Black Enterprise


Mega-superstar and philanthropist Beyonce has made an additional donation earmarked for Black-owned small businesses to the tune of $1 million according to Billboard.

Beyonce announced, through her BeyGOOD foundation this past Wednesday (Sept. 2), that she is partnering with the NAACP by donating $1 million in additional funds to help Black-owned small businesses. This is round 2 of the funding that both organizations started in July.

“Proud to announce $1M in additional funds from Beyoncé to help Black-owned small businesses. Round two of funding opens this month, with our partner NAACP.”

Back in July, The NAACP had announced on its website that it will be distributing a number of grants valued at $10,000 grants to Black-owned small businesses in Houston, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis that have been impacted by the COVID-19 health crisis.

“Over the last couple of months, the pandemic and outpours for justice throughout the Black community and across the country has been felt in every imaginable area of our lives, including in how our local businesses continue to operate,” said the organization in a press release.“The challenges of Black business owners navigating in the climate cannot be understated, as the effects of uprisings across the nation have led to many businesses being placed in dire straits due to damages and other small business needs.”

Earlier this year, the singer released her a surprise single, “Black Parade” on Juneteenth. Along with the release of the single, she launched an initiative that supports Black-owned businesses. The talented artist and philanthropist had listed a directory of Black-owned businesses that was created and curated by @ZerinaAkers with @black.owned.everything on her website. The site lists several hundred Black-owned companies.

Amazon just acquired Zoox, a self-driving startup company, run by Black female CEO Aicha Evans, for $1.2 Billion, Black Enterprise reports.

Zoox is the maker of self-driving vehicles built for purpose that also happen to be eco-friendly. Since 2014, the company has been testing these autonomous vehicles in Las Vegas and San Francisco, with most referring to them as a “robotaxi” service. For the last two years , Evans has been at the helm, working as CEO to help the company expand. Now, Amazon, a longstanding investor in various self-driving startups, has acquired the company for over $1 billion. 

“This acquisition solidifies Zoox’s impact on the autonomous driving industry. We have made great strides with our purpose-built approach to safe, autonomous mobility, and our exceptionally talented team working every day to realize that vision. We now have an even greater opportunity to realize a fully autonomous future,” Evans said. 

The online retail giant plans to use the technology to tackle last-mile deliveries, officially automating ground delivery and revolutionizing the industry. Chief Safety Innovation Officer at Zoox, Mark Rosekind, spoke about the possibilities of the partnership, saying, “We now have an even greater opportunity to realize a fully autonomous future. We’re going to start seeing [in] three to five years where people start actually deploying in cities, but it’s going to be 20 to 30 years before you start seeing this all over the place.” 

Evans will help spearhead the initiative, continuing to lead in her current role as CEO. 

Congratulations Aicha!

Funkola is the Co-founder and CEO at DIYlaw – a legal technology company committed to empowering Nigerian entrepreneurs through the provision of accessible and affordable legal services and free legal and business resources, Funkola is also the Corporate-Commercial and Intellectual Property lead at The Longe Practice LP (TLP), an entrepreneur focused law practice. Funkola is able to identify with her clients having been involved in various entrepreneurial pursuits, including founding a grocery e-commerce business.

She has a background in commercial & corporate law firm practice with years of in-house counsel experience in investment banking. Funkola’s legal experience prior to founding TLP and DIYlaw cuts across capital markets, investment advisory, compliance and securities.

Funkola has a Masters in Finance and Financial Law from the School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London in addition to her LLB from the Lagos State University and BL from the Nigerian Law School.

In 2018, Funkola represented DIYLaw and Nigeria at Pitch@Palace Commonwealth which took place during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London. She pitched to an audience which included Prince Andrew, The Duke of York and various Heads of Government of Commonwealth countries and emerged one of the winners.

In May 2019, she led the DIYLaw team to the United Nations and presented and exhibited at several different forums during the Science, Technology and Innovation Forum. She is an Obama Leader, having been chosen as a 2019 Obama Africa Leader and also an Innovating Justice Fellow of The Hague Institute for the Innovation of Law (HiiL). In her words “Entrepreneurship is the most sustainable solution to unemployment”

She shares her inspiring story and some legal nuggets with me in this interview

Growing Up

I grew up with my 2 sisters in a family where both our parents are entrepreneurs. Transitioning from secondary school to university and during university holidays, we had to work for my parents. That was the only guarantee to getting a flight ticket for summer holidays.

This taught us discipline and the value of hard work and I will also say that it exposed me to entrepreneurship. I guess it’s not surprising that my sisters and I have various entrepreneurial pursuits.

Inspiration  behind DIY Law

Our vibrant and hardworking youth demography in Nigeria is our biggest inspiration at DIYLaw. Things have really shifted and the youth are breaking away from parent-pleasing that makes them unhappy. We now see a lot of professionals who are in sports, entertainment, hospitality and are generally following their dreams. Even a lot of people with 9 to 5 jobs have “side-hustles”, vlogs, tech companies, you name it.

These are the people who need accessible and affordable legal services; they are constantly on-the-go building the next big thing and can’t be bugged down with complexities.

Why I am focusing on Entrepreneurs

My co-founder (Odun) and I realized in 2014 that the sector was underserved and that was really all we needed to quit our day jobs and start a law firm focused on entrepreneurs. Prior to that, we were both informally advising entrepreneurs in our circles like our family and friends and we had seen all kinds of missteps, bad decisions and lost opportunities because entrepreneurs didn’t have their legal affairs in order.

Knowing the contributions of entrepreneurs to job creation and the economy, it would have been a disservice to do nothing and so I have now made it my life’s mission.

Being an Obama fellow with ties to other notable Organizations

Being recognized by these various organisations validate the work that we do. Beyond money, it’s the fuel that I need to keep moving. Knowing that someone somewhere values the work that we do and believes in the changes that we are trying to spark, helps me keep head above water on the not-so-good days.

Also, some people don’t take you seriously enough until they realize that someone else or a notable organization does. I am grateful for these coattails I have been able to ride; they have opened some doors and given us access to other opportunities.

Women who Inspire me

There are too many women who inspire me. If I had to mention just one, it will be my mother – Oluyemisi Ani; even though she is 65, she still works extra hard. She is never satisfied with yesterday’s achievement; she sets new challenges for herself everytime and she just goes for it.

If I had to mention more though 😊, it will be Serena Williams for her determination and rising above her challenges with going back to work and giving her best after having a baby; Michelle Obama for everything that she stands for and Sara Blakely for being a constant reminder that being dogged, knocking on every door and having fun yields good results.

Nigerians and appreciation of female lawyers

I honestly don’t think we are treated any differently from our male counterparts. Law is such a prestigious profession and I think we are all accorded the level of respect we deserve whether male or female. I haven’t ever walked into a meeting or a courtroom and been silenced because I am female.

I think being female is a gift that all women should try to take advantage of. My co-founders and I never hesitate to tell people that we are “an all-female founded” tech company and we get people ooh-ing and aah-ing and showing more interest when we use that line.

That being said, I won’t deny that generally there is workplace harassment and that there are small-minded people who don’t take women seriously or show them respect.


I can’t think of any. Just like I think that we get our due like our male colleagues, I think we equally face the same challenges but I can only speak from my own experiences and I won’t say that as a matter of fact.

On giving up

Too many times; it is really difficult being an entrepreneur.

The number of “no-s” that I have received, shut doors, emails that begin with “unfortunately…”, “we are sorry to inform you…” make me want to just pull the curtains and say “show is over”. Having a great support system such as co-founders who remind you why you are on the journey, family who let you cry on their shoulders and care about your welfare and employees who step up on your off days, keep me going.

There are too many things that make running a business very challenging in Nigeria, like epileptic internet service and stand-still traffic. Those little things that distract us from our focus also have the tendency to make us want to throw in the towel.

Being a woman of Rubies

I honestly don’t know what makes me one. I just strive daily to be an excellent leader, excellent co-worker, excellent wife, excellent mother, excellent daughter, excellent sister, excellent aunt and excellent friend. If I fail at any of it, it wouldn’t be from not trying.

Advice for Entrepreneurs, from a legal perspective                       

Getting it right from the beginning is very important. Put your books in order, file your tax returns, honor your agreements. Don’t wait until your big break is around the corner before you start scampering to do the right thing. The cost of non-compliance is more expensive than complying.


Gabrielle “Gabby” Goodwin and her mother Rozalynn Goodwin are the creators of the first patented double-face, double-snap barrette also known as GaBBY Bows. The 12-year-old CEO, girl boss, and 2018 BLACK ENTERPRISE Teenpreneur of the Year is an A-student who is just as passionate about giving back as she is about being a boss. That is why she and her mother recently launched the Mommy and Me Entrepreneurship Academy which gives parents and their children the opportunity to work collaboratively towards entrepreneurship through microfranchising the GaBBY Bows business.

The idea of being able to share the gift of entrepreneurship with other kids came to Gabby as she was volunteering at a local children’s shelter. Many of the girls we’re impressed with her CEO status and the fact she was a business owner.

“Everyone talks about how I’m so amazing. I want them to know that they can do similar things as me—and know that anything is possible,” says Gabby.

So she began to let them in on her secrets to success.

“Gabby shared about entrepreneurship with these girls and gave them ideas to help them think bigger and give them some hope,” says Rozalynn.

girl boss

Gabrielle and Rozalynn Goodwin (Courtesy: GaBBY Bows)


After a year of hoping and wishing she could do something to help others Rozalynn stumbled upon a micro-franchising workshop at a work event.

After a year of hoping and wishing she could do something to help others Rozalynn stumbled upon a micro-franchising workshop at a work event.

Related: Meet Nancy Abu-Bonsrah, The First Black Female Neurosurgery Resident To Be Accepted Into John Hopkins

“A young man was talking about micro-franchising and empowering communities and underserved communities. And honestly, something just kind of grabbed me. We had already been having these conversations about how to get these girls involved and I had never heard of the concept before so I researched it.”

By definition, microfranchising is a business model that applies traditional franchising to very small businesses.

To her surprise, Gabby had learned about the concept through her research project on Madam C. J. Walker during Women’s History Month.

“Gabby shared with me about how Madam C.J. Walker had set up these directors and all of these black women were selling the products,” says Rozalynn.

From there, they continued to do research on microfranchising and created a business model that would allow parents and their children to take part in the business. And they formed the academy which offers business training, mentorship, and community to those who chose to participate. Of course the product which is packaged in a GaBBY Girls Boss starter kit includes 25 GaBBY Bows, name badges, branded t-shirts, and a letter from Gabby herself explaining the program and all of its perks.

With the buy-in price at $99, Girl Bosses can make their investment back relatively fast with the bows selling at $5 a pack or 3 packs for $10.

girl boss

Gabby exhibiting at the Black Expo (Courtesy: GaBBY Bows)

“They will be able to sell physical packs and receive an affiliate link unique to them that they will be able to share. And if it results in a sale, they’ll get 25 percent of that sale. They don’t have to fulfil any orders or touch the bows—but we wanted to give them more than one way to make money,” says Rozalynn.


In addition to being exposed to vending opportunities, there will also be leadership training so that girls can be prepared for public speaking — and learn more about budgeting; marketing; and saving as they prepare for their futures.

Gabby will even be hosting her first webinar, “Big Courage: 6 Ways I Went from Being a Shy Kid to a Kid CEO” to help Girl Bosses shy away from being timid.

Beyond the business of fostering entrepreneurship in young girls, both Gabby and her mother want to help boost confidence and help them plan for their future.

“I think that this academy is going to boost a lot of girl’s confidence because when I started Gabby bows I wasn’t that confident, I was pretty shy and now that entrepreneurship has boosted my confidence I think that it will boost their confidence as well,” says Gabby.

To date, there are 28 parents/guardians and girls enrolled in the academy. And Rozalynn is proud to share that some of the participants have already begun to make returns on the investment.

“We have one girl who has already been selling GaBBY Bows. And when we announced that she was a Girl Boss, people immediately started reaching out to her wanting to buy from her. Her mother had extra bows that she was going to give out as Christmas gifts but then she said she had to sell them. The mother has a picture of her daughter making a deposit at the bank and it’s adorable. And she’s four!”

girl boss

A GaBBY Girl Boss making a deposit at the bank (Courtesy: GaBBY Bows)

Source: Black Enterprise