Maggie Noe is a rising junior at WashU studying global studies and entrepreneurship, and the co-founder of Businesses United in Diversity. During the Black Lives Matter protests in June 2020, Noe was inspired by the work of young leaders taking charge to create positive change. In an effort to give back to her own community, Noe and her co-founder Marine Nimblette started Businesses United in Diversity, which is a local business festival in Kingston, New York featuring BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) businesses and aims to stimulate economic growth in the community.
One of the main reasons Noe started Businesses United in Diversity with Nimblette was to counteract the systemic hurdles and effects BIPOC entrepreneurs have faced in the Hudson Valley. Noe says that, “BIPOC businesses receive an unequal sharing of financial and government resources, discriminatory lending practices, and absence of community support due to systemic racist ideals. COVID-19 made this reality even more consequential.” To counteract these systemic hurdles, Businesses United in Diversity hosts local festivals featuring BIPOC entrepreneurs. With the support from Ulster County, Representative Antonio Delgado, and local nonprofits, Businesses United in Diversity has successfully directed financial support to BIPOC businesses and entrepreneurs, making a direct impact in the community.
In terms of the next steps for Businesses United in Diversity, Noe and her team are planning to host the final event of their summer series of local business festivals with the ultimate goal of continuing to counteract systemic racism posed against BIPOC owned businesses in the Hudson Valley. After this, Noe plans to focus on fundraising for the venture’s next set of initiatives and focusing on ways they can expand their efforts to support local BIPOC businesses.
When asked about what she loves most about being an entrepreneur, Noe says that her favorite aspect is the community connections, particularly with local government officials, nonprofits, businesses, and other members of the community. Noe says that “Starting a business is a community effort. As you invest in your community, you can see how your community invests in you and your goals.” As Businesses United In Diversity aims to make a positive impact in the community of BIPOC businesses and entrepreneurs, Noe looks forward to expanding her professional network as she continues to push barriers and fight systemic racism.
One piece of advice that Noe wants future entrepreneurs to have is to discover and work towards something you are passionate about and find a trusted business partner you will genuinely enjoy working with. Noe says without her passion for social activism and the help of her co-founder Nimblette, none of the work that Businesses United in Diversity has accomplished with the BIPOC entrepreneurial community would have been possible. Noe says that one of the biggest lessons she has learned as an entrepreneur is that if you ultimately don’t do something, it doesn’t get done. There will be times other people ignore or reject your ideas. When this happens, it will take a lot of effort in that moment to push back, and having a dedicated business partner along your side to push those barriers with you will be extremely valuable.
To learn more about Businesses United in Diversity, click here to listen to this podcast featuring both Maggie Noe and Marine Nimblette: https://radiokingston.org/en/broadcast/i-want-what-she-has/episodes/maggie-noe-and-marine-nimblette-from-businesses-united-in-diversity