The GROW program at Bounce supports both aspiring and experienced entrepreneurs as they bring their ideas to life. The program focuses on minorities and women.
Monique Clark wears many hats. In addition to her full-time community health worker position at Minority Behavioral Health Center, she owns her own clothing boutique Kurvology, which focuses on serving curvier women. She’s also a MORTAR at Bounce graduate and winner of cohort 2’s Life’s a Pitch! competition.
But she can’t slow down. With her shop, Clark runs educational workshops for women and girls and puts on pageants to celebrate self-confidence in all shapes and sizes. She’s also helping to pay it forward by helping other entrepreneurs learn about business ownership.
Her resume is endless, and we had the good fortune of sitting down with her this month to pick her brain on what it means to be a Black woman entrepreneur.
Bounce: What key activities do you recommend for Black entrepreneurs and specifically Black women that you have found beneficial to your business growth?
Clark: Work on your personal development and your emotional intelligence. Read, listen to podcasts, attend workshops and more. There will be things that will make you angry about owning your business, but you must be strong and have a mindset for it. There will be days when you want to quit. Nobody’s stopping you, but did you do everything you were supposed to?
I also like to look at other successful business owners. Reach out and ask for help and have people in your life who will hold you accountable.
Bounce: What struggles did you face as a Black entrepreneur and, specifically, as a Black woman entrepreneur starting out?
Clark: Sometimes people don’t take you seriously. I remember when I first started searching for a space for my boutique, I had everything together to lease a space, and the particular company I went to didn’t take me seriously. They said they needed more from me, but every time I turned around and fixed whatever they asked for, it was another ask. So, then you ask if the space is even available because the company made me feel like they did not want to lease to me. But why? That was one instance.
Finding resources is a struggle. Sometimes I would just stumble upon a resource for a small business, but if we don’t know about them, how can we find them?
Also, if you don’t have the right structure for your business, you might be pushed out of the running for resources and help from the start. Most African Americans don’t have that structure. It might be the way they were taught to put together a business plan, but if they would have done it differently, then maybe they would have received funding.
Bounce: How have you navigated these struggles? What advice would you give to other Black and women entrepreneurs?
Clark: Make sure you have everything together – documents, plans, etc. Put together a checklist to find out everything you need to know and reach out if you have questions or need help. Also, work on your personal credit. When it comes to funding, they look at everything.
Help lift each other up. One of the reasons I got into coaching and teaching on the business side is because people need to know this information. So, for me, whatever I’m going to do or find out, you will know. For example, I got my funding. Let me show you how to get funding in any type of situation.
Teach each other. As business owners, we are stronger together than apart. It shouldn’t be a competition.
Bounce: Anything you want to add and say to Black women entrepreneurs?
Clark: You literally can do anything you put your mind to. We have a lot of women who came before us and will come after us to accomplish amazing things.
Continue to look and get the information you need to succeed. And when you do, spread that energy back out to others. I have found out when you give more, it comes back to you.
As women entrepreneurs, we got this.
Want to learn more about Kurvology? Visit the website and follow on social media to stay updated on Monique’s plans for workshops, pageants and more.
More information on MORTAR at Bounce: https://bouncehub.org/mortar/
More information on GROW: https://bouncehub.org/grow/