2018 Essence Festival Presented By Coca-Cola – Ernest N. Morial Convention Center – Day 1
NEW ORLEANS, LA – JULY 06: Monique Greenwood, Queen Latifah and ESSENCE Ventures CEO, Richelieu Dennis attend the 2018 Essence Festival presented by Coca-Cola at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on July 6, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Essence)
Making big moves is in Shea Moisture Co-Founder Richelieu Dennis’ DNA. After acquiring ESSENCE Communications Inc. from Time Inc. in a deal that reestablishes ESSENCE as a 100 percent Black-owned independent company, the enterprising entrepreneur and philanthropist made a big announcement at the 2018 ESSENCE Festival in New Orleans.
The ESSENCE Ventures CEO announced the creation of the New Voices Fund – a $100 million fund to support Black women-owned businesses. Dennis said it is “amazing that we now get to have these conversations openly about the challenges of being a black entrepreneur and more specifically about being a black woman entrepreneur as well as the solutions.”
“One of the things that we have done from a solution perspective is we’ve taken the Shea Moisture brand and we’ve leveraged that brand in order to create capital that we can then invest back into black businesses and in particular black women-owned businesses and that fund is called the New Voices Fund. We officially launched it yesterday and it is a $100 million dollar fund to invest in black women-owned businesses,” said Dennis.
The New Voices Fund provides access, capital and expertise to black women-owned businesses, targeting start-ups, existing businesses and community-based enterprises owned and lead by black women.
During the Festival, Dennis also announced that Queen Latifah’s production company, Flavor Unit Entertainment will be the first partner of The Essence Fund for Makers and Creators. The Fund provides women of color with access to capital to own the content they create and “not just be work for hire,” shared Dennis.
The goal for Richelieu Dennis is simple, “taking care of and investing back in the community.” Black women-owned business and women entrepreneurs color can submit an application to the Fund by visiting www.NewVoicesFund.com.
Shea Moisture co-founder announces $100 Million New Voices Fund at 2018 ESSENCE Fest