Drawing inspiration from the thriving Black town of Greenwood, Oklahoma, better known as Black Wall Street, a Howard University alum is looking to help the Black economy pick up where it left off by launching his own venture capital initiative.
The Greenwood Project, founded by entrepreneur and digital marketing strategist Rashaan Everett, is a one-of-a-kind venture aimed at pumping wealth into the Black middle class by encouraging investment in Black-owned entities. The thought is that the more Black people invest in ourselves, the more wealth we attain and the closer we get to achieving financial independence.
It’s been almost 100 years since Black Wall Street was burned to the ground by a group of angry white supremacists in 1921. Everett called it “disappointing” that African-Americans still haven’t been able to pick up economically where our ancestors left off years ago.
“I think it’s really important to realize that moral empathy and asking people to feel bad for us and care about our lives isn’t working,” he told Atlanta Black Star. “So we’re going to have to add some economic leverage and do some more tangible action if we’re really going hope to really earn any progress.”
Everett’s Greenwood Project also was an opportunity for Black economic growth born out of President Obama’s Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act. Passed in April 2012, the law essentially allows everyday citizens to invest in private companies.
Policies previously set in place by the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) only allowed wealthy, “accredited investors” to pour money into privately owned businesses. Unsurprisingly, an overwhelming majority of the investors are white.
For Everett, this posed a problem, as only 2 percent of venture capital was invested in Black business owners last year. The serial entrepreneur saw Obama’s JOBS Act as an opportunity for Black people to finally begin investing in our own projects — Black startups funded by Black dollars.
Source: Atlanta Black Star | Tanasia Kenney