Black Entrepreneurs

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For the month of December, The Maynard Institute for Journalism Education celebrates the entrepreneurial achievements of African American innovators. The decision to focus on entrepreneurship in the African American community was triggered by the debate that ensued after TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington said that he did not know of one single black entrepreneur.

While we usually focus on members of the journalistic community, Arrington's controversial remarks reminded us that from the obscure to the obvious, many people remain unaware of the rich contributions and entrepreneurial achievements of the black community.

It is our hope that this feature will bring these achievements to light for both journalists and their audiences. Through this feature, we also hope to make a contribution to the broader debate about diversity among business leaders and to highlight the strides made by black entrepreneurs past and present.

Whether they are established figures or start-up leaders, each of these individuals strengthen the entrepreneurial tradition that the U.S. is known for.

The profiles selected are by no means an exclusive list. In addition, in the coming months, we will continue to feature the entrepreneurial achievements of people of color. We hope that you will join the conversation and suggest notable figures from your community.

Please follow this link to view our 2012 Entrepreneurs of Color feature.

Natalia Allen
December 1, 2011
Natalia Allen is a luxury fashion designer, awarded Parsons Designer of the Year, a title she shares with Marc Jacobs and Proenza Schouler.In 2005, she founded Design Futurist, a boutique consultancy, with offices in New York and London. Design... more »
December 2, 2011
Tyra Banks is an American model, media personality, actress, occasional singer, author and businesswoman. She first became famous as a model, but television appearances were her commercial breakthrough. Banks is the creator and host of the UPN/The... more »
December 3, 2011
Justin F. Beckett is the Founder and CEO of Muse Media Inc. and represents over 20 years of diverse entrepreneurial management experience.Mr. Beckett has been focused on the Internet and technology sectors for the past 10 years and between 2000 and... more »
December 4, 2011
Ursula M. Burns serves as chairwoman and CEO of Xerox. She is the first African-American woman CEO to head a Fortune 500 company. She is also the first woman to succeed another woman as head of a Fortune 500 company. In 2009, Forbes rated her the... more »
December 5, 2011
Majora Carter is president of the Majora Carter Group, a private, for-profit "green" economic consulting firm.In 2001, after successfully shifting the Giuliani administration’s plans from more municipal waste handling to positive economic... more »
December 6, 2011
Shawn Carter, better known by his stage name Jay-Z, is an American rapper, record producer, entrepreneur, and occasional actor. He is one of the most financially successful hip hop artists and entrepreneurs in America, having a net worth of over $... more »
December 7, 2011
Emma Chappell founded United Bank of Philadelphia, in 1992 after a five-year effort to raise the required five million dollars Pennsylvania regulators told her she needed to capitalize the bank. She raised three million from the black community by... more »
December 8, 2011
Kenneth Chenault is an American business executive. He has been the CEO and Chairman of American Express since 2001. He is the third African-American CEO of a Fortune 500 company.Chenault joined American Express in 1981, working in the Strategic... more »
December 9, 2011
Lauren Delisa Coleman is the founder and CEO of Punch Media Group, a new media company which grew out of a boutique agency called Punch Media. She founded Punch Media in 1994 with its core business intent to offer hip promotional, branding and... more »
December 10, 2011
Selena Cuffe is an African-American businesswoman. She is best known for co-founding Heritage Link Brands, LLC, the largest importer of black produced wine from South Africa and the African Diaspora, with her husband, Khary Cuffe.Early in her career... more »