In March of 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, James Oliver, Jr. decided to start a foundation to empower Black parents who are entrepreneurs, or ParentPreneurs, to be the best parent and entrepreneur possible. In four months, James started the ParentPreneur Foundation, received a $50,000 seed grant from renowned venture capitalist Brad Feld, and gave a total of $10,000 to ten beneficiaries.
“Black people don’t have the same resources as many of our white ParentPreneur counterparts. Many of us are first-generation college graduates, and we don’t have a relative we can call to give us money until we can get enough traction with our business. Further, we generally don’t have the social capital to execute our good ideas or even imagine what is possible,” said James Oliver, Jr., Founder of the ParentPreneur Foundation.
In addition to grants, The ParentPreneur Foundation provides resources to help ParenPreneurs grow their businesses and gives them access to products and services to help ease their parenting lifestyle; this is done via an online community that allows members to engage with like-minded Black people around the world and participate in exclusive events.
“I am glad there is a place now where I can connect with people who are really on a mission to make things happen. From a Chef’s perspective, we don’t really get recognized the way we should if we don’t own a restaurant, so I really feel honored to have received this grant.” – Nina Bryant, Founder of She Makes Delicious, a national food prep and delivery service, and grant recipient.
Oliver is uniquely positioned to start this foundation because two days before he began a tech accelerator to launch his business, WeMontage, his boy-girl twins were prematurely born and weighed only two pounds each. After completing the accelerator, James raised over $400,000 to successfully launch his removable photo wallpaper business, which has been featured on the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, and more.
Since then, Oliver has been inspiring ParentPreneurs to be their best with his book, The More You Hustle, The Luckier You Get: You CAN Be a Successful ParentPreneur, his blog, and now with the ParentPreneur Foundation. James is an award-winning writer and has been featured in Forbes, Huffington Post, Money Magazine, and on CNBC.
“Being a parent is challenging, yet rewarding. And we know 75% of all new businesses fail. When you combine having children with starting or running a business, that is a unique pressure that can be extremely hard to deal with. In some cases, the financial pressure can cause great damage to relationships and mental health; this is why the foundation will offer free therapy sessions for members of its community. Therapy is taboo with Black folks writ large, but I understand good mental health is everything. We are looking at the ParentPreneur holistically, not just trying to help her business,” said Oliver.