Patience and intuition are among the most valuable traits any entrepreneur can possess.
At least that was the case for Kimberly Bryant, the founder and CEO of Black Girls Code, who was told for years by people around her that her business was too narrowly branded towards a specific audience — young Black women.
But Bryant stayed true to her vision, she told Inc., and today her company is the first to pop up in a Google search for “coding for Black girls.”
“The thing that was our biggest mark against us 10 years ago became the thing that helped people discover us and the work that we have been doing consistently for 10 years,” she said. “Our name is Black Girls Code, and we’re unapologetic about that and we wouldn’t budge.”
Bryant founded the nonprofit in 2011 with hopes to open up the world of technology — from robotics to mobile app design — to young women of color. Black Girls Code hosts workshops, hackathons and camps.
For several years, she used money from her 401(k) to fund the venture. Although a decade ago people urged her to change the name, she told Inc., Black Girls Code now has 15 chapters across the United States and nearly 30,000 students have participated in their events to date.
She says her business has won success through mentorship, community building, and most importantly, positive encouragement.
“This belief in each other is something we don’t hear enough — that we can do it, whatever it is, whether it’s [becoming] a computer scientist or a doctor, a lawyer, or an entrepreneur.” Bryant said. “That’s the key, the secret sauce, without a doubt, of what we do different or better than other organizations.”