Similar to many Black women founders, entrepreneur Netta Jenkins’ journey to success wasn’t easy.

As the CEO and founder of Aerodei, an AI-powered inclusive performance platform, Jenkins had to balance developing her tech platform, while working full-time role. Her hard work didn’t go unnoticed. Her former employer Gary Hoberman, the founder and CEO of Unqork, witnessed Jenkins’ passion for the budding company. He decided to make an investment into her business. His support aided Jenkins on her road to success, showing the value behind men supporting Black women founders.

Black women founders account for 42 percent of net new women-owned businesses, according to an American Express report. Despite leading the entrepreneurial charge for women, only 3 percent of Black women founders’ companies mature and survive beyond five years. Women of color also receive less venture capital funds. In 2022, the Fearless Fund found that women of color founders received 0.39 percent worth of the $288 billion venture capital funds.

“Every day, women tackle intricate challenges, yet they receive mere crumbs in return,” Jenkins told 21Ninety. “Imagine the economic prosperity if funding were distributed equitably across genders, races and various intersections.” 

Jenkins’ early boost in her entrepreneurship journey from Hoberman enabled her to lay the groundwork for her business. That strong foundation allowed her to scale the business efficiently. She said that the investment provided the buffer she needed for success and efficient scaling. It also created a safe space that resulted in peak productivity and engagement. 

“I’ve experienced firsthand the profound stress of launching a tech venture without external funding, while juggling rent, bills and my children’s school fees,” Jenkins said, referring to the reality for most Black women founders. “This balancing act leaves little time and energy for focusing on business development, [which is] a reality that is all too common for women who lack access to funding.” 

Hoberman’s help and leadership empowered Jenkins to go beyond the scope of her former role. She was able to develop an engaging technology platform that quantifies inclusive efforts for all employees.

“Entrepreneurs often share a common trait: the potential to change the world,” Hoberman told 21Ninety. “After seeing Netta’s vision for Aerodei, Unqork became one of Netta’s first customers.”

In addition to the pre-seed funds, Jenkins’ values the guidance from advisors, like Hoberman, former JP Morgan DEI executive Patricia David, and Hoberman Rockets CEO David Sullivan. 

“I’m set on a trajectory for success,” she said. “Having incredible leaders in my corner and the financial buffer to invest in the first phase of development has propelled sales growth significantly.”