There’s no confusion about whether or not this New Orleans entrepreneur fits the definition of “self-made.”
Sevetri Wilson started her first business, a strategic communications firm, a year after receiving her masters and later founded ExemptMeNow, a software-as-a-service company that simplifies management processes and paperwork for startups and nonprofits.
Since starting ExemptMeNow in 2016, Wilson has raised over $2 million in venture capital with no investments, becoming the first Black woman in New Orleans to do so.
Definition: SELF MADE
— Travisdimeer (@travisdimeer) July 16, 2018
This achievement would be significant for any entrepreneur, but Wilson’s feat is especially notable considering the difficulties women, specifically Black women, founders face when raising money for their ventures.
“When people see me the first thing they see is that I’m a black woman. This dynamic crosses over race and gender,” she said in an interview with Black Enterprise. I say this because there is this misleading perception that black female founders have difficulty raising money from white male investors when the truth is we have issues raising money from all investor types regardless of race or gender.”
In a 2018 study “The State of Black Women Founders,” ProjectDiane found the average funding raised by Black women founders is around $42,000, compared to the national average of $1.14 million for all startups. It was also found that since ProjectDiane released a previous study in 2016, the number of Black women founders who raised over $1 million in venture capital nearly tripled from 12 to 34 women.
Wilson has made it a point to help other entrepreneurs find the same financial success, adding:
“I’ve learned a lot of hard lessons in business and if I can give advice or help someone else achieve their goals and not step on a few landmines in the process, that’s what I’m going to do…”
“I’m very intentional about helping people, especially those who look like me.”