ESSENCE Ventures CEO, Richelieu Dennis speaks onstage during the 2018 Essence Festival presented by Coca-Cola at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on July 6, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Dennis announced the launch of a $100 million investment fund aimed to pump capital into businesses owned by minorities. Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Essence

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Richelieu Dennis, founder of SheaMoisture products and current owner of Essence Magazine, recently announced thelaunch of a $100 million investment fundaimed to pump capital into businesses owned by minorities.

The new endeavor, which Dennis namedNew Voices Fund, is part of a promise he made to elevate women and entrepreneurs of color back in 2017 when he sold SheaMoisture to Unilever. About $70 million is still up for grabs after an initial $30 million was invested into several black womens businesses.

Black women are covering a lot of ground as entrepreneurs, according to . The number of black women to raise more than $1 million from venture capitalists have tripled in the last year, increasing from 11 to 34, and black women have also seen a 250 percent hike in startups. The number of startups owned by the demographic now stands at 227, in comparison to 84 back in 2016.

Despite great entrepreneurial progress black women have founded businesses at higher rates than others in recent years investment lags dismally behind. In 2018, investment into black womens businesses represented a mere .02 percent of all venture capitalist dollars.

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