Leveraging her extensive experience in both business and technology, Melanie Akwule has combined these passions to create MINWO, a diversity, equity and inclusion tech company that works with Black-owned businesses to uncover the unique pain points they face. MINWO amplifies and addresses these needs by working with organizations that have set specific missions to fund and develop Black businesses and their founders.
We spoke with Akwule during an exclusive CEO-to-CEO conversation where she told us more about her unique business.
Please describe your leadership style.
I consider myself a coach. If you think about it, coaches set the plan, provide feedback before and after the race, but they can’t actually play the game for you (or in my sport, run the race). They can motivate you and inspire you and spend a lot of time tailoring their coaching style to each individual athlete. I’d say that’s my leadership style. I do my best to understand each team member so that I can coach them to be their best self.
What is your mission statement?
MINWO’s mission statement is to close the racial wealth gap through business ownership.
What three skills are critical for the future executive you hire for your organization?
Unconventional thinking: We stress challenging assumptions in everything we do.
Passion for Black business: There are nuances within this community that are critical to our company’s work.
Resiliency: Plan A doesn’t always work, but there’s no Plan B. The ability to create plans A.1, A.2, A.3, etc., is key.
How do you utilize technology to benefit your organization?
Technology is key in order for us to be able to support and match more Black founders with funding and business development resources. The platform that we’re building, Rialto, helps us do this by automating how we learn about the founders on the platform, their stage of business, and their pain points. It also helps us automate how we match them to resources and funding that makes sense for them.
Name your two favorite books.
Venture Deals by Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson.
Sell More Faster by Amos Schwartzfarb.