Carla Harris, thought leader, author, and all-around business badass, had a clear message for women business owners about succeeding in the current environment at this year’s Roadmap to Billions conference produced by Black Women Talk Tech.
“Let me tell you why you should not be worried. It’s true that we’re seeing record inflation. But anytime that we go into these kinds of economic cycles, the thing that you never hear anybody talk about is when we come out of these valleys, we reach new highs,” the senior client advisor at Morgan Stanley said.
Harris ran through the downturns and recessions since 1987, assuring everyone that “at the end of the day, the market came out much higher, far more robust. People were making investments left and right.”
And that, she said, makes this an opportune time for women entrepreneurs who have managed their cash well.
“When you’re in these kinds of times and you have cash, cash is in fact queen. If your business is doing well, you should be thinking about buying the competition, because somebody’s not going to make it through this,” she said. “If you have a competitor that is not doing well, you should think about absorbing that business or, more importantly, buying their talent.”
But you have to be willing to take the risk.
“When I was chairing the National Women’s Business Council, the thing that I saw that constrains women’s businesses is that they didn’t take risks during these times.”
Harris’s empowering message came during the opening keynote of Roadmap to Billions, the 6th annual conference from Black Women Talk Tech. It was back in person this year, post-pandemic, as well as accessible virtually.
“There is a need to connect. There is a need to continue to get the bag. There is a need to continue to learn, grow, and build a sustainable, scalable business that you own,” said Black Women Talk Tech Co-founder Regina Gwynn.
“We do believe that generational wealth can be created through entrepreneurship, and we choose the technology industry as a way to leapfrog centuries of discrimination,” Gwynn continued.
The three-day event is the only annual tech conference created exclusively by Black women founders for Black women founders. This year it featured four distinct content tracks: Culture + Marketing, Finance + Operations, Leadership, and Product + Technology. It also offered a crypto corner, beauty and wellness lounges, and a female founders only Pajama Jammy Jam.
“Our mission is to help Black women build the next billion-dollar tech business,” said Black Women Talk Tech Co-founder Esosa Ighodaro Johnson.
“We really want to design an opportunity in this space for you to get all the resources you need to level up your business—get to that first dollar, get to that first million, get to this next 10 million,” Ighodaro Johnson continued, “from the investors that you need to connect with, from the people you need to hire, to the relationships or corporate sponsors who can potentially support and partner with you.”
Up next, Black Women Talk Tech is partnering with Black Men Talk Tech on the Unicorn Ambition Conference, October 20-21 in Miami, to provide resources to Black tech founders who are “building innovative companies and focused on massive growth, or becoming the next ‘unicorn.'” Then in November, they’re headed across the pond for Roadmap to Billions UK.