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Black Female Founders Face Constant Rejection. They're Thriving Anyway.

Despite the lack of funding, black women are the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs today. Here's why.

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This story appears in the April 2019 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Most women under the age of, say, 45 dread a particular time of the month. (Fellas, stay with me.) So, Arion Long, an African American millennial out of the Washington, D.C., area, came up with the Femly Box, a way to make the monthly menstrual routine less burdensome and more like a gift. Her ultimate PMS kit includes a supply of organic, all-cotton feminine products, along with wholesome wellness treats, like shea butter, herbal tea, and organic chocolates. For about $30 a month, it comes in a pretty package that gets delivered right to a woman’s door, just in time for her cycle.

Sebastien Thibault

When Long, a former health plan communications specialist, launched her business in 2015, she had only one problem: getting funding from investors. “Let’s face it,” she says. “I was talking to middle-aged white men. They didn’t know the product or use the product. And they didn’t care. I’m a brown-faced, five-foot-one-inch young woman, who wasn’t taken seriously. I had done my research and was ready. But young white men -- some of whom had simply jotted down an idea on a beverage napkin -- got the nod.” Long was hoping to snag a modest $10,000 to $75,000 investment. Everyone she talked to said no.

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