AUGUST 17, 2021 — Located near North 23rd and Austin Ave. is a tiny little food truck where customers are made to feel like family.
"That right there is the most valuable thing I can give through my business, the connection. Connecting with one another and showing each other unconditional love and when you eat my food, you'll taste that," Shamica Evans said.
Evans, owner of Waffle Chic is adding a whole new meaning to sweet and savory, with southern flare.
"I am a chicken and waffles business that specializes in gluten free waffles so that everybody can eat my chicken and waffles," she said.
When you walk up to the window with your order, everything is made from scratch.
The chicken is fried fresh and the waffles are cooked right there on the spot.
Evans was born in Rosebud Texas and raised in Marlin. She calls herself a true Central Texan and opening her business in Waco was a no brainer.
However, she said, "getting started was the biggest challenge and not having enough resources in the beginning to be business savvy."
Across the U.S., Black women are the fastest growing demographic of entrepreneurs.
According to research by American Express, since 2007, the number of businesses owned by Black women has grown 164%.
Despite the hustle and bustle of this growing trend, Waco Economist Ray Perryman said Black women are at a disadvantage when it comes to funding.
"The bottom line, for a lot of historical reasons that are unfortunate and desperately need to be addressed, is that they haven't really had an equal shot as everyone else along the way.
The study by American Express also found that in venture capital, men get the majority of funding with only 2% going to woman-founded businesses.
Of that 2%, a very small portion goes to women of color.
Access to capital may also influence the type of business an individual opens.
That's why you may see more Black women owning businesses in leisure, hospitality, transportation or retail -- All industries severely impacted by the pandemic.
"Typically if you can differentiate your product and create a customer base for it, you have a very good opportunity to be successful. That's the norm. The difficulty we found was the pandemic made that very hard. It's also difficult if you don't have enough capital to sustain yourself through that so the combination of both made it harder to maintain," Perryman said.
Evans said organizations like Start-Up Waco or the Cen-Tex African American Chamber of Commerce were critical to helping her open up shop and stay open.
"Being apart of those chambers helped me have the ability to grow my business. Being a single woman, a single black woman, it has its trials but as long as you keep going forward and not accepting defeat, anything is possible."
She's also using her business to give back to her community.
"I employ a lot of young African American women because I want to give them the ability to learn and grow and understand what it is to be an entrepreneur," Evans said.
Other resources to learn more about racial disparities in Entrepreneurship sector.