Ivy-league graduates in hoodies aren’t the only ones making major moves in Silicon Valley. Meet Angela Benton, a powerhouse of the tech boom and founder of NewME. The single mom of three daughters and startup coach has helped entrepreneurs raise more than $10 million for their companies. See her secrets to building your million-dollar enterprise.
Name: Angela Benton
Position: Founder and CEO of NewME
Location: San Francisco
Hometown: Chicago, IL
The gig: NewME is a way for entrepreneurs to transform cool ideas into great businesses with the help of mentors, investors and expert training. It is extremely satisfying to see an idea that started on paper turn into a real thriving business.
The journey: I started the site Black Web 2.0 in 2007, which covered the technology industry from an African American perspective. It was where I discovered my passion for technology, entrepreneurship and seeing people like me succeed. People constantly told me that I would hit a glass ceiling, but I had a gut feeling that this was something that had no limits.
Entrepreneur 101: Learn everything you can about your industry. It’s up to the CEO to prepare for possible roadblocks. Also, find people with experience running a similar business and ask them for advice. Having a few of these relationships can significantly reduce how long it might take an entrepreneur to get to the next level.
Confessions of a Black woman in Silicon Valley: In my industry there just aren’t a lot of Black women period. So my biggest challenge is self-imposed: believing that I can achieve what I want to achieve even though there aren’t many examples. I do that not just for myself, but also for those we work with.
Her biggest lesson learned: The mistake that I learned the most from was caring what people thought about me and my business. I spent a year talking to investors and other impressive people in Silicon Valley when I initially moved. I’m appreciative of that experience but at the end of the day it distracted me from what I knew to be true. I eventually stopped asking for advice, believing in myself more, and not caring what the industry would think of my decisions.
Time-saving tip: I travel a lot and save time by only packing dresses when I can. Also, I almost never check a bag, so I can get in and out of the airport quicker.
Source: Essence | Charreah K. Jackson