Boundaries in skilled life lead black individuals to entrepreneurship

Boundaries in skilled life lead black individuals to entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurs find it difficult to get credit and invest in the growth of their businesses

Difficulties in the corporate world, such as lack of representation and underutilization of professionals, make black people decide to open their own businesses. Prejudice, however, hinders access to credit and hinders the growth of these companies.

“You need to prove your worth at all times and that is exhausting”, says businesswoman Joyce Venâncio about professional growth in predominantly white spaces.

22 years ago, she opened Preta Pretinha, which makes cloth dolls with different skin tones and hair types. The decision came after working for years as a producer and not finding professional replacement.

Silvia Scagliarini, 58, from São Paulo, also decided to open her own business after becoming frustrated with the job market. Former project coordinator, she founded Vivmais, focused on the well-being and health of older people. “At business school, I was the only black woman with a project focused on longevity,” she says.

Entrepreneurs seek answers to everyday frustrations and the black population is no different, says Edgard Barki, coordinator of the Center for Entrepreneurship and New Business at FGV.

For him, the alternative should not be seen as a solution, because the prejudice faced in other environments remains. “People need to have the desire to undertake and not do it just to survive.”

The percentage of entrepreneurs out of necessity, in general unemployed people who offer a product or service, is large in the black population. About a third of the total (34%), according to data from Plano CDE, a research and consulting firm.

The study lists other profiles of black entrepreneurs: Of the total, 35% undertake by vocation, 22% bet on racial or social agendas and 9% fit more than one profile. The survey, carried out in 2019, heard 1,220 people across the country.

In 2021, the informality rate of the Brazilian population was 40%. The percentage was higher among blacks (43%) and browns (47%) compared to whites (32.7%), according to a study by the IBGE.

Entrepreneurs by vocation have always existed among black people, but achievements, such as the Quota Law, which increased access to university, contributed to the creation of support networks for entrepreneurs, says Daiane Almeida, leader of digital startups in the Sebrae for Startups program.

For her, despite the high value traded by blacks, investors are not interested in the consumption behavior of this public. “When the non-black talks to investors, they want to know how big the business can be. If the entrepreneur is black, the questions start with his capacity, without worrying about whether the business is promising.”

In 2021, black people consumed the equivalent of R$ 2 trillion, estimates research carried out by Instituto Locomotiva and Feira Preta.

Silvia, from Vivmais, says she designed her project in courses at Sebrae, in 2015. After having the idea, she presented the project to investors and had no response. “I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I didn’t know what kind of business”, she says.

In 2019, after research, she enrolled the company in an announcement by the Council for the Elderly. Approved, Silvia tested the business model. In 2021, after the public notice ended, she opened Vivmais with her own investment. The company’s application makes the “match” between the person’s need and the service provider, such as a therapist or nurse.

Four women manage the tool and the 150 registered professionals, who serve the capital of São Paulo and the metropolitan region. According to her, all underwent training in gerontology, a specialty dedicated to the well-being of older people. Rates are charged per hour, starting at R$120.

Creating welcoming environments for the black consumer or responding to demands ignored by the market are frequent characteristics of companies led by black people, says Barki, from FGV.

This was the case of Joyce, from Preta Pretinha. According to the businesswoman, the lack of black dolls in stores led her to open the brand. Before Preta Pretinha, Joyce and sisters Lúcia and Cristina opened a café in the west zone of São Paulo, which was closed due to lack of customers. “We made the mistake of not researching the market. After the frustration, I sought knowledge.”

She says that her grandmother made cloth dolls for her and her sisters to play with. The decision to invest in inclusive toys came from there. In addition to black dolls, the store has dolls in wheelchairs, with visual impairments, Asians and redheads, among other features.

In 2021, the store earned R$ 576 thousand. The dolls are sold online and at the store in São Paulo, in Vila Madalena, and cost from R$19.90 to R$386.

“Afro-entrepreneurship is a recent term, but people have been doing it for over 20 years”, says Barki, from FGV.

At the Ayo dental clinic, in downtown Rio de Janeiro, the Afro-Brazilian identity is everywhere, says Alexandre Severo Mendes, 34, founding partner. “There is a demand from the patient who wants to be attended by us and from the professional who seeks to be welcomed at work”, he says.

Ayo’s first appointments were made in a subleased space with the necessary equipment already in place. With the increase in the number of patients, the partners invested the profit to buy equipment and move the clinic to a larger space. This year, they expanded into medical care.

Ayo has seven dentists, five doctors, a psychologist and a nutritionist. In addition to welcoming black patients, who may come from a precarious history of access to oral health, the space aims at the safety of professionals.

Everyone is welcome, says Alexandre, but those who seek care already know that the clinic will not accept any type of racist conduct.

Source: Leaf

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