Over the course of Tanya T. Morris’ career as an entrepreneur, she has experienced all sorts of peaks and valleys; with her organization Mom Your Business she now teaches “mom-preneurs” the biggest lesson she learned from it all: “There’s no failure, you learn, or you grow.”
Mom Your Business is a nonprofit organization founded by Morris that specializes in aiding Black and brown women by connecting them to “resources and opportunities that lead to success in business and in life through education, mentorship and access to capital.”
She said her group hopes to address the unique challenges “female entrepreneurs face as parents, business owners, community leaders, and the plethora of roles women play every day in order to achieve success.”
Founded in 2017, the organization’s focal program is the “Founders to Funders Cultivating Female Startups Business Accelerator,” an accelerator hub for Black and brown female entrepreneurs with pre-seed and seed stage businesses that connects them with “community development financial institutions (CDFIs) angel investors, venture capitalist, crowdfunding and pitch competitions.”
According to Morris, the initial seeds for the organization were planted when she hosted a Mother’s Day event in 2017 that involved bringing a group of female entrepreneurs together to socialize and network. Following the event’s success, a friend of Morris’ urged her to consider putting together an organization that would build on the principles of empowerment and collaboration that powered the get-together.
“So Mother’s Day weekend 2017, we hosted an event. We had an all-girl band, we watched a film called “Dream Girl” and (hosted) vendors. Afterwards, a friend of mine was like, “I think this is more than that. I think you need to really think about what it is.’ (So) we put together a brainstorming session, and that’s how we began to move forward with what the organization was going to look like, which was to support at that time, ‘mom-preneurs’ by connecting them the resources and opportunities that lead to success in business and in life.”
Morris said that after the idea of starting an organization to help mentor and guide female entrepreneurs became her goal, she tapped into her own experiences and frustrations as an entrepreneur and saw that Philadelphia had a void she could help fill.
“I sat back (and) thought about … what this could look like and what we could provide. (I saw) there was a huge void in this region specifically for Black women entrepreneurs. So it really (grew) out of not only my own frustration as an entrepreneur, but also from the frustrations that we saw other women having as far as not getting capital. Black women are the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs, yet the least funded; (often) not being able to grow their businesses, looking for resources and not feeling supported in the work that they were doing and growing their business. So those are the things that led us to put together something that could really fill that void and service all of those needs.”
In building an organization that could help fill this void, Morris said she emphasized the need for a model that would support female entrepreneurs at all stages of their business cycles.
“Ultimately, entrepreneurship is about job creation. Studies show that when Black women are successful, the economy is better. … So when we are blending work and family and a career in a business, when those things are working, it makes our communities better. So ultimately, we want to have an impact that allows women who desire it to move out of whatever state they are in their business.”
“If they want to be able to come full time in that business, we want to be able to support them in being able to make that transition. If they want to keep a business and they love their job and want to be able to have that business as a side thing, we want to be able to support them in doing that. But then if they are full time in business already and they want to become the next Rihanna, we want to help them to be able to do that too. So those are the pillars that we want to try to help to move in. All of that benefits the community.”
At the end of the day, Morris said she hopes that she can give Philadelphia’s Black and brown female entrepreneurs the guidance and support they need to stay the course and believe that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel for their enterprises.
“I’ve had entrepreneurial endeavors, and I say this jokingly, (but I’ve) always ended up going back to a full-time job because it didn’t last for the year. It wasn’t sustaining, if I would put it like that. What I’ve learned is that that’s kind of part of the entrepreneurial journey. That’s the one thing that I’ve learned … was that understanding that this is all part of the entrepreneurial journey. That you could be in it, and it’s not bad. One thing I heard, and I like to say this… is that in business, there’s no failure. You learn or you grow. That is a true statement. That’s what I’ve learned. There’s no failure, you learn, or you grow.”