Angela Benton: “Being a single mom is not a setback. Being a single mom comes with a wealth of skills that do well in entrepreneurship.”
By Rachel Avraham
Across America these days, too many single mothers are struggling to survive. For the average woman, it is very difficult to balance a thriving career with being the mother to small kids. However, if a woman lacks a spouse and family, this struggle becomes much harder, especially during a pandemic and particularly if one is a member of a minority group or comes from an immigrant background.
Sadly, about 30 percent of American families are single-parent families. This means that 25% of all American children are being raised by single parents, which is three times larger than the global average that stands at 7%. During the pandemic, young single moms suffered the steepest declines in employment and those who do work are the most worried about having their hours cut or losing their careers.
According to the latest statistics, African American and Hispanic women constitute fifty percent of the single moms in America. The National Institute of Health claims that African American and Hispanic single moms are statistically more likely to live in poverty than single moms who are Asian or Caucasian. Furthermore, it should be added that single moms who are immigrants also lack the familial support needed that would make their lives easier as single parents.
For women that were compelled to divorce and to raise their children completely on their own without help, Nicole Levine, the founder and CEO of HCH Management, is an inspiration. In 1990, as a single mother of a child age 4 and another one under age 2, she founded HCH Management, after she was struggling to teach in the morning, clean homes in the evening and sell ads to the local newspaper in order to earn a meager living to support herself and her family. As an immigrant who came to New York to live the American dream, her family was living on the other side of the earth, unable to help her.
Back then, Levine related: “I was not thinking to build a business in 1994,” yet over the span of several decades, she was able to build a few enterprises that are the largest of their kind in New York, which employs now 200 people: “We pride ourselves on our quality and our unparalleled services to residential communities and the government.” Among Levine’s successful projects was performing restoration work for Ground Zero following September 11 and restoration work for 40 police stations that were flooded following Hurricane Sandy. On top of that, she constructed a seaport, and an airport terminal.
During the corona period, Levine was also heavily involved in the struggle to protect New York from the pandemic via utilizing a special patent technology: “This product was utilized in hotels, train stations, city and state offices, etc. This product enables these areas to remain open to the public.” Levine has worked for the past 18 years with both Medicare and Medicaid in addition to performing city and state contracts.
Aside from engaging in restoration, construction, termination and cleaning services for HCH Management, Levine also established Hygia Natural, which manufactures EPA exempt products: “We designed a line of pet products and a full line of cleaning products that are all naturally derived. Now, we are working on a full line of cosmetic products, which are all premium using patent technology to solve complex hair problems and other beauty products.”
According to Levine, “As a single mom, I used my ingenuity to build companies from the ground up. Every company that I create works to solve problems.” As a result, in 2011, Levine was named New York Businesswoman of the Year. She has also rang the bell at NASDAQ, made INC 500, and visited the White House, among other honors.
Levine is not the only single minority mom to thrive in the business world. Angela Benton, the founder and CEO of New Me, managed to be both a single mom and to accelerate 300 different startups , raising over $17 million in venture capital funding. She told Entrepreneur: “Being a single mom is not a setback. Being a single mom comes with a wealth of skills that do well in entrepreneurship like multitasking, creativity, managing and/or operating on a budget and problem solving, to say the least. I don’t know about you, but I would rather put my money on someone with these skills rather than a new college grad.”
In conclusion, single moms should work hard and make their dream a reality. There are single minority moms, like Levine and Benton, who have lived the American dream and managed despite the obstacles in their way to become thriving success stories. Therefore, even though the pandemic has not been eliminated yet and we are still living in difficult times, we should do everything in our power to encourage single moms to be successful and to thrive in the business world, as it is through their ingenuity that the American economy can begin to recover.
Rachel Avraham is an Israel-based journalist and a political analyst working at the Safadi Center for International Diplomacy, Research, Public Relations and Human Rights. She is the author of “Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings in the American, Israeli and Arab Media.”