Ujima Fund Investor Report Interview: Shana Bryant
June 30th, 2021 -- Black. Women. Entrepreneurs. Investors. This quarter for our Summer 2021 Investor Update, we sat down with a group of Black women entrepreneurs invested in the Ujima Fund, spotlighting how they connect to Ujima’s work. Investment for these women is not just material, but about broader support for small businesses and entrepreneurs of color in their communities.
Shana Bryant is a thought leader in event planning, strategic planning, goal setting, and an advocate for Black women and girls. Based in Boston, Shana curates signature experiences, organizes chaos, and is the creator of the one and only Trifecta Approach. Through Shana Bryant Consulting, Shana helps small businesses create high-impact experiences by providing education, training, and curated support.
Tell us who you are and share more about your business.
I’m the Founder and CEO of Shana Bryant Consulting (SBC), where my mission is to organize chaos through education, training, and curated experiences. SBC helps small businesses create flawless, high-impact experiences. After numerous frustration around “who wasn’t bringing the oranges,” I began organizing the chaos of my son’s sports team events and discovered my knack for organization. As a single mom, recognizing my organizational strengths led me to work with local non-profit organizations to plan galas, fundraisers, and multi-day empowerment conferences. I went from executing events as an additional stream of income to becoming a full time entrepreneur in 2019.
Can you tell us more about why you invested in the Ujima Fund?
I believe in Nia Evans and whatever she’s doing, but I also like the idea of Ujima and what it stands for. The idea of collective economics — being deliberate and specific about supporting a specific population — is bold and necessary. Ujima is innovative.
Why was it important for you to invest as a business owner yourself?
I believe you give what you get. You reap what you continue to sow, and it’s not just important to invest in other small businesses, but deeply necessary.
What makes you want to be an investor in the work that we do?
It’s great to be aligned with the Boston Ujima Project and the work you all do. I trust who you all decide who you’re going to invest in. I trust that you’ve done all your due diligence and identified companies that deserve the investment and will make good on that investment.
How has interacting with or investing in Ujima helped shape your practices as a business owner?
It’s made me more inquisitive about the idea of crowdfunding and being part of a fund that supports other small businesses. Even the idea of being able to start your own fund; it’s a great learning opportunity.
What’s the story you want to tell about being a Black woman entrepreneur investor?
We know Black people receive disproportionately less investment, so it’s important for me to work with a fund that understands why we must invest in Black businesses specifically. We already have so many hurdles to investment; as a Black woman entrepreneur, I understand that.
It’s important to align yourself with organizations like Ujima because you learn so much. Continuing to break down the barriers for women of color, to receive investment, allows us to be sustainable and grow. I continue to learn what’s necessary to not just start a business but [also] make it sustainable, so it’s around for a long time. The Ujima Fund is important for that reason. It’s a multi-year investment and not a small grant either. Our businesses should be in a pool eligible for large investments. ■
Shana Bryant is continuing to pivot and pay attention to what’s going on with live events and the world reopening. She is looking forward to executing live events, however, perhaps not the large fundraisers and celebrations she was previously doing. She has been been consulting with many brands for in-person and virtual events, and is excited about the launch of an online planning course, “Course Trifecta.”
She has also just launched a blog for Course Trifecta, where she will be sharing articles about virtual event tips, tricks, and exclusive invitations to her virtual events, summits, and webinars. Subscribe to her dedicated email list to get those tips directly to your inbox. If you’re planning a new event for your brand or business, her books are open to new clients.