Rachel Holmes set out to create a career development and networking platform for Black high school girls called Black Girls Mean Business while still in high school. The initiative seeks to foster the skill and confidence that Black teenage girls aged 14 to 18 will need to succeed in their future careers, and also give them a standing in the business world.
In February 2022, Holmes was recognized as a Prudential Emerging Visionary for her program, according to Metro Silicon Valley.
“They told us we had won an additional $10,000 for our program, which was insane. I wasn’t expecting to win, but I have already been able to expand my program so much since winning that money. My program was operating without any money before that point.” Holmes said.
The Black Girls mean business workshop comprises six Zoom meetings hosted by Holmes and at least two speakers from the corporate world. Participants are given the opportunity to connect with their mentors in separate virtual rooms during the meetings.
The famed meetings are usually held in the summer, with participants signing up nationwide. “As an aspiring businesswoman myself, I understood the barriers Black women face going into business and wanted to ensure Black girls in my community had the support and resources necessary to reach their full potential,” Holmes explained.
According to the young businesswoman, being a Black entrepreneur at a young age is opening doors for others apart from herself. Cision reports that some participants attested to really enjoying the program and assessed themselves as being better prepared to meet their entrepreneurship dreams with Vim.
The program doesn’t only target girls who are aware of their entrepreneurship goals, it also accommodates girls who want to have some experience and knowledge about the career they want to further.
Through the workshop, participants learn how to advertise themselves better on LinkedIn, get comfortable with interviews, understand their strengths and shortcomings, and how to use that to make the most of their careers.
The program welcomes only cisgender girls. According to Holmes, the focus of her marketing is Black girls, although she wouldn’t reject boys if they wanted to partcipate in the workshop.
She plans on growing the program, and is even considering making it an all-year-round event; hoping to add other services like college tours and internships.