James Oliver, Jr., founder of WeMontage.com, a photo-to-wallpaper website, recently announced that his newest venture, the ParentPreneur Foundation gave $10,000 to ten beneficiaries to start Black businesses.
Oliver started the foundation in March, at the beginning of the pandemic, with the intent to empower Black parents who are entrepreneurs.
"Black people don't have the same resources as many of our white ParentPreneur counterparts,” Oliver said. “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."
Oliver’s contribution to Black businesses was made possible by a $50,000 seed grant from renowned venture capitalist Brad Feld.
He started his company WeMontage after taking part in a tech accelerator and raising 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 treplifedad.com and now with the ParentPreneur Foundation.
"Being a parent is challenging, yet rewarding. And we know 75 percent 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," Oliver said.
In addition to grants, The ParentPreneur Foundation provides resources to help ParentPreneurs 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,” said Nina Bryant, a grant recipient.
Bryant is the founder of She Makes Delicious, national food prep and delivery service.
She continued, “ 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."