The multi-hyphenate Meena Harris, 31, entrepreneur, data privacy and cybersecurity attorney, co-founder of Gen44, campaign operations expert, and frequent contributor to Lena Dunham’s online publication, Lenny Letter, is inspiring entrepreneurs and boss women everywhere with her latest project, “I’m An Entrepreneur, Bitch.” The “I’m An Entrepreneur, Bitch” movement is a bold position and response to Harris’ frustration with the lack of representation of female entrepreneurs in media. While the U.S is number one in the number of women entrepreneurs, women are rarely praised as often as their male counterparts. According to evidence cited in a research study by Dr. Priyanka Sharma, a researcher of women’s studies and business,“Women business networks have also been found to be more generous in their philanthropic contributions. At least seven out of ten women entrepreneurs of a new business volunteer their time at least once per month to community-related causes. In addition, 31% of them contribute $5,000 or more to various charities annually.” Women build and give.
This statistic is further evidenced by the work of the four entrepreneurs featured here and Harris herself. Harris initially designed the now famous t-shirt in order to raise money for a different project but saw how the garment turned into an empowerment platform. She decided to keep the motivation going.
The inspiration for the witty phrase comes from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s business card which famously reads, “I’m CEO, Bitch” Harris’ campaign recently partnered with another pro-women movement, “#ILookLikeAnEngineer”, which calls attention to female engineers shifting the perception that most, if not all, engineering professionals are men.
By joining forces and aligning with “I’m An Entrepreneur, Bitch” a company’s following and supporters are exposed to powerful women with similar goals to change and inspire the world. The “I’m An Entrepreneur” team often wears or features products made by other female entrepreneurs demonstrating their support. “I’m An Entrepreneur, Bitch” is rapidly gaining traction–their instagram page @imanentrepreneurbitch currently has 34.2K followers.
A few of our favorite women founders and their companies have joined the movement proudly wearing their “I’m An Entrepreneur, Bitch” t-shirts. If there’s one thing we love more than badass women who are entrepreneurs, it’s seeing those women come together to collaborate and promote further collaboration between women. We highlight four of them below.
Sharon Yang, government and politics outreach coordinator at Facebook, art enthusiast and traveler, blogger who technically has 6 professional titles. Sharon Yang is a go-to for political campaigns. She was part of President Obama’s re-election campaign and Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign. In an 2015 interview with Capitol File Magazine, Yang states, “My entire political career has been shaped by really powerful and influential women.” Yang refuses to limit herself to only one of her passions. She works for herself as a development consultant while running her successful travel blog, on her website: SharonYang.com. She’s also known as one of the youngest powerhouse fundraisers in politics. Yang is proof that women are multi-dimensional. We can love politics, support social justice, travel well, eat interesting foods, and look and do good in the process.
Caitlin Crosby, entrepreneur, singer, songwriter, actress, and philanthropist founded The Giving Keys, a company that employs and empowers homeless people to get them on their own path. She had an an idea to re-purpose a hotel key into jewelry and it turned out to be more than she expected. One rainy day, Caitlin saw a homeless couple, Rob and Cera, holding a sign and invited them to dinner. During their conversation she learned that Cera made jewelry. With little hesitation, Caitlin asked them to be her business partners and they’ve been working together ever since. As a result of their partnership, Rob and Cera now live in a home of their own and Cera is able to utilize her talent to earn. The Giving Keys has since partnered with Chrysalis, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to “change lives through jobs.” Sounds like Caitlin has found at least one key to life.
Left: Hannah Davis, CEO of BANGS Shoes. Right: Ariel Davis of “I’m An Entrepreneur, Bitch” wearing BANGS Shoes.
Hannah Davis, CEO and founder of BANGS Shoes was inspired to create this company while teaching English in China. While there, she noticed canvas shoes that were monochromatic and was inspired to design a similar style as part of her U.S. shoe line. Davis knew that if she was going to start her own company, it would incorporate philanthropy. Bangs shoes gives 20% of net profits to a hand selected entrepreneurs to help jump start their businesses. Every month Bangs chooses entrepreneurs to invest in. The entrepreneur is given a microloan by their non-profit partner, Kiva, an organization that aims to alleviate global poverty by allowing others to contribute to loans. BANGS has reported that 99% of loans they have provided to entrepreneurs have been repaid. Repaid loans are reinvested in the next company. Since its founding in 2010, BANGS has invested in 122 businesses in 38 countries.
Blair Imani via @imanentrepreneurbitch
Blair Imani is an activist, model and founder of Equality for HER, a nonprofit organization that raises awareness for issues affecting the global femme community. Since its founding in 2014, Equality for HER (EFH) has established partnerships with organizations in the US, Puerto Rico, Nigeria, Pakistan, and England. The EFH community is “dedicated to challenging feminist ideas that only advocate for women who are white, middle-class, heteronormative, and cisgender.” Imani works as a Press Officer for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She also serves as Co-Chair of the Labor Network for the Women’s Information Network in D.C. Under EFH, Blair Imani has created a series called Femme Founders, which spotlights and features people on the femme spectrum who are founders of organizations, companies, and movements.
When women support and empower each other to pursue their goals, it’s amazing what can be accomplished. Let’s keep encouraging women to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams so they can proudly say: “I’m An Entrepreneur, Bitch.”
Feature Image: Meena Harris, Founder of “I’m An Entrepreneur, Bitch.” Image via imanentrepreneurbitch.com
Olivia Fargiano is social media and editorial intern at Tai Life Media. She is going into her senior year at Iona College and is pursuing a degree in Mass Communications with a concentration in Broadcast Media. Instagram: @oliviafargiano