The other day, I saw something on my bedroom floor, bent down to pick it up and realized it was a screw. I immediately scanned the room, thinking of what it could possibly have come from. Of course, I found no solution, so the screw ended up in the junk drawer. You know, that place where you put the odds and ends you think you need to save because one day—one day!—you’ll figure out their purpose?
Today’s Woman to Watch works 100 hours a week. Something tells me she doesn’t have time to comb through her junk drawer. Let’s take her lead, shun the junk drawer and focus on what’s really important.
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: Only 11
We have featured some pretty phenomenal women, and many of them say one of the hardest parts about starting their business was getting funding. This couldn’t be more relevant than for African-American women.
According to a report spearheaded by one of our former Women to Watch, Kathryn Finney, only 11 startups founded by black women have raised more than $1 million. If you think that’s totally outrageous, you’re right. Since 1997, the number of businesses led by women who are African-American inflated 322 percent. So, clearly, there are plenty of boss ladies out there who need funding. Check out projectdiane.com to learn more.
WOMAN TO WATCH: Jewel Burks, Co-founder and CEO of Partpic
One of those 11 startups founded by an African-American woman that did receive extensive funding is Partpic, a mobile application that helps users find maintenance and repair parts, like those darn screws. Jewel Burks created the business in 2013 after a frustrating endeavor when trying to help her grandfather find a replacement part to fix his tractor. Before long, she had raised $1.5 million in funding and gathered a team of nine employees.
Jewel’s business idea would not have become so successful were it not for an obvious need. According to Partpic, incorrect parts orders can cost a company as much as a 9 percent loss in revenue. By using Partpic, all a user has to do is take a photo of the part they want to replace and Partpic’s massive database searches any company’s inventory to find it. Then, just like that, you can purchase the part. What’s super special about Jewel’s company is that it uses proprietary software, so it’s truly one-of-a-kind technology. It’s perfect for busy industrial and machinery businesses, as well as for the individual chick rebuilding her favorite classic vehicle to its former glory.
Jewel is maybe the hardest-working woman you’ll ever encounter. When she’s not spending 60 hours a week running Partpic, Jewel clocks another 40 hours a week as Google’s entrepreneur-in-residence for diversity markets, a gig that grew from her initial experience as a summer intern at Google while in college. Since Jewel was raised in a family of entrepreneurs and is a longtime advocate of diversity in business, it’s a job that’s close to her heart, as the whole goal is to help underserved business owners attract and engage customers using Google’s business tools.
Jewel says she makes the sacrifice to work long hours at both Partpic and Google because, first and foremost, she loves what she does. She also wants to help other entrepreneurs land their own dream jobs. As part of her role at Google, Jewel works specifically with African-American and Hispanic women who are driven to start companies, and notes that one of the most rewarding aspects is speaking to women business owners, providing advice and seeing that advice help them grow.
QUITE THE QUOTE
Jewel Burks isn’t just a role model; she’s actively engaging in propelling women forward. As Oprah Winfrey said:
“The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you’re willing to work.”
This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.