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Walker’s Legacy Carries On To Empower Women Of Color In Startups And Entrepreneurship

Washington DC Organization Is Supporting Women Of Color In Entrepreneurship, Business and Startups Nationwide


At the turn of the century in the 1900s Madam C.J. Walker created the Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company. The company offered hair care products for women of color. Walker discovered that there was nothing on the market for her own hair, thus solved a problem and discovered a market.

While the idea caught on a bit, Walker knew she was onto something. She sought the help of Booker T. Washington in the form of a $50,000 stock based investment. A progressive move in the early 1900s, even moreso as a woman of color. Washington politely declined and Walker headed to Indiana. It was there that she opened up a salon in the house she was living in. Then she started inviting friends over who were interested in selling her hair care products. This effort, by many sources, is considered one of the earliest soirees into legitimate multi-level marketing. Walker grew her sales base to over 950 women.

The success of her business venture, resulted in her being the first female black millionaire. According to the CPI inflation calculator, that $1,000,000 at that time, would equate to over $24 million dollars today.

WalkersLegacy-top Walker's Legacy Carries On To Empower Women Of Color In Startups And Entrepreneurship

That’s why Madam C.J. Walker is the namesake for the organization Natalie Madeira Cofield created in 2009. Walker’s Legacy’s mission is to inspire, equip and empower professional and enterprising women.

We spoke with Rachel Hampton who handles communications and special projects for Walker’s Legacy at the WEDC house at South By Southwest about the organization. She explained that women can join  Walker’s Legacy at any stage in the startup cycle or in the business world. After joining they’ll have access to the network of women to draw knowledge and experience from.

Walker’s Legacy also hosts events every month both webinars and in person meetups across the country. Anything and everything that would be a topic for an aspiring entrepreneur is delivered through their network and events. Topics like IT, raising money, government education and more can be found online at their website. 

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