Stephanie Caudle has come a long way in 12 short months. Last November, she received the grim news that her public relations job—one that she loved—was being eliminated. Now, one year later, she is the winner of the Black Enterprise/Hiscox Insurance small business pitch competition. Caudle will be flown in October to the Black Enterprise 2017 TechConneXt Summit in an all-expenses paid trip. While in California, she will also meet with a top Silicon Valley venture capitalist to take her business, Black Girl Group, to the next level.
She remembers how bleak her future seemed when she lost her PR job. “During that time, it looked seemingly impossible that I would find another job,” she said in the 60-second video that pitch contestants were asked to submit in which they tell how they overcame their biggest obstacle to launch their small business.
However, after some praying, reflection, and getting an idea in a dream—Caudle launched her business venture soon after losing her PR job.
Black Girl Group is a micro job site connecting African American women freelancers to companies struggling to hire diverse freelance talent. Caudle is banking her success on the ever-growing gig-economy—where people sell their talents, skills, and resources on platforms such as Uber, Lyft, TaskRabbit, and Airbnb.
“By 2020 the gig economy is predicted to rise from 34% of Americans to 43%,” says Caudle. “Because of this, on-demand sites such as Black Girl Group are more important than ever before. The United States workforce is shifting away from the traditional 9-to-5 and is now focusing on more task-oriented jobs that not only increase productivity but save money. Black Girl Group specifically comes into play because our job site doesn’t focus on typical 9-to-5 jobs.”
“Our site focuses only on freelancers in the ever-growing gig economy. As an added bonus, Nielsen just recently released a report that stated that African American women were not only the fastest growing number of entrepreneurs in America but we’re also the biggest spenders in the country, which means now, more than ever, companies will be looking to do whatever is necessary to tap into the African American women market and my website will help them in that process,” she continued.
Caudle hopes that the meeting with the Silicon Valley VC, Lo Toney, a partner at GV (formerly Google Ventures), will help her scale up her business and put her on the road to achieve her business goals.
“In five years I see my business being a power player in the billion-dollar gig economy industry. By this time I am hoping to be able to extend my reach beyond just African American women to other groups who may be struggling with finding inclusion in the gig economy/freelance industry.”