First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Tracy Garley: As of now, my family and I are doing just fine, I live in New York City, and my family is back in Detroit.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded GoFundHer.Com.
Tracy Garley: I was born in the West African Country of Liberia and moved to the United States at the age of eleven. I attended Western International High School in Detroit, MI & Graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor’s Degree (B.A.Sc.) in Food Industry Management.
At the age of 25, my parents gifted me with my very first business called Zarkap’s Purses & Accessories, an upscale boutique located right in the heart of Downtown Detroit. After operating Zarkpas Purses & Accessories, I changed Zarkpas to a West African Lifestyle Brand to educate the world about West African fashion and history.
From 2014 to 2017, I used my retail space to help girls and women jumpstart their small businesses. I saw firsthand how difficult it is for girls & women to receive money for business and enhance their lives. I really believe that if you love her and support her, then you should Go Fund Her. City Girls Big Dreams was a vision given to me by God at the age of 24. I remember my evening run on The Detroit River Walk. I was asking God what my purpose in life was. I looked at Canada and Detroit’s skyline, and the phrase “city girl with big dreams” popped up in my head. I started showcasing Detroit’s good side on my Instagram page by posting all the positive things I was doing: hosting a popup shop with other women entrepreneurs and operating all-year-round entrepreneurship internships with college and high school girls. Since 2014, I have hosted 150+ events inspiring girls and women to live their dreams. During this time, I connected with my business partner and internet entrepreneur Roger Mensah, together we built and launched GoFundHer.com to help women fund their dreams worldwide.
How does GoFundHer.Com innovate?
Tracy Garley: GoFundHer.com and City Girls Big Dreams are sister companies with teams dedicated to girls & women’s lives. City Girls Big Dreams (CGBD) is a social network organization, currently provides weekly one-hour Dream Session events online for girls and women to learn about GoFundHer.com while connecting with mentors to develop their projects, businesses, and ideas. GoFundHer.com is the world’s #1 women’s financial platform that lets you save money, invest money, and receive money.
Together, City Girls Big Dreams and GoFundHer.com empower girls, women, and their supporters to collaborate, build their network, and collect money online. Businesses and non-profit organizations can also take advantage of online sponsors and monthly sponsorships with a free GoFundHer.com account. For corporations and charity foundations, GoFundHer.com helps them find and send money directly to women anywhere in the world.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Tracy Garley: The pandemic made our internship program 100% virtual and moved our weekly dream sessions online. These Dream Sessions interview amazing, successful women who share their much-needed knowledge on topics such as the journey to entrepreneurship, the importance of health, beauty, and brains, how to self-publish your book, and getting your finances in order.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Tracy Garley: GoFundHer.com and City Girls Big Dreams are self-funded enterprises, which made it a constant challenge balancing resources between technology development and marketing. With less than 1% of venture capitalists writing us checks, black founders like myself have to spend extra energy balancing budgets instead of building products.
It’s no secret that only 2.2% of venture capital goes to women, and less than 1% goes to black businesses. Serious venture capital opportunities for black founders will never exist when 81% of venture capital firms don’t have a single black investor.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and GoFundHer.Com in the future?
Tracy Garley: City Girls Big Dreams virtual internships program will expand in 2021 to provide trained interns for other companies, and CityGirlsBigDreams.com will introduce fundraising features to compliment GoFundHer.com.
The virtual internships program runs 4 times a year, in the spring, summer, fall, and winter. I mentor groups of 10-15 for 12 weeks. They learn about social media marketing, public relations, and financial technology. I’m very honest with all of my interns; I try to give them the blueprint of getting ready for the real world and staying true to who they are. I host personalized Dream Sessions to really get to know my interns and see where they are in their life.
The internship programs have really been pushing me to be the best version of myself, and I love that I’m able to help ambitious young women grow their careers. Anytime I deal with stress and anxiety, the internship program reminds me that I need to shine that light and be a leader every day.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Tracy Garley: As for right now, I will say that we do not have any competitors. I say this because we are really just focused on making girls and women’s dreams come true. We try not to look at what the other companies are doing.
Your final thoughts?
Tracy Garley: I want to say GoFundHer.com, and City Girls Big Dreams are the best platforms on the internet. I needed to provide these opportunities for women around the world because women are still far from achieving social, economic, and political equality.
· Monthly Sponsorships – GoFundHer.com gives your friends, family & online network new ways to support you. Your supporters can sponsor you one-time or set up a monthly sponsorship for you for as low as $1. Your GoFundHer account will help you save that money and invest that money.
· Anonymous sponsors – To protect women’s privacy, GoFundHer.com doesn’t post who sponsored you or when you last received the money. A jealous ex-boyfriend doesn’t need easy access to your financial information or your supporters’ information.
· Profile Page Sponsors – GoFundHer profile pages can receive money & eliminate the need to produce content for fans or develop a specific sponsor page. This freedom lets you start receiving money faster.
· Available Worldwide – Direct deposits to your bank account in 19 countries, PayPal cash out in 200+ countries.
· Woman CEO – Tracy Garley is a Liberian-born entrepreneur and Founding Partner of GoFundHer.com. Tracy mentors college graduates in the spring, summer, and fall semesters, as part of an internship program designed for GoFundHer.com to grow the number of women with experience working at technology companies.