rodriguez’s journey, check out this piece on CNBC.

Extra Education Supports Becoming An Entrepreneur

According to this piece in Fast Company, during 2021 alone, over 5 million new companies were registered in the US alone which is an increase of 23% over the previous year. While some of this increase can be attributed to the impact of the global pandemic, research is suggesting that education is playing a role as well.

While some experts have felt that continuing education is more about “signaling rather than skill development”, this new research is providing evidence that additional years of post-high school education can boost self-employment in high-growth industries. Research goes on to point out that, “for women, education may have an even greater impact on encouraging them to jump into entrepreneurship by increasing their confidence in addition to their skills.”

Education is certainly something we believe in at the Institute! If you (or someone you know) would benefit from our free 12-week entrepreneurship certificate program,  go to this page and click the “Join the Waitlist” button. We enroll on a quarterly basis and reach out to those on the notification list in the order that they are there. 

Optimism is Linked to a Longer Lifespan in Women

Researchers from Harvard University; Boston University School of Medicine; Kaiser Permanente; UC Davis; UC San Diego; and Brown University explored the link between optimism and longevity in a 150,000 racially diverse women ages 50–79. Scientists found that women with the most optimism lived 5.4% longer (approximately 4.4 years) than the least optimistic women. Optimistic women were also more likely to achieve “exceptional longevity” which is defined as living to be 90+. One of the most interesting items to note is that these trends were consistent across all racial and ethnic groups of women. So if you are making a resolution for 2023, consider practices that impact your optimistic outlook! To read more about this research, see this link in the National Institute on Aging.

How Does Your Work Leave You Feeling At the End of The Day?

This October 2022 article from Fast Company explores the topic “How To Find A Job That Energizes You Rather Than Drains You”. The author shares that while many people are in situations where they may not have the luxury of being particular about what job they have, if you are fortunate enough to have flexibility in your career path, you should seek tasks in your job that fill you with energy. He goes on to state that finding that energy might not require a radical change, like quitting your job. Instead, it might simply involve a conversation with a manager about ways to change up tasks and projects – or you could look outside your full time job for an activity or side gig that excites you. 

Being Yourself

In this article from Inc., four separate successful women (Oprah Winfrey, Melinda Gates, Dolly Parton, and Suneera Madhani) all share that their most important piece of advice for being successful was to be yourself. According to the piece, “Giving yourself a surface polish can pay off. But faking it when it comes to core aspects of your personality and background is exhausting and distracting. You’ll never have the energy to make it to the top if you’re frittering it away pretending to be someone you’re not”