AileenAileen Agada tells the story of stopping women on the street to ask them where they got their hair done. This was no idle curiosity: because Aileen is a Black woman, when she found herself in a new city, she could not simply walk into a hair salon or even look up hair salons, as 91% of salons do not cater to Black women’s unique hair. After this experience, she began a widespread survey of Black women across Canada and the US, and found that the problem was as widespread as she thought.
 
Aileen was beginning to think about how she might address this challenge when she talked with a former GreenHouse student who suggested Aileen join the incubator to work on this idea.

While she is a busy student leader and in her second year of Environmental Engineering, this fall, Aileen did just that – and she’s very glad she did.
“Before we even arrived at GreenHouse, Tania asked us to list three to five things we each wanted to accomplish.  Tania and Brendan have held me accountable and have strived to see those goals come to pass.”
Aileen is also grateful for the connections and insights she has received through GreenHouse, whether those are scholarships, funding opportunities, introductions to lawyers and hair specialists, or lessons on presentations and other business skills. She has also enjoyed being part of a community of likeminded social entrepreneurs.

Today her venture, BeBlended is a developing online platform that aims to provide modern and accessible hair care services for Black women, connecting them with hairstylists they couldn’t find on their own. Aileen has developed a landing page (www.beblended.ca) where people can sign up and know what’s coming. Her next step is to find a developer who can help her build this platform. She aims to have a beta version of the site operational by April 2019 and plans to come back to GreenHouse in the spring in an effort to help haircare for Black women be as simple as it is for everyone else.

 

 

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