Having Funding Isn’t Enough, Entrepreneurs of Color Need an Ecosystem of Resources
Making a difference for black-owned businesses is Kendra Bracken-Ferguson. Bracken-Ferguson’s establishment of BrainTrust, an innovative social, digital, and influencer marketing agency focused on growing brands from organic communities since 2016, recently launched BrainTrust Founders Studio. This membership-based community platform creates inclusive economic opportunities for Black Beauty and Wellness Founders, increases business performance, and builds sustainable growth and wealth creation pathways. Bracken-Ferguson joined Retail Refined’s Melissa Gonzalez to share her journey and the BrainTrust Founders Studio initiative.
Bracken-Ferguson, a black founder with a network of other black founders that she mentors and supports vice-versa, knew there needed to be a way to combine all this expertise into an ecosystem of resources, capital, investment to create the next generation of black beauty and wellness founders. And that purpose became the genesis for the BrainTrust Founders Studio.
And why is such a support system essential for young brands when some believe that funding is enough? “Even if someone gets an investment, are they set up operationally,” Bracken-Ferguson said. “Do they have the right team, the resources? Do they have a path to get there? Do they know where their business is going? Are we doing e-commerce, focused on retail, or are we focused on networks? You need all of those pillars to help make sure that not only is your business growing, but it’s sustained growth.”
Bracken-Ferguson recognized the enormous landscape of change in retail in the past couple of years, brought on by the pandemic posed new challenges and opportunities. But that also makes now such a fun time in her eyes. “On one hand, as a consumer, we’re in this place where we want it now. But on top of that, there are so many things we have to think about as marketers and brand builders. We’ve started to map out; where’s every possible place we can be, how do we want to use our products to be in those places, and what is the story we are telling.”
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