By Corrinne Hess

About 2 percent of venture capital funding goes to females, according to the Kauffman Foundation. And more than 20 percent of black entrepreneurs say lack of access to capital has affected their ability to be profitable, according to the foundation.

“It is systemic and institutionalized racism and sexism,” said Nicole Mason, president and CEO of Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Women’s Policy Research. “It’s not one or the other. It’s both of those things at the same time.”

From 2002 to 2012, the number of businesses owned by black women in the United States increased by nearly 200 percent. But businesses owned by black women have lower profits than all other racial and ethnic groups, the Institute found.

But Mason said despite the challenges, black women business owners just make it work.

“If their business closes, often they internalize it and say, ‘It’s something I didn’t do,’ or ‘I didn’t have the right business plan,'” Mason said. “But they don’t look at systems and lack of systems and supports in place to help their business grow and thrive.”

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