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      35 Resources That Will Empower Black Business Owners to Thrive


      Black entrepreneurs and inventors have brought us some of the world’s most important innovations, from blood banks to color PC monitors. The history of Black entrepreneurialism stretches back centuries, and our lives would not be the same without it.

      There’s no denying that today’s Black business owners have hurdles to overcome, from accessing capital and mentorship opportunities to the instability and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, however, there are many grants and resources that can help you and your business thrive.

      Keep reading as we explore the impressive legacy of Black entrepreneurship, along with 35 resources to help support you as you launch and grow your company.

      Black Entrepreneurship Deserves to be Celebrated

      The importance of celebrating the legacy of Black entrepreneurship throughout Black history cannot be understated.

      The National Negro Business League, founded in 1900, predates the United States Chamber of Commerce. Its existence points to a long history of Black business ownership and a community spirit that saw Black Americans supporting each other in the face of racial inequality and discrimination.

      Black entrepreneurs have helped shape our modern world, and they have done so despite a history of racial segregation and discrimination. And today, Black-owned businesses help narrow the racial wealth gap, strengthen local economies, and create jobs within the community.

      Resources That Will Enable Black Business Owners to Succeed

      Whether you’re just getting started or looking to expand your already successful company, the right support can enable your business to thrive. We’ve gathered 35 resources — from grants and equity investments to training and mentorship — listed in alphabetical order below.

      resources for black-owned businesses

      Resources for Black Business Owners in the United States

      Accion Opportunity Fund (AOF)

      The nonprofit AOF offers loans from $5,000 to $100,000 in size, as well as interactive learning, business coaching, and mentoring. Ninety percent of its clients are diverse, with a focus on people of color and women.

      Amazon’s Black Business Accelerator

      U.S.-based businesses who are certified Black-owned and ready to sell products via Amazon (or are already doing so) can access a variety of support through this initiative. This support includes cash grants, advertising credits, free imaging services, and a year or more of advisory services to help your Amazon business succeed.

      After enrolling in this program, you can then sign up for BBA Connect: an initiative that gives you access to further training and mentorship, as well as networking opportunities with other Black Amazon sellers.

      Backstage Capital

      Venture capital firm Backstage Capital works with underrepresented entrepreneurs, including people of color, women, and the LGBTQ+ community. The company funds businesses within all industries. Backstage Capital is primarily focused on U.S.-based enterprises, although it will consider international applications.

      Black Business Alliance

      The nonprofit, U.S.-based Black Business Alliance offers workshops and training, loans, mentoring and coaching, technical assistance, and events and networking. Many of these initiatives are free and targeted at small and medium-sized businesses within the United States.

      Black Connect

      The not-for-profit organization Black Connect is centered around networking opportunities for Black people across the United States. However, it also has some members in the Caribbean, Africa, and the U.K.

      Black Connect also provides funding through pitch competitions, while its Business & Entrepreneur Assessment program is a mentorship-based scheme that helps Black entrepreneurs launch their businesses.

      Coalition to Back Black Businesses

      Coalition to Back Black Businesses provides grants of $5,000 to$25,000 along with coaching for Black-owned businesses in economically vulnerable communities across the U.S. Launched in 2020. It is currently programmed to run until 2024 to help businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Although businesses must be in economically vulnerable communities, at present, this includes 80% of U.S. zip codes.

       

      DivInc Accelerators

      Nonprofit DivInc provides three-month accelerator programs for early-stage tech founders who are people of color and/or women. The programs are full-time and include coaching and strategy sessions, networking, legal consulting, and a customized curriculum designed around your company’s needs. Many of the accelerator programs also provide a grant on completion.

      The organization also provides Validation Bootcamps for entrepreneurs with potential business ideas and runs the Startup Sistas networking group for female entrepreneurs of color.

      Elevate Together

      Elevate Together is a nonprofit initiative that supports Black and Hispanic businesses with five or fewer employees. It runs business workshops, provides technical assistance, and connects entrepreneurs with a small business mentor. It also gives access to professional networks and platforms, including ones for nontraditional lending sources. Finally, Elevate Together offers cash grants and donates products and services, such as office furniture and printing services.

      Foundation for Business Equity

      The Foundation for Business Equity supports Black and Latinx entrepreneurs by facilitating their access to growth capital and corporate and large public contracts. It also provides strategic advisors, direct service specialists, and peer-to-peer support.

      Goldman Sachs’ One Million Black Women

      As part of their One Million Black Women initiative, Goldman Sachs provides investment capital for Black female entrepreneurs. The program will run until 2031, and you can apply through Hope credit union.

      Hello Alice Black Business Center

      Via its Black Business Center and in partnership with the NAACP, Hello Alice provides business guides, a funding database, and a community for Black entrepreneurs to network in. The funding database includes grants and loans from various organizations and grants offered directly by Hello Alice.

      Lemon-AID Foundation

      The Lemon-AID Foundation provides loans, equity investments, and grants to support small businesses. It is primarily serving minority- and women-owned companies.

      Minority Business Entrepreneur Magazine

      This magazine publishes a wide range of business management articles targeted towards minority business owners in the U.S. What’s more, its classifieds page shares adverts from businesses looking to work with minority-owned suppliers and subcontractors.

      National Black MBA Association (NBMAA)

      For Black entrepreneurs with or working toward an MBA, the NBMAA provides networking opportunities and training, scholarships, pitch challenges, and potential connections with venture capitalists.

      National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC)

      The NMDSC certifies minority-owned suppliers and connects them with larger corporations looking to diversify their supply chain. As well as operating within the U.S., it partners with international organizations to facilitate global trade. It’s worth noting that there is a fee for the certification process while paying further subscription fees gives businesses access to more opportunities.

      The organization also provides scholarships and grants, including ones targeted at young entrepreneurs (aged 19 to35).

      National Urban League

      The National Urban League provides counseling, training, mentorship, and support in accessing funding for people of color in the U.S. Additionally, their digital Advancing Black Entrepreneurs program is focused on business growth and sustainability.

      Small Business Administration 8(a) Business Development

      The 8(a) Business Development program is designed to help majority-owned businesses controlled by socially disadvantaged groups, including Black Americans. It helps these businesses gain government contracts, as well as provides mentoring, training, technical assistance, procurement assistance, and more. The 8(a) status lasts for nine years, with no need to reapply during that time.

      US Black Chambers (USBC)

      The USBC offers training, mentorship, free certification as a Black-owned business, entry into a Black-owned business directory, and more. In addition, it runs frequent events to support Black entrepreneurs, from boot camps to networking opportunities. It also partners with many large brands, including Google, Amazon, and Verizon, to ensure business owners are aware of upcoming opportunities and how to access them.

      US Department of Transport (DOT)’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program

      The DOT’s DBE helps businesses that are majority-owned by disadvantaged Americans apply for federally funded transportation projects, such as highway construction. Black Americans are automatically considered disadvantaged and are therefore eligible to apply.

      US Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)

      The MBDA has various programs and initiatives to help minority-owned businesses and entrepreneurs. For example, business and industry-specific centers across the U.S. provide advice from experts. The MBDA also has diverse grants available and programs to help connect entrepreneurs with lenders and investors.

      United States Minority Chamber of Commerce (US MCC)

      The U.S. MCC is open to members across the U.S. and Latin America. It facilitates networking, provides regular business training, and hosts numerous events, including Women Leadership Summits. Plus, it shares information about potential loans and grants.

      Additional Resources for US-Based Business Owners

      Accompany Capital

      Women, immigrants, and refugees in New York can access small business loans and microloans via Accompany Capital, in addition to workshops and webinars.

      Grants.gov

      Grants.gov contains a database of all available federally funded grants, along with information and educational resources on how to apply. It is also available as a mobile app.

      Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)

      LISC provides small business relief grants, digital-ready grants, and regional grants for small business owners. It also shares information about mentorship schemes, and business owners can go to their local LISC office for more advice and information on resources.

      National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE)

      NASE members can apply for growth grants for your business and yearly scholarship grants for college for dependents. The organization also provides advice on business law, strategy, IT, marketing, tax, and B2B leads and discounts on various business services from partners, ranging from payroll providers to various health insurance plans.

      Operation HOPE

      Operation HOPE provides a series of programs to support communities across the U.S. in achieving financial dignity and empowerment. Aspiring and/or new business owners can sign up for their eight-week Entrepreneurship Training Program, specifically designed for individuals lacking capital or access to funding and business education.

      The HOPE Business In A Box Academies (HBIABA) also provides middle and high school students with business training, mentors, and even start-up grants. s.

      USDA Rural Business Development Grants

      If you live in a town or rural area and employ fewer than 50 people, you are eligible to apply for a grant for technical assistance, training, and economic development. This covers everything from land acquisition to feasibility studies, with a full list of allowed uses on the website. There is no maximum limit for the grant amount.

      United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC)

      Latinx Americans will find that the USHCC has many programs and resources available. These include Avanzar, an eight-month business accelerator program; procurement matching events and supplier boot camps; networking opportunities; technical assistance; and more.

      US Small Business Administration (SBA)

      We previously discussed SBA’s 8(a) Business Development program, but that’s not all the SBA offers. You can also access free business counseling and resources to help you plan, launch, and manage your business, as well as business loans.

      Your Local Chamber of Commerce

      In addition to Black and minority chambers of commerce, signing up to your town or state’s local chamber of commerce may grant you access to training, funding opportunities, and more.

      We Support Your Dream

      Whatever your online goals, we’ll be right there with you, making sure your site is fast, secure, and always up. Plans start at $1.99/mo.

      Resources for Black Business Owners Around the World

      Accion International

      Similar to Accion’s U.S.-based Opportunity Fund above, Accion International provides services on a global scale. Applicants can receive advisory services, targeted coaching, and financial investments. In addition, online toolkits are readily available for all businesses.

      Currently, the organization operates in the Americas, Asia, Africa, and the United Kingdom.

      Black Business Network

      Black Business Network provides support for U.K.-based small and medium enterprises. This includes mentoring and skills development, events, and networking. The organization also recommends funding channels and releases reports on Black British entrepreneurship.

      Black Entrepreneurship Program

      The Government of Canada’s Black Entrepreneurship Program provides mentorship, training, and loans for Black-led businesses in the country. Some of these are only available for nonprofit businesses. The program also leads research into Black entrepreneurship within Canada.

      Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce

      Via the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce, business owners can be matched with mentors, receive free business advice, attend workshops, and bid on corporate and government contracts. There are also entrepreneur programs for women and youth.

      Kiva

      Nonprofit organization Kiva allows entrepreneurs across the world to access microloans while enabling ordinary people around the world to crowdfund them. Borrowers in the U.S. pay zero percent interest rates, while borrowers in other countries may pay interest rates to a local organization partnering with Kiva.

      The Tools You Need to Succeed as a Black Business Owner

      Launching a business is an act of passion and hard work. The right resources can support you in achieving your goals, yet it’s your dedication that will lead you to success.

      Here at DreamHost, we believe our job is to help set you up to thrive. That’s why we created our Ultimate Small Business Resource Guide —  for comprehensive tips on everything from building a website to creating a marketing strategy, be sure to check it out!



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      INAP Executive Spotlight: Jackie Coats, Senior Vice President, Human Resources


      In the INAP Executive Spotlight series, we interview senior leaders across the organization, hearing candid reflections about their careers, what they love about their work and big lessons learned along the way.

      Next in the series is Jackie Coats, Senior Vice President, Human Resources. In this role, she puts her passion for helping employees and leaders unlock their potential and accomplish goals to good use.

      In our conversation, Coats discussed what drew her to this role at INAP, how she’s working with the other senior leaders to build a strong company culture and much more. Jackie brings her enthusiasm to the forefront of everything she does. Read on to learn more.

      The interview has been lightly edited for clarity and length.

      You joined INAP in May as the Senior Vice President of Human Resources. What excites you most about this new role?

      The people at INAP are what attracted me to this role. I’d been consulting on my own and wasn’t in the market for going back to a regular full-time gig. I had the opportunity to come on as a contractor for INAP earlier this year. Every single person that I interacted with was smart, helpful and aligned with taking the business forward. The opportunity to be part of this team was a key driver in accepting the role. And as the company has now moved from public to private, I have the chance to build people functions that support the organization.

      You came into this role during the COVID-19 pandemic. How does this impact company culture and what’s being done to connect with employees during this time?

      The good thing is that our President and CEO Mike Sicoli genuinely cares about every single employee. It’s refreshing that he doesn’t delegate that to me alone as head of HR. All the senior leaders give a lot of thought to not only the productivity aspect of these times, as it’s important to keep a business running, but the emotional and personal impact that employees have undergone as a result of being remote. We’ve increased support tools and we’ve done surveys to check in with individual employees to take the pulse of the organization. We’ve connected leaders and given them tips on how to stay in sync with their teams. We’ve encouraged video one-on-ones in team meetings and all hands, etc. It’s something we definitely won’t stop beyond the pandemic. Knowing how our employees are feeling is important.

      With all the social unrest going on in the world, diversity and inclusion is really important. Can you tell us about the steps INAP is taking in those areas?

      We finalized the selection of a diversity, equity and inclusion consultant partner, and they have an amazing approach and lots of tools and partnerships that will help guide us. We’ll be doing work as a senior team, both together and individually, which I think is vital. We’ll also be doing an assessment of the organization to really get a baseline of where we stand. This consultant partner will help us identify areas where we need to focus.

      It’s obvious from looking at the organization that we need to support the growth and professional development of our women and people of color, because as you go up in the organization, there’s fewer and fewer people in those categories. We’ll be working on development activities and support for those individuals. We’ll take a hard look at our policies and practices to consider how we promote, hire and transfer.

      What changes have you see related to diversity and inclusion over your career? What do you still want to see?

      What I have learned over the years is that grassroots-type exercises really are more valuable than big, government-mandated exercises. I’ve seen a lot of success with mentoring programs where you identify individuals and what they’re trying to achieve from a development perspective, and you match them with a senior person who has that expertise. Both parties learn a tremendous amount.

      The need to hire quickly is generally what drives the hesitancy to take the time to find a diverse palate of candidates. As an organization and as a society, it’s absolutely critical that we develop our minority applicants and employees and go the extra mile to find people that bring diversity to the organization, because it’s critical for our success. There is a lot of data that shows businesses that are diverse are more productive and more successful.

      You’ve worked in HR for other tech companies prior to joining INAP. What do you like best about being in the industry?

      I’m a big believer that when you have pride in your organization, and in the products and services offered, employees are loyal and engaged. For me, technology touches absolutely everything. The fact that we’re powering and supporting businesses that are making our economy go brings a great sense of pride. And learning that some of our customers are in the gaming industry, I can connect that to having a kid who does all that stuff, so I love that.

      How you go about setting goals for your team?

      You need to have an overall vision for where you want your department or function to go. I talk a lot to my team about what we’re trying to achieve and what success would look like. We’re looking to add value to the organization, not just from an administrative or transactional standpoint. Our goal is to become consultative to the business leaders and help leaders and managers make excellent people decisions, support the growth of their individuals, improve the productivity of their teams, break down communication barriers across departments, recognize high performers and key contributors. That’s the big picture in what we’re trying to do.

      Did you take any detours to get to where you are today?

      I have a fashion merchandising degree and started in retail as a manager right out of the gate after graduating from college. Right away, I gravitated towards leadership and management. I realized that I had good transferrable skills, like hiring, coaching and training. I ended up taking a personnel training coordinator job at Lowe’s Home Centers, which tied the retail in with the HR function, and immediately saw a huge path of opportunity for me.

      Of all the qualities you possess, which ones have the greatest influence on your success?

      Enthusiasm. I bring a lot of positivity and enthusiasm for things that I believe in. My function should enable success, not get in the way. I have a quick ability to identify things that are getting in the way for people, and if they’re open to hearing it, I’m pretty good at helping them adjust their style to help them grow.

      What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned in your career?

      It’s important to surround yourself with people who possess talent and skills that you don’t have. I’ve learned to appreciate that you don’t have to have it all. You have to know what you need and you have to be able to find people to build a team with complementary skills. Bringing those complementary skills out in each of them has really helped me find success, for me and my teams.

      Is there anything you would do differently now if you were just starting out?

      I would’ve spent more time learning about data and metrics, and how to utilize them. Most business rely on data to help inform decisions and the people function is no different. Productivity, employee satisfaction and demographics are all KPIs that leaders need to know. Knowing the KPIs for your business helps to eliminate subjective decision making.

      Laura Vietmeyer


      READ MORE



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      19 Great Resources for Diverse Stock Photos


      The imagery you choose to share — on your website, social media accounts, and marketing materials — says a lot about your business.

      After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.

      Returning and potential customers, as well as employees and anyone else who crosses paths with your business, will look at the choices you make in your images. Are they reflected in those photographs? Do your visuals showcase true diversity and representation?

      “Inclusive imagery matters because our world is a beautiful and diverse place, and we need to embrace and celebrate that in terms of the visual content we put out into the world,” says Claudia Marks, Senior Art Director, iStock by Getty Images.

      “For brands, it’s an important consideration to make and, ideally, one that you make consistently with every visual choice,” Marks adds. “It’s safe to assume that most small businesses want to expand their reach, which means attracting as many customers as possible. It also means intentionally choosing imagery which is inclusive and, therefore, speaks to people broadly and welcomes them to interact with you and your business.”

      In this article, we’ll make the business case for diversity, share some tips for adding inclusive imagery to your site, and explain the growing demand for culturally diverse stock photos. Most importantly, we’ll share 19 great stock photo agencies and websites you can turn to when you want diverse, inclusive stock imagery for your business — no tired stereotypes here!

      We’ve got a lot to cover. Let’s dive in!

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      The Business Case for Diversity

      There are plenty of reasons small business owners should opt for inclusive stock photos. Most importantly, it’s simply the right thing to do.

      But from a business perspective, it can also help a website owners’ bottom line. “The more you demonstrate that you welcome everyone or that your product is for everyone, the more people will be open to seeing what you have on offer and potentially becoming a customer of yours,” Marks says. “That’s a win-win for any business owner.”

      However, using inclusive stock art isn’t as easy as finding one person of color in an image and patting yourself on the back. There are certain guidelines to keep in mind to ensure you’re portraying true diversity.

      “Think about the concepts behind your business and what you are selling,” Marks says. “Make intentional choices in your imagery to ensure you show the kinds of customers you want to appeal to — all of them. Ask yourself if you unconsciously chose images that reflect your personal bias and, if so, challenge that. Know your audience . . . learn what they respond to and what resonates with them best.”

      How to Get Started With Diverse Imagery

      Remember to include everyone in your images. Marks suggests asking yourself a few key questions:

      • What is the widest your customer base can be?
      • How can you appeal to your core demographics, while still conveying the message behind your product or service?
      • What can you show your potential customers — as opposed to just telling them — so that it resonates more clearly and in a more meaningful way?

      To ensure that site owners give the appropriate credit when using images, familiarize yourself with Creative Commons and fair use rules. Take some time to read up on copyright restrictions; the best and simplest explanation can be found at creativecommonsusa.org.

      To quickly boil it down, examples of fair use in United States copyright law include using images for commentary, search engines, criticism, parody, news reporting, research, and nonprofit educational purposes. Before you post a photo, do your due diligence to make sure it’s okay to do so (especially if it could qualify as commercial use).

      The Increasing Demand for Diverse Photos

      In recent years, many new stock art agencies with diverse representation have cropped up to meet the demands of conscious business owners and media outlets. In addition, existing agencies, including Getty, have expanded to embrace more diversity.

      “Since launching LeanIn, we’ve expanded the ways we authentically — and inclusively — show the world and its beautiful humans,” Marks says. “We recently created the Nosotros Collection, which sought to expand our offering of Latinx content to more honestly depict Latinx people of all origins across the U.S. and North America and, ideally, banish false cultural stereotypes which pervade our media. We’ve also launched the Disability Collection in partnership with Verizon Media to more authentically show people of all abilities navigating everyday life, and the Disrupt Aging Collection in partnership with AARP to re-picture the 50+ community.”

      Plus, to support small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, Getty also made select content free to download.

      19 Great Resources for Diverse Stock Photos

      1. #WOCinTech Chat

      The WOCinTech Chat page on Flickr.

      The tech industry is notorious for being overwhelmingly male and white. #WoCinTech Chat is trying to change that stereotype by sharing photos of women of color in various technology fields. Even better, every single picture is free to use, thanks to the Creative Commons license. There’s just one caveat: Every photo has to be credited with either a link to the collection and/or the hashtag #WoCinTech Chat. When you think about it, it’s a double win, since it drives more visitors — and hopefully followers — to their site. The collection is curated by Flickr.

      2. UKBlackTech

      Group of Black co-workers having a meeting.
      Source: ukblacktech.com

      Most young people of color don’t see themselves represented in the fields of technology. When UKBlackTech — a British organization whose mission is to boost the growth of Black and ethnic minorities in the tech sector — learned about this, they organized a photoshoot to create the images that were missing. In addition to including people of color, they also aimed to include a distinctly British aesthetic. Under Creative Commons licensing, the collection can be used for free as long as UKBlackTech or www.ukblacktech.com is credited.

      3. Nappy

      Young man recording himself on a video camera.
      Source: nappy.co

      Diverse stock art shouldn’t just capture people in staged activities. Nappy offers “beautiful, high-res photos of Black and Brown people” in everyday life, ranging from exercising to eating, working, hanging out — you name it. And because Nappy wants to increase representation in the media, the images are free to use. They recommend giving them credit, but it isn’t mandatory. Nappy was created by Shade, a talent agency that specializes in diversity.

      4. CreateHer Stock

      The createherstock.com home page.

      CreateHER Stock isn’t a one-way business. Founder Neosha Gardner is creating a community by encouraging people to connect with her team on collaborations, including adding their own stock photos to the collection, and sending out a monthly email newsletter to keep everyone apprised of updates and giveaways. The stock photo site offers more than 3,500 photos of women of color spanning an array of categories, from workplace to lifestyle. Gardner launched the site when she couldn’t find photos of women of color for a blog post in 2014. They offer both royalty-free and paid options.

      5. TONL

      The tonl.co home page.

      On their website, TONL says, “A diverse mix of voices leads to better discussions for everyone.” The agency is living up to those words by focusing on images that show a glimpse into the lives of all types of people. They bring deeper context to their images by sharing text with each to provide a wider story. To make finding just the right images easier, the site’s offerings are organized into narratives such as taste, travel, tradition, technology, and trend. Within those categories, you’ll find an array of everything from religious images to family photos. They can be purchased à la carte or with a subscription.

      6. Picnoi

      The picnoi.com home page.

      When you can’t find stock image essentials that show a range of skin tones and races, there’s Picnoi to fill the gap. The co-op knows that most free stock images have very few options when it comes to showing people of color, so they created a space for bloggers, website owners, designers, publishers, advertisers, and anyone else to have free access to diverse images right at their fingertips. Picnoi doesn’t require attribution, but they appreciate it, so do them a solid and link to Picnoi to spread the word.

      7. The Gender Spectrum Collection: Stock Photos Beyond the Binary

      The genderphotos.vice.com home page.

      When talking about inclusive imagery, gender identity is often left out of the conversation. Luckily, The Gender Spectrum Collection fills that void with photos of transgender and non-binary folks. Powered by Vice media, the images are free to use. Organized by category — including lifestyle, relationships, and work, to name a few — Vice encourages clients to use the images mindfully to help bring awareness to gender bias and stereotypes, elevating the trans community along the way. The photos run the gamut of the LGBTQ spectrum, featuring people in all facets of life.

      8. DragonImages

      Example of a stock image from dragonimages.asia

      To ensure Asian people are represented correctly in imagery, Pressfoto Group, a stock photography house, launched DragonImages under their umbrella in 2012. Based in Asia, they ensure their photos accurately represent culture, customs, and ethnicities from across the continent. They shoot on location using Asian models, encompassing a wide array of categories and themes. In addition to being available at Pressfoto, many of their images can be found at popular stock photo agencies such as iStock, Shutterstock, and Fotolia. DragonImages purposely prices their photos very low —  often for less than a dollar — to make them widely accessible. More than 50,0000 of their photographs have been used all over the world. 

      9. Mocha Stock

      The mochastock.com home page.

      Sequoia Houston was constantly on the lookout for professional, diverse visuals she could use for campaigns at her marketing job, but they were next to impossible to find. She took matters into her own hands and launched Mocha Stock. From diverse stock images to illustrations to videos, Mocha Stock offers it all, showcasing people of color with a real vibe. A few of their themed galleries include celebrating women, business, and family. The royalty-free images are priced affordably to suit all budgets.

      10. Diversity Photos

      The diversityphotos.com/ home page.

      “Relevant. Authentic. Inclusive.” That’s how Diversity Photos describes their collection, and it’s spot on. They cover every topic you can think of and make it look believable, from business to health, spirituality, family, disabilities, and culture — all neatly organized into categories. With super high-quality and professional photos, they offer subscriptions or à la carte purchases at attainable prices.

      11. The Lean In Collection from LeanIn.org/Getty

      The Lean In collection home page.

      A team effort between Getty Images and LeanIn.org, the women’s empowerment nonprofit launched by Sheryl Sandberg, this photo library features more than 6,000 images of female leadership, both in work and life. Aiming to dispel gender stereotypes and imagery that depicts patriarchy, The “Lean In Collection” shows women and girls as equals and empowered. “The goal is to shift perceptions, overturn clichés, and incorporate authentic images of women and men into media and advertising,” Marks says.

      12. The 67 Percent Collection from Refinery29/Getty

      Example stock image from The 67 Percent Collection.

      This is a collection of imagery created by the team at Refinery29 to dive deeper into how millennial and Gen Z women view themselves and the world — unapologetically themselves and embracing every aspect of who they are,” Marks says. It’s all about raw images of women from various walks of life and backgrounds.

      13. MuslimGirl.com Collection from Getty

      Example stock image from the MuslimGirl.com collection

      “We partnered with their founder, Amani al-Khatahtbeh, to purposefully change how young, modern Muslim women and girls are depicted in the media and advertising,” Marks says. “Whether they choose to wear a hijab or not, they are more than they have been depicted in pop culture.  They have the same aspirations and emotions and passions and intelligence as all modern girls and women and should be depicted as such to normalize their existence in our world and specifically the West.”

      14. Shestock from Blend Images

      Images of women by women doesn’t sound revolutionary, but it was when Shestock was launched in 2012, making it the very first woman-centric stock image collection. In addition to supporting female photographers, it aims to eliminate gender bias and show women in more authentic and empowering situations. For example, Shestock shares photos of women in STEM fields to encourage young girls. The collection is available for purchase through Blend Images.

      15. LGBT Photos by Pexels

      The LGBTQ spectrum truly is as broad as a rainbow, and Pexels captures this sentiment in their curated section of LGBTQ photos. From portraits to lifestyle shots and everything in between, Pexels covers the bases with an ethnically diverse group of people in an authentic way. Even better, all of the photos and videos are free. Attribution isn’t necessary, but it is appreciated by both Pexels and the photographers.

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      16. TetraImages.com

      The latest collection from Tetra is Blend images, which is all about photography and footage of multicultural and diverse people shot by artists from across the globe. They cover any category you can think of — small business to city life, beauty, nature, food, holidays, seasons, health living, education, Americana, and pharmaceuticals, to name a few. The conceptual images are fresh, modern, and realistic, and all are available for editorial and commercial licensing.

      17. The LGBT section at Twenty20

      Example stock image from the Twenty20.com collection

      Twenty20 fills their LGBTQ section with people of color, a range of identities, and striking images that deliver a deeper message. To make it easier to find exactly what you’re looking for, their LGBTQ section is organized into several categories, such as Pride, couples, and happy people. They offer subscriptions from $16.50 per month.

      18. PhotoAbility

      The photoability.net home page.

      It doesn’t get more authentic than PhotoAbility and their models. Every single person portrayed in the images has a disability and a portion of each sale goes directly to them. The photos feature adults and children with disabilities in various settings, including travel, sports, business, and lifestyle, aiming to increase positive imagery of people who use wheelchairs, canes, walkers, guide dogs, and other mobility devices. They offer a range of prices to fit every budget, with a deep discount for advocacy groups.

      19. Canva’s Natural Woman Collection

      Tired of the male gaze? Canva is too, which is where their Natural Woman Collection comes in. Authentic and true to life, it captures women in their natural state, whether that’s in nature, striking a yoga pose, taking selfies with friends, or with their families. Canva offers both free and premium shots to make the most of your budget.



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