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Zanade Mann


Zanade Mann is the founder of Black Women's Business Collective, a crowdsourced database of Black women-owned businesses that provides access to funding, training, and community support.

After witnessing how many of her entrepreneurial friends were struggling and how the media started highlighting Black owned businesses, Zanade decided to create a free database for Black and Afro-Latinx women. This way, the database could be used by the wave of new consumers looking for Black owned products and services.

Zanade used her more than 15 years of marketing and social media experience to make sure her idea was viable. Now, the Black Women's Business Collective is a crowdsourcing initiative created to provide access and resources to Black and Afro-Latina business owners in the U.S.

We had the honor of connecting with Zanade and talking about her new venture:

What first sparked the idea to start the Black Women's Business Collective?

ZM: To keep it real, a lot of my friends were furloughed, fired, and frustrated! My entrepreneur friends were becoming desperate and considering giving up on their businesses that they worked so hard to build. I couldn't let that happen. As the media began highlighting Black owned businesses I knew it was time to act. I decided to create a free database for Black and Afro-Latinx women to submit their businesses in order to be recognized by the wave of new consumers looking for Black owned products and services.

What were some of the first steps you took when starting it?

ZM: Some of the first steps I took was marketing. It's natural for me to consider if a business is viable first before I invest the capital I have. I created a Google Form to collect names, emails, and business information from the business owners. I then created one Instagram ad for $30 using a simple graphic made in Canva to spread the word. I stayed up day and night responding to DM's, emails, and questions about the database without even having the backend created. I have over 15 years in marketing and social media expertise so I know how to get news buzzing. Almost immediately the Google Form started to fill up, and 30 days later I secured over 2500 businesses to the database.

The beautiful Black Women's Business Collective website.

What were some of the first obstacles you had to overcome?

ZM: The first obstacles I had to overcome was being a perfectionist. I am typically not one, but I was entering a tech space that I had not been prepared for. I had to convince myself day and night that I was worthy of being in the tech space even if that meant that I was self-taught. Another obstacle I had to overcome was being a Jane of All Trades! I forced myself to trust those who I had delegated tasks to because there was no way I could lead this company and create all of the moving parts on my own. So, I trusted the process and knew that it was ok to share my business concept with experts who can help move it along. Overall, I learned to be bold and enter any space I want even without an invitation, and to trust the people I hire.

How do you want the Black Women's Business Collective to evolve?

ZM: I see the Black Women's Business Collective evolving in three ways, first, with the launch of the Black Growth Academy a space for entrepreneurs to learn business development and marketing skills, I hope to eradicate the barriers Black people face when trying to scale their businesses, secondly, I see our philanthropic division The Phoenix Fund as the incubator for women to hone in on their business ideas without the financial barriers that often impede their advancement. To date we have raised over $10k and funded a dozen businesses. And, lastly, I see the collective expanding globally into a commerce platform that not only can consumers locate Black women owned businesses, but purchase directly from the database. Trust me, my vision is clear.


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