10 Inspiring Black Entrepreneurs Who Transformed Their Industries
How do we define transformative work without taking a moment to showcase Black entrepreneurs? Transformative work defines stunning and impactful accomplishments in one’s field that bring about positive and substantial changes. While there are various ways to be an entrepreneur, one’s impact affects not just their field but the society, culture, technology, and economy around us. While entrepreneurs can play a crucial role in driving transformative work, it’s essential to recognize the incredible motivation, dedication, and patience from one’s lived experience and community.
- Blake Van Putten of CISE
- Blake Van Putten is a phenomenal designer and activist known for his striking handbags. CISE was created in 2020 to showcase black artists’ work. However, Van Putten pivoted his company’s messaging in the summer of 2020 while the Black Lives Matter protests were occurring so he could bring funding and awareness to the Black community. In Van Putten’s words, “Protecting Black People.” In 2022 Van Putten was one of Forbes 30 under 30 for his work in CISE. Since then Van Putten has released a “Protect Black Women’ designer bag and sweat suit set to much acclaim.
- Dr. Mark Dean
- Although IBM and personal computers are not day-to-day tools we use, many of the inventions/strategies Dr. Mark Dean’s scientists and engineers pattened are still applied to the tech we use today. The color PC monitor and the first gigahertz chip are just 2 of the 3 patients he held with IBM. Even the ability to plug your computer in was Dr. Dean and Dennis Moeller’s work!
- Dr. James West
- Regardless of if you prefer texting or calling, you have at some point used Dr. James West’s co-invention, the electret microphone. The current-day implications of this one invention can now be seen in 90 percent of all microphones used today. Items such as telephones, sound & music recording equipment, and hearing aids contain Dr. West’s work.”
- Shirley Jackson
- There are many ways to define an entrepreneur. Shirley Jackson has made it a point to create, research, and educate people on nuclear power in the US. President Clinton even assigned Jackson to be the lead in Nucular Regulations in the US.
- Lisa Gelobter
- When thinking of entrepreneurs, Lisa Gelobter is one of the first to come to mind. She actively uses her dedication to computer science, business, DEI, and more to build better & inform prominent internet platforms such as BET, Hulu, and Shockwave. Gelobter has also served at the White as the Chief Digital Service Officer for the Department of Education.
- Thomas Bittings Jr
- Thomas Bittings Jr is majoring in electrical engineering and has received the Morehouse 2025 freshmen spotlight as well as the Network for Teaching and Entrepreneurship (NFTE) Midwest regional contest. This is primarily due to an automated showerhead Bittings invented called the “Goldilocks System,” the Goldilocks System heats up to the user’s pre-selected temperature.
- Patricia Bath
- Patricia Bath has accomplished a multitude of firsts in her ophthalmology career. Outside of her school and fellowship accomplishments, Bath patented her invention of laser cataract surgery, making her the first black woman doctor to have a medical patent.
- Willie Hobbs Moore
- Willie Hobbs Moore is known for being the first black woman to receive a doctorate in physics. “Moore also earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering (1958) and a master’s degree in 1961.”
Lastly, here are two young black entrepreneurs who have built their respective businesses up from toddlers to current ages!
- Maya Penn
- Maya, started doing her first ted talks at age 13, representing her sustainable fashion design, animations, and business deas. Her company showcases her work, voice, and love for sustainability.
- Mikaila is an Austin, Texas, entrepreneur who has spent over 10 years selling, creating, and marketing her company, Me & the Bees Lemonade, based on a family lemonade recipe passed down from her great-grandmother.