CapEQ is having its 10 year anniversary this year, and I couldn’t be more proud. Only about a third of businesses make it to 10 years, and even fewer of those are Black-owned, and even fewer are run by Black women. Just over 4% of businesses owned by women make it to $1 million or more in revenue.
How did we get through these ten years? By being TENacious!
We’re celebrating our tenacity all year long and the community that helped get us to this point. We were able to survive because of our shared commitment to demand something different — we know that we can change the way the world does business, and we wouldn’t give up until we do it.
I remember back when I first started this company and I would talk about “doing well BY doing good”, and people would give me blank stares. They didn’t understand what I meant, or they dismissed me because they didn’t think that this was the way the world worked. There was no place for social impact in business. I believed differently, and I pushed ahead. I had to create what I knew was possible.
Now, 10 years later, it’s obvious that you can do well BY doing good. Social impact and conscious capitalism are everywhere within the business community. Companies left and right are trying to figure out how to implement ESG strategies and DEI initiatives. If your company isn’t incorporating social impact into its operations, you are leaving money on the table. It’s clear that your customers want you to be good, and they are willing to pay for it: Two-thirds of consumers say they prefer to buy from companies that create social impact, and nearly half say they are willing to pay more to do so.
But this wasn’t generally accepted when I started out. I’ll be honest — some parts of the past 10 years have been very lonely. There were moments where I felt as if I was doing something wrong. I bought too much into the reactions of others to my vision. I doubted my ability to follow through on my dreams.
How did I make it through? The answer is simple but also foundational to our company: A close group of friends who knew me well and gave me the support I needed. This work is so personal to me and my friends knew that. When I had a hard day, or week, or month, they were there to listen and keep me going. I knew I didn’t want to give up, so they helped me navigate the difficulties of being a small business owner and supported me as I figured out what needed to be done to keep the bills paid.
Over the last 10 years, we always worked to create something that wasn’t business as usual, because the status quo wasn’t good enough. We didn’t want to do what has always been done, because that system doesn’t always include people like me and my team. We are building equitable impact through business, and supporting other companies and investors to do the same. To do this, we have to do things differently.
How are we using the TENacious theme for the year to set us up for success for the next 10 years? We’re working with organizations to set up equitable impact strategies that change systems and reorient our way of doing business. The following are just a few ways we are still pursuing the vision I set out 10 years ago:
- Working with the Path to 15|55 to build and grow the ecosystem supporting Black businesses
- Supporting PolicyLink as they implement the lessons for the CEO Blueprint for Racial Equity within companies
- Using the impact investing metrics developed in partnership with the Global Impact Investing Network to ensure investors are applying racial equity strategies to their investments.
- Partnering with private equity firm LLR to help them design equitable impact strategies within their investment portfolio.
Follow along here for more updates all year long. I’m going to be writing a lot more and sharing my thoughts on what it takes to achieve equitable impact. If you haven’t yet, subscribe to our newsletter.
And stay tuned for a very exciting announcement: My second book will be coming out from McGraw Hill later this year! I can’t wait to share it with you.
Keep being TENacious!!