Sharifah Hardie created SupportMyBlackBusiness.org to help Black entrepreneurs raise funds to operate a successful business. As she mentioned in the recent discussion we had with her, it is a GoFundMe-type crowdfunding platform created to help Black-owned businesses. She further discussed with us, how she got the idea of creating such a funding platform. As many Black entrepreneurs and business owners did not receive absolutely any funding during COVID and a global pandemic, she saw the need for a way for business owners to survive and grow.
Sharifah explained how difficult it is for Black-owned businesses to get started since many successful companies are created through family legacies or family support but many Black entrepreneurs and Black business owners do not have family members with the resources or wealth to be able to assist in the creation of new businesses. Therefore she felt the need for a helping hand for Black entrepreneurs. She further mentioned the difficulties Black businesses face when they start. Black business owners face a lot of challenges including not having access to capital and lacking mentorship and the knowledge required to be successful.
She shared her experience as an entrepreneur during the interview. According to her, she started her first website in 1994. It is nice to hear how she managed her business as a Stay-at-Home mom. She has accomplished many things along the way as an entrepreneur. Sharifah was honest to mention the times she was laid off and how she managed to overcome such challenges in her life.
Later in the conversation, she shared how she spends the day as a busy person and an entrepreneur. She believes that we are all one. She believes in that if we come together to help support our Black businesses, it will be a win for all of us.
Sharifah, you created SupportMyBlackBusiness.org to help Black entrepreneurs raise funds in order to operate a successful business. Can you start off by telling us about SupportMyBlackBusiness.org and how it works?
SupportMyBlackBusiness.org is a GoFundMe type crowdfunding platform created to help Black-owned businesses.
What inspired you to create SupportMyBlackBusiness.org?
During COVID and a global pandemic I saw that many Black entrepreneurs and business owners did not receive absolutely any funding, I knew then something had to be done immediately in order for them to survive and grow. Grants and loans may take more time and there may be barriers to entry for some business owners, that they do not have with crowdfunding. Plus, it’s a real good feeling to help support someone else’s dream. To be a part of the growth and the success.
Your goal is to raise $1.5 billion. How close are you to raising your goal amount?
We are a long way from reaching that goal. That’s why we need more support and partnerships from corporations and organizations such as yours and your readers.
What has been the reception to the crowdfunding project from donators around the world?
We have received a wonderful response. People tend to love the idea, but we are in need of more support.
Sharifah, how difficult is it for Black-owned businesses to get started?
It is extremely difficult for Black businesses to get started. Many successful companies are created through family legacies or family support. Unfortunately, many Black entrepreneurs and Black business owners do not have family members with the resources or wealth to be able to assist in the creation of new businesses.
What are the barriers Black entrepreneurs have when starting a new business?
Black business owners face a lot of challenges. They may not have access to capital. They may lack mentorship and the knowledge required to be successful. When you look at business ownership, home ownership, education, generational wealth, etc, you will see that the Black community is at the bottom of these lists. Yet, when you look at incarceration rates are numbers are much higher. Something must be done to help the Black community and FAST!
Sharifah, can you tell us about your first experience as an entrepreneur?
I built my first website in 1994. I wanted to be a Stay-at-Home mom, and I knew then that the Internet was the way to go. I launched my first podcast, Ask Sharifah Radio in 2009. I became the President of the Long Beach Chapter of the Southern California Black Chamber of Commerce in 2021 and have made it my mission in life to help small businesses grow.
How did your experiences as an employee for other businesses shape your life as an entrepreneur?
I have been laid off literally 8 different times. Although being laid off was a horrible experience and ruined me financially at that time it gave me priceless experience by working for many different companies including Cheap Tickets and American Express.
You were an early adopter of the Internet. How did the Internet enable you to connect with other people to build your businesses?
The Internet allows me to reach a global audience, prior to the invention of the Internet, we would never been able to reach.
Sharifah, you wear a lot of different hats as an entrepreneur. Can you tell us how you keep your drive going?
Excellent question. I don’t always feel that I have the drive for a new project, but then I get the next call, or the next email and I must help. So often business owners and entrepreneurs feel all alone. They don’t have coworkers or they might not have anyone to turn to. Those are the people I have to help. My motto is, “Do not face the unknown alone; Ask Sharifah at AskSharifah.com”
How is a day in your life?
One word. Busy. I operate several different companies, host multiple podcasts, focus on the Southern California Black Chamber of Commerce, preparing for my Senate race in 2024 for District 33 and consult. It’s not easy, but I get it done, because it’s not about me. It’s about being of service to the people.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
Most people assume that I am very extroverted. When I am very introverted. I just have to come out of my shell to be there for everyone else.
Choose two of your favorite quotes and write them here
“When most people don’t know what to do, they have to do something. I don’t do anything, until I know what to do.” Oprah Winfrey
“Just do it!” Nike
If you had the power to change just one thing in the world, what would it be?
I would pay Reparations to all of the lineage of the slaves in America.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I believe that we are all one. If we come together to help support our Black businesses, we all win. By supporting a Black business owner with your donation, you will be making a difference in whether or not that business succeeds.
Make your donation today at https://www.SupportMyBlackBusiness.org