African Women in Business

This program is designed to facilitate and support business development among African women who live in the West Bank neighborhood of Minneapolis, Minnesota (in the United States).

African women on the West Bank face significant barriers in the start-up, development, and expansion of businesses. These barriers include their limited knowledge of (and trust in) the American banking system, (e.g., checking vs. cash/money orders, record keeping), their modest fluency in the financial aspects of operating a business in the United States, their understanding of standard employment practices, marketing to the non-African community, leases, business location, etc.

With the support of the West Bank Partnership of the Minneapolis Foundation, the Center convened a workgroup of organizations to recruit African women of the West Bank interested in increasing their literacy in finance, entrepreneurship, and business development (new and ongoing).

The specific areas of study for the African women include:

• Business and the Law
• Credit
• Financial Management
• Assets and Net Worth
• Credit reports
• Banking, Taxes and Insurance
• Marketing
• Pricing
• Record keeping and cash management
• Sales strategies
• Writing a business plan

This program also seeks to identify women who can serve as speakers and mentors and to advise as to the challenges they face and the priorities of training topics. Those with specific expertise are included among the trainers.

As more African women successfully enter the American business world they not only play a part in the economic development of their community but they also become models of success for other immigrants and expatriates and they strengthen and enrich the social and cultural fabric of their neighborhoods, thereby repaying the system and inspiring more success stories to emerge.