Legacy Comes Full Circle: MBDA and Walker’s Legacy Partner to Support Minority Women Entrepreneurs

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Post by Dijon Rolle

In 1910 Madam C.J. Walker opened her Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company in Indianapolis to manufacture her hugely successful line of hair and beauty products for African-Americans. She would go on to become the first self-made woman millionaire in the nation and a trailblazer in the minority business community. More than 100 years later, her spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation is touching a new generation of minority entrepreneurs, specifically through a partnership between the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) and the Walker’s Legacy Organization.

Inspired by the legendary life of Madam C.J. Walker, CEO and Founder Natalie Cofield created Walker’s Legacy in 2009 as “a professional collective that promotes the career advancement, skill sets and networks of women in business, and female entrepreneurs.” The organization’s core programming consists of a series of educational forums designed to inform, engage and empower women of color. Many of which, MBDA staff have supported as panelists and speakers.

This week, members of MBDA and Walker’s Legacy gathered at the Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C., to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU). This agreement enables Walker’s Legacy and MBDA to work together to provide specialized business development programs and resources, such as webinars, business consultations, and educational events specifically for minority women entrepreneurs. 

 “I am so happy that we are doing this during National Small Business Week, not to mention this year marks Madam C.J. Walker’s 150th birthday,” said Edith J. McCloud, MBDA Acting National Director. “Women of color are making substantial leaps and bounds in the business world, and we must do everything we can to nurture that growth and inspire minority women just as Madam C.J. Walker did. Our partnership with Walker’s Legacy supports MBDA’s commitment to providing fair and equal access to business development services and to producing a new generation of minority-owned firms with $100M in annual revenue to create more jobs and help grow the U.S. economy through targeted programs and services.” 

At present, Walker’s Legacy has a network of more than 20,000 professional women of color that will be able to connect with MBDA’s national network of MBDA Business Centers. This also includes MBDA’s specialty centers that focus on exporting, advanced manufacturing, federal procurement and capital.

For Walker’s Legacy Founder and CEO Natalie Cofield, signing this agreement was very personal. “As a female entrepreneur, I’ve constantly sought out mentors and opportunities to grow my business and MBDA has been an agency that I’ve worked with the past three years. We’re excited to sign this very historic MOU agreement to further advance the agenda of the fastest growing entrepreneurial segment in this Nation, which is women of color, and to develop programs that support their advancement,” Cofield said.  “I hope that Madam C.J. Walker would be proud to see her legacy as a business woman, continue to move forward.”

In addition to the MOU signing, Walker’s Legacy also held National Walker’s Legacy Day on May 4, 2017 to “celebrate and recognize the economic impact and entrepreneurial accomplishments of multicultural women to the economic sustainability of the US.”

For more information about Walker’s Legacy, visit  www.walkerslegacy.com

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Strategic Business Partnership