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Black Women in Tech: Becoming an Entrepreneur with Purpose

Since 2018, Solve has built a specific set of work focused on equity for underserved and underestimated communities in the US. The necessity for antiracist technology came to the forefront in 2020 after the public witnessed the murder of George Floyd and the disproportionate impact the Covid-19 pandemic had on marginalized communities. In response to these social issues, Solve launched the Antiracist Technology in the US Challenge as a part of our 2021 Global Challenges

Exhale App, a 2021 Antiracist Technology in the US Solver team, is utilizing the power of breathwork and meditation to create healing for Black, Indigenous, and women of color. The app was officially launched in August of 2020 by CEO and Founder Katara McCarty who was looking to do her part in healing a community. 

We got to sit down with McCarty during the Indigenous and Antiracist Innovators Summit and learn more about the path she is paving as an entrepreneur.

How do you see entrepreneurship and its relationship to creating equity for innovators in the United States?

In my opinion, entrepreneurship is one of the paths that can create equity. This path has allowed me to create from an authentic place, instead of having to fit into a mold controlled by white supremacy. To me, becoming an entrepreneur gives me the opportunity to create a legacy and the generational wealth that my mother wasn’t able to. Along with that, I get to share my experiences with future generations and prove that it is possible to create your own path towards wealth and sustainability. 

I launched the Exhale App in 2020 and it wasn’t until later that year when I met with the founder of an accelerator program that I realized I had started a tech company. Historically, as a Black woman, that hasn’t been possible for those like myself and other people of color. 

What is some advice that you could offer that was pivotal in creating the success of your platform?

My app would not have had the launch that it did without the relationships and community that I had built previously. I knew that the idea and mission that I wanted to highlight were important and crucial, however, when I began to share it with those in my own community, I was met with support. For example, as I was creating my go-to-market strategy, a local public relations firm that I had previously done business coaching at led the promotion. 

As entrepreneurs, we cannot create in silos and it is important to build authentic relationships with the individuals and leaders in your community. I didn’t build those relationships because I would need them later, I built them because I valued those voices and experiences.

(Katara McCarty (left) and Beth Chandler (right) partake in a discussion during the US: Black and Brown Innovator roundtable during Solve at MIT 2022)

What does the future hold for Exhale App and how is success measured for you?

Success for Exhale App isn’t just measured in revenue generated, but in the social movement we hope to create that teaches Black and people of color well-being practices. We understand that as people of color, there are systems in place that are set up to harm us. Despite that, we can still return to our breath and remember to take care of ourselves. In five to 10 years, success would also mean parents and guardians teaching their children about the importance of emotional well-being and breathwork.

I see myself in the joy of freedom in liberation. I hope to continue to enable marginalized individuals to take care of themselves in the midst of facing systems of oppression that weather our mental and emotional health. 

Katara and Exhale App highlight the importance of including Black women in technology and exemplifies the value of proximate leaders creating solutions for their communities. Social movements aren’t started overnight, but it is clear that the relationships and communities you foster play a role in their success. 

Support innovators like Katara by becoming a member of our community. Learn more here.

Related Challenge

Economic Prosperity

Antiracist Technology in the US

Learn more about this challenge

Related Event

Indigenous and Antiracist Innovators Summit

Hilton Minneapolis, MN

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