Pedestal Professionals is a weekly spotlight series on our blog that highlights Black women entrepreneurs who are forging new paths in their respective fields.
Meet this week’s Pedestal Professional, Erica Clark, Author and Founder/CEO of Black Owned Businesses, LLC. Erica is from North Carolina and has made it her mission to uplift any and all Black-owned businesses. Through her social media platforms, she has created a nurturing community of economic empowerment and support. We had a chance to chat with Erica to learn more about her!
Tell us a bit about yourself and Black Owned Businesses, LLC.
The Who, What and Why of Black Owned Businesses, LLC. (isupportbobs)
Have you ever accomplished a goal and your friends, family and/or associates didn’t hold up their end of the bargain by providing support? Have any of you ever experienced unjust behavior in the workplace due to the texture of your hair or the color of your skin? Or did you ever feel helpless when there was a rise in homicides by law enforcement within the African American community? I, Erica Clark can attest to each one of these scenarios. This is how I came up with a valuable solution that would benefit the unsupported, the unjust and the feelings of helplessness within the community by launching Black Owned Businesses, LLC.
Three years ago, when I published my first book I realized my number of supporters had lessened by the time my idea had reached reality. I also noticed I was focused on the wrong things such as who thought my accomplishments were mediocre, who didn’t support me and who didn’t believe in me. When ultimately, I didn’t support and believe in myself.
Shortly after releasing my book, I relocated to Massachusetts where I first encountered unjust behavior within the workplace. I had gotten denied a 2nd job interview after the refusal of cutting off my dreadlocks. This was an eye-opening experience for me because I had never been exposed to anything so discriminatory in my 25 years of life. Also, during this time police brutality within the African American community was at an all-time high which brought forth many mixed feelings. Feelings of helplessness, inadequacy, and a sense of rage.
Despite the adversities that had taken place that year I knew I couldn’t just be quiet anymore. I knew I couldn’t just sit down anymore. So, I concluded that it would be feasible to create a movement that would address my personal experience as well as address current events that effects the African American community on a day to day basis.
I decided to launch Black Owned Businesses, LLC. which is a platform that will provide support to the unsupported, bring awareness to Black-owned businesses, and encourage established as well as aspiring entrepreneurs to become their own boss and expand their brand. This will hopefully lessen the chance of getting denied employment due to the criteria of an unjust system. In theory, Black Owned Businesses, LLC will reduce or stop crime within the African American race by bridging the gap of negative stereotypes with positive stereotypes.
I plan to bring the African American community together by uplifting, empowering, and encouraging Black Owned Businesses one city, one state and one day at a time.
How did you get started?
Long story short, a tragic event had happened in my life and I needed a positive outlet to protect & save myself. In that very moment, I ordered my first batch of shirts, launched my IG page, filed my business as an LLC & took off from there. The feedback and support I was receiving in a short amount of time was beautiful and motivated me to keep going.
Tell us about your educational journey.
I received my high school diploma from Clayton High School (CHS). After taking a break for a year, I ended up attending Saint Augustine’s University in 2009 & went on to receive my Bachelor’s degree in Sociology in 2013. I am now pursuing my Master’s in Computer Science with a concentration in Cyber Security at North Carolina A&T State University. Not only am I a Black Entrepreneur but I’m a Black Woman in IT. Black Girls Rock!
What’s the most rewarding part of entrepreneurship?
The most rewarding part of entrepreneurship is knowing that someone out there believes, supports, and trusts in something that I’ve created. Something that I’ve invested my blood, sweat, and tears into.
In your opinion, what is unique about being a professional Black Woman?
The most unique thing about being a professional Black Woman is being able to set the bar for myself, other professional Black women, and future Black women.
What’s your business mantra?
“Bringing the African American community together by uplifting, empowering and encouraging Black-Owned Businesses. One city, one state and one day at a time.”
What’s one piece of advice you would give to aspiring Black women entrepreneurs and writers?
Hey you. Yes, you! Your dreams are waiting on the passenger side for you. Drive your dreams to reality. Drive your dreams to success. No excuses. Even if you have a push start car, simply push the start button. I’m giving you the green light today. Ready. Set. Go!
How can the Pedestal Project readers learn more about you and Black Owned Businesses, LLC?
Follow us on Instagram and facebook @isupportbobs. Follow us on twitter @isupportbob. And stay tuned to my website launch date to get the full scoop.
If you, or someone you know, would like to be featured in Pedestal Professionals, please complete the form in the “Connect” section or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.