Up Next

Queen Boss

Centric’s ‘Queen Boss’ is the ‘Shark Tank’ for sisters

One black female entrepreneur will win $25,000 to start her own business

Ladies are boss and on Saturday, Queen Boss, the new eight-episode TV series hosted by Tracey Edmonds, will premiere on Centric. So go brush your shoulders off, ladies. The series is the first business competition reality series highlighting black female entrepreneurs.

The new reality show is the brainchild of executives at Smart Women. Smart Ideas. (SWSI), which has developed programming focused on giving a platform to women in business and entrepreneurship. SWSI’s web series, Queen Bee, attracted the attention of Black Entertainment Television and thus Queen Boss was conceived.

“Black women are and have always been pioneers and titans of industry — from Madame C.J. Walker to Lisa Price of Carole’s Daughter [one of the guest judges on Queen Boss]. We are proud to help nurture the next wave of women taking over,” Zola Mashariki, executive vice president, head of original programming, BET Networks, told Geri Stengel of Forbes Women.

According to the National Women’s Business Council, African-Americans are the only ethnic group in which women own more businesses (58.9 percent) than men. Although women are leading the pack in number of self-owned operations, black women are still seeing less money. For instance, white women still nearly triple African-American women in average revenue, earning approximately $189,037 to $69,101.

White-owned businesses overall outpaced black-owned shops, $552,079 to $58,119, in average revenue, according to the NWBC. Part of this discrepancy is attributed to the lack of generational wealth. The next struggle is receiving the funding to help get the business off the ground.

“African-American women are not sitting around waiting for opportunities to fall in their lap,” Mashariki told Stengel. “Whether it’s an online blog or a cupcake baking business or a multinational importing company, we aspire for more than just climbing the corporate ladder. Black women are choosing to bet on themselves and see their dreams through so they can grow real wealth.”

Reality TV doesn’t lack for shows focused on entrepreneurship — Shark Tank, Beyond the Tank, Undercover Boss, and Like a Boss, which will premiere on Oxygen on Jan. 19 and focus on executive assistants in Atlanta — but as it relates to shows focused on black women, Queen Boss will be a trendsetter.

Every week there will be new three new competitors who will pitch their ideas to a panel in the “Queen Boss Conference Room.” Each episode will also be broken down into two rounds: the pitch and competition.

During the first round, the three entrepreneurs will discuss their ideas with the judges, and the panel will deliberate on which of the two women will move onto the next round. In the final round, the two remaining contestants will have their pitches put through the business challenge, where they will have to venture off the set and onto the streets of New York City. The point of working outside of the room is for the contestants to demonstrate they can use their smarts, passion and ingenuity to take home the victory.

Six winners will reappear on the show for the semi-final and final rounds, in which the judges will pick one woman to win $25,000 — the “Queen Boss Start-up Fund” grand prize.

The judges will include Angela Benton, Kandi Burruss, Carla Hall, Lauren Lake, Lisa Price, Rakia Reynolds, Vanessa Simmons, Mikki Taylor and Robin Wilson.

Edmonds, a business woman herself and TV producer, has worked with entertainers such as Angela Bassett, Rosario Dawson, Mekhi Phifer, Paula Patton, Usher Raymond and more on projects such as BET’s College Hill and Jumping the Broom.

She is the chief executive of her production company, Edmonds Entertainment. She annually votes for the Oscars as a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and sits on the boards of the American Film Institute and the Producers Guild of America.

More on the judges:

Benton is the founder and CEO of NewME Accelerator, which works to increase minority and women entrepreneurs in the building of their businesses.

Burruss is a businesswoman, singer/songwriter/producer and actor on Real Housewives of Atlanta.

Hall, a former chef and model, is the co-host of ABC’s The Chew.

Lake, a lawyer and author, stars in her national show Lauren Lake Paternity Court.

Price, the CEO of Carol’s Daughter, is the founder and creator of the beauty and hair products originated in Brooklyn, New York.

Reynolds is a public relations mogul and the owner of Skai Blue.

Simmons was an actress on the family-focused MTV reality show Run’s House, and was also a host/judge of Project Runway: Threads. With her sister Angela, she formed the shoe and clothing line, Pastry.

Taylor is the former beauty director and cover editor for Essence.

Wilson, an interior designer, expert on clean homes and author, has been featured on HGTV and in several magazine and print articles.

Rhiannon Walker is an associate editor at The Undefeated. She is a drinker of Sassy Cow Creamery chocolate milk, an owner of an extensive Disney VHS collection, and she might have a heart attack if Frank Ocean doesn't drop his second album.