Serena Williams is doing her part to help Black female business owners get their companies off the ground.
On Friday, March 22, the tennis star posted an Instagram message to say that she’ll be giving seed money to women of color who are in the early stage of their businesses, and she’s partnered with Whitney Wolfe Herd, who founded the dating app Bumble, to make it happen.
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Things I won’t stop talking about: investing in women. Now through March 27th, @Bumble Fund applicants will get an opportunity to pitch their idea to me and @Whitney. We’re working together to build a bigger, more equitable table. If you’re a woman entrepreneur of color, apply through the app.
“Things I won’t stop talking about: investing in women,” wrote Williams. “Now through March 27th, @Bumble Fund applicants will get an opportunity to pitch their idea to me and @Whitney. We’re working together to build a bigger, more equitable table. If you’re a woman entrepreneur of color, apply through the app.”
Those chosen will receive a check for between $25,000 and $50,000, but that amount could change depending on the need of the business. Williams and Herd are also looking for businesses that solve a problem that affect women in large numbers compared to men.
According to The Bumble Fund website, female-run businesses only get 2 percent of venture capital, which is something both women are trying to improve, and they were praised for it.
“This is awesome, and so are YOU! You just gave me another reason to love you Thank you for investing in others and inspiring us all,” one person wrote on Instagram.
“Always doing something Amazing @serenawilliams and inspiration to many ,” wrote another.
But there were also some who thought the opportunity should extended to all women, not just women of color, and they called Williams racist.
“If this was a white women she would now be getting lambasted for being racist,” someone commented.
But there were plenty of people who stuck up for the mother of one and said her detractors are the real racists.
“This ignorant people talking about how this is racist, questioning why is this excluding white women, etc,” someone wrote. “She is not even excluding anyone. She is talking to WOC, encouraging this particular group of women to take this opportunity and apply since she knows there are limited opportunities. What would you say to a man who says this is sexist for not including men?”
You can apply for the funds here, which has to be done by March 27.