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Shea Moisture

1 min read

Black Owned Natural Hair Care Brand to receive $1 Million Investment from Shea Moisture Founder

Last summer, Shea Moisture founder Richelieu Dennis announced a $100 million fund for women entrepreneurs of color. The $100 Million New Voices Fund was  created to empower women of color entrepreneurs to reach their full potential.

Now, it seems the fund has made its first investment. Black owned natural hair care line NaturAll Club recently announced that they will be the recipients of a $1 Million dollar investment from Mr. Dennis.

Black Owned Natural Hair

A week ago, NaturaAll Club founder and CEO, Muhga Eltigani, made the announcement on her Instagram page.

“What’s cooler than having Rich Dennis, founder of one of the largest beauty brands, Shea Moisture, say that @naturallclub will become the next big thing in beauty?……

Having him invest $1M to help you do it….

Welcome to the team, Rich! I’m humbled that you selected us as your first haircare product investment.”

NaturaAll Club CEO, Muhga Eltigani and Rich Dennis

Congrats to the NaturAll Club team and salute to Richelieu Dennis for investing in Black business owners!

Click here to learn more about the New Voices Fund.


-Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson (IG@thebusyafrican)

6 mins read

Shea Moisture CEO could Turn Madam C.J. Walker’s Mansion into a Training Center for Black Women Entrepreneurs

The ac­tual sale of Irv­ing­ton’s Villa Lewaro, home more than a cen­tury ago to Madam C. J. Walker, the Black en­tre­pre­neur who made a for­tune sell­ing skin and hair care prod­ucts to African-Amer­i­can women, took place last sum­mer, but the iden­tity of the new owner—and his plans for use of the 34-room man­sion—are emerg­ing only just this month.

Riche­lieu Den­nis, 48, founder and CEO of Sun­dial Brands, man­u­fac­turer and mar­keter of cos­met­ics for women of color, is the new owner of the es­tate on North Broad­way, hav­ing pur­chased it from Harold and He­lena Do­ley, who lived there for the past 25 years.

Riche­lieu Den­nis

Mr. Den­nis is sched­uled to ap­pear at the reg­u­lar meet­ing of Irv­ing­ton’s board of trustees on Mon­day, De­cem­ber 17, when he is ex­pected to out­line his plans to use the es­tate as a train­ing cen­ter/​re­treat, de­signed to sup­port black women en­tre­pre­neurs in their ef­forts to turn their ideas into flour­ish­ing en­ter­prises. The 7:00 p.m. meet­ing is open to the pub­lic.

Madam CJ Walker’s Mansion

His tim­ing could­n’t be bet­ter. Irv­ing­ton has only just passed a new zon­ing law that per­mits adap­tive reuse of reg­is­tered his­tor­i­cal build­ings for non-res­i­den­tial pur­poses, in­clud­ing schools, tours and cer­tain kinds of events. The pur­pose of the new law, which grew out of the re­cent Com­pre­hen­sive Plan up­date even be­fore the sale of the es­tate, is to give the own­ers of such prop­er­ties some re­lief from the high up­keep and tax ex­penses that bur­den own­er­ship. At pre­sent, only three such prop­er­ties meet the cri­te­ria for the new law: Villa Nu­its in Ard­s­ley Park, the Oc­ta­gon House and Villa Lewaro.

The pre­vi­ous own­ers, Am­bas­sador Harold Do­ley and his wife He­lena had worked with the Na­tional Trust for His­toric Preser­va­tion to cre­ate an ease­ment on Villa Lewaro that would al­low it to op­er­ate as a mu­seum as well as their res­i­dence.

Do­ley, who had served as Ronald Rea­gan’s am­bas­sador to the Ivory Coast, en­vi­sioned some­thing like the Barnes Foun­da­tion, on whose board he sat, which once housed one of the world’s great col­lec­tions of Im­pres­sion­ist art in an el­e­gant home in a res­i­den­tial neigh­bor­hood of Philadel­phia that is not un­like Irv­ing­ton.

While us­ing Villa Lewaro as a mu­seum is one of Mr. Den­nis’s op­tions, the en­tre­pre­neur­ial cen­ter con­cept bet­ter meshes with his on­go­ing com­mit­ment to pro­mote African-Amer­i­can wom­en’s busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties and a log­i­cal ex­ten­sion of his busi­ness. Sun­dial, now a sub­sidiary of Unilever, al­ready in­cludes a Madam C.J. Walker line of hair care prod­ucts.

More to the point, last year, he launched the New Voices Fund, seed­ing it with $100 mil­lion to sup­port black women en­tre­pre­neurs through train­ing, men­tor­ship and net­work­ing. Other sup­port­ers in­clude Chase Bank, Gold­man Sachs, Bank of Amer­i­can, Har­vard and Amos Tuck grad­u­ate busi­ness schools and Bab­son Col­lege, from which Den­nis grad­u­ated. Villa Lewaro would seem a nat­ural venue for New Voices de­vel­op­ment pro­grams.

Some of the es­tate’s im­me­di­ate neigh­bors have ex­pressed con­cern about the po­ten­tial for noise and traf­fic un­der the new zon­ing guide­lines. Vil­lage of­fi­cials have as­sured them that the lan­guage of the new law gives the trustees full au­thor­ity to limit the num­bers of ve­hi­cles com­ing in and out of the prop­erty, the types of events held there and any changes in the prop­erty it­self. What­ever Mr. Den­nis pro­poses must first meet with their ap­proval.


Source: The Hudson Independent


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4 mins read

Shea Moisture Founder Launches $100 Million Fund for Women Entrepreneurs Of Color At Essence Festival

On Thursday, SheaMoisture haircare and skincare products founder Richelieu Dennis announced a $100 million fund for women entrepreneurs of color at the 2018 Essence Festival. The announcement surrounds the New Voices Fund that he’s been prepping for the past year.

“About six months ago, we announced that we were launching the new voices fund,” Dennis told the audience at the press conference during the Essence Festival. “I’m proud to say that we get to officially launch the $100 million New Voices Fund for women of color entrepreneurs here at Essence Festival this weekend. Over the past six months, we have already either invested in or committed to, over $30 million in black women entrepreneurs.”

As reported previously, Dennis sold SheaMoisture to Unilever in 2017. As part of the deal, he vowed to use the capital to create an investment fund for minority entrepreneurs, specifically women of color. Unilever and Sundial Brands, creators of SheaMoisture, agreed to contribute an initial investment of $50 million to the fund.

In addition to creating the fund to provide investment opportunities, Dennis wants to equip entrepreneurs with other resources to help contribute to the success of their companies.

“We are going to leverage the businesses that we’ve built—many of you know, Shea Moisture, Nubian Heritage, Madame CJ Walker,” he said.

There has been a push of late to find ways to invest and provide women of color the funding they need to launch businesses. Women founders received less than 3% of VC dollars in 2018. Investment in black female founders—who in recent years have been starting businesses at higher rates than any other group, so they’re not hard to find—was barely discernible, at .02%.

Recently, Arlan Hamilton, founder and managing partner of the venture fund Backstage Capital, announced that her new $36 million fund will invest exclusively in black women-led startups.

“When you talk to a group of white, affluent male investors and tell them you’re investing in women of color, the first thing that comes out is, `Oh, that’s really nice of you. That’s a great mission.’ They immediately correlate us to needing a helping hand,” Hamilton said in an interview with Fortune several months ago. “This is not that.”

Yet, women of color have been making progress in landing business funding. A recent study shows that more black women have gained access to venture capital since 2016. According to the new report, which was conducted in collaboration with digitalundividedJPMorgan Chase, the Case Foundation, and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the number of black women who have raised upwards of $1 million from VC firms has more than tripled from 11 to 34. The number of startups founded by black women has also increased 2.5 times from 2016 to 2018, jumping from 84 to 227.

The New Voices Fund provides a way for women of color entrepreneurs to approach Dennis for capital infusion. Because of the parameters of the fund, he is likely looking at businesses that are looking to scale and not just an idea on a sheet of paper.

All of the information is located on the site. If you think you’re ready, log on and apply.


—Caroline Clarke, Selena Hill, and Samara Lynn of Black Enterprise