BOSS Impact Funds Gives Black Women Entrepreneurs Access To Capital

Dr. Cameka Smith is the CEO and Founder of The BOSS Network. PHOTOS PROVIDED BY THE BOSS NETWORK.
Dr. Cameka Smith is the CEO and Founder of The BOSS Network. PHOTOS PROVIDED BY THE BOSS NETWORK.

BOSS Impact Funds Gives Black Women Entrepreneurs Access To Capital

By Tia Carol Jones

The BOSS Network and Sage partnered to offer twenty-five Black women entrepreneurs $10,000 grants, out of the twenty-five there are five Chicago area women who received the Invest in Progress Grant.

The BOSS Network was founded by Dr. Cameka Smith 15 years ago to provide opportunities for Black women entrepreneurs. Smith was a startup founder and wanted to get support and learn how to be a successful entrepreneur. Talking to other successful entrepreneurs really helped her on her journey. She wanted to share it with other women and support them on their journey to success.

The BOSS Network provides training programs, workshops and conferences geared toward startups and providing all of the tools entrepreneurs need to be successful. During COVID-19, when small businesses were struggling to keep their doors open, Smith decided to launch the BOSS Impact Fund. The BOSS Impact Fund gave Black women entrepreneurs access to capital for their small businesses. Sage was the first investor for the fund, with $1.5 million.

This is the third year with the Invest in Progress Grant. The recipients are small business owners in their first five years of business with a financial need. The first year, the grant received more than 12,000 applications and last year, 18,000 applications were received.

Lakeysha Love is the owner of Sugar Head in Hazel Crest, Ill. Love is looking to expand the business. Sugar Head receives lots of requests to participate in events. The grant money will help to purchase a food trailer so they can pull up at events and launch a website. Not only will the funding help the business, but Love wants to invest in the community by providing employment opportunities to local people to work on the food trailer.

LaToya Moore is the owner of A Write to Live in Orland Hills, Ill. Moore, who is a writer and an author, will use the funds to purchase supplies to do digital and video content and give back to the community by providing high school students with a creative writing outlet.

“With the BOSS Impact Fund, one of the things Sage was really interested in was businesses that had a social impact. We have businesses that are really doing things that help the community, which helps to spread what we’re doing in a bigger way,” Smith said.

Smith wants to support businesses that are supporting the community to deepen the impact of those businesses and the BOSS Network. For Black entrepreneurs who want to start their own business, seeing businesses that are successful can serve as inspiration. The reach can impact thousands if not millions within the Black community.

To date, the BOSS Impact Fund has invested in about 100 women since the grant program began. Other Chicago area grant recipients include Deida Massey, owner of Bixa Beauty, in Chicago; Neihla Ollie, owner of Homegirl’s Hummus, in Chicago; and Jada Samuels, owner of Jada Juice, in Aurora.

The BOSS Network launched Pathways to Success, which gives 150 women training to help them succeed as entrepreneurs. Smith is proud of what her team has done and will continue to do for Black women entrepreneurs.

For more information about the BOSS Network BOSS Impact Fund, visit www.bossimpactfund.com, For more information about the BOSS Network, visit www.bossnetwork.org.

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