Category: Black Business

Crowdfunding for the Black Community

Crowdfunding for the Black Community

Crowdfunding is essentially the opposite of the mainstream approach to business finance. Traditionally, if you want to raise capital to start a business, launch a new product, or develop real estate you would need to pack up your business plan, market research, and prototypes, and then shop your idea around to a limited pool or wealthy individuals or institutions.

These funding sources included banks, angel investors, and venture capital firms, really limiting your options to a few key players. In the Black community, the number of Black founders obtaining funding from these sources is dismal at best.  Black Americans’ entrepreneurial experiences contrast dramatically with these groups. Modern disadvantages experienced by blacks include racial segregation, low levels of earnings, lack of wealth, poor education, lack of experience in a family business, employer discrimination and difficulty in getting a loan.

In April 2000, a congressional study found that “Most banks largely ignored African-American neighborhoods, even those with above-average incomes,” forcing many blacks to depend on expensive and abusive lenders. In addition, while the average white family’s wealth in 2009 was $113,000, the average black family’s wealth was a fraction of that, $5,700. These liabilities make it harder for blacks than other groups to obtain loans, lines of credits and other financial services which are crucial to starting and running a business.

You can think of this fundraising approach as a funnel, with you and your pitch at the wide end and your audience of investors at the closed end. Fail to point that funnel at the right investor or firm at the right time, and that’s your time and money lost.   

Crowdfunding platforms, on the other hand, turns that funnel upside down. By giving, the entrepreneur, a single platform to build, showcase, and share your pitch resources, this approach dramatically streamlines the traditional model. With crowdfunding, it’s much easier for you to get your opportunity in front of more interested parties and give them more ways to help grow your business, from investing thousands in exchange for equity to contributing $20 in exchange for a first-run product or other rewards.

The 5 Benefits of Crowdfunding

 

  • ReachBy using a crowdfunding platform like Buy The Block, you have access to thousands of non-accredited and accredited investors who can see, interact with, and share your fundraising campaign.
  • PresentationBy creating a crowdfunding campaign, you go through the invaluable process of looking at your business from the top level—its history, traction, offerings, addressable market, value proposition, and more—and boiling it down into a polished, easily digestible package.
  • PR & Marketing – From launch to close, you can share and promote your campaign through social media, email newsletters, and other online marketing tactics. As other media outlets cover the progress of your fundraising, you can double down by steering traffic to your website and other company resources.
  • Proof of Concept – Presenting your concept or business to the masses affords an excellent opportunity to validate and refine your offering. As potential investors begin to express interest and ask questions, you’ll quickly see if there’s something missing that would make them more likely to buy in.
  • Efficiency – One of the best things about online crowdfunding is its ability to centralize and streamline your fundraising efforts. By building a single, comprehensive profile to which you can funnel all your prospects and potential investors, you eliminate the need to pursue each of them individually. So instead of duplicating efforts by printing documents, compiling binders, and manually updating each one when there’s an update, you can present everything online in a much more accessible format, leaving you with more time to run your business instead of fundraising.

Understanding Crowdfunding for The Black Community

What Is Crowdfunding

The passing of President Obama’s JOBS Act in April 2012 ushered in crowdfunding as the word of the day. While this concept has arguably been around for centuries, it is still formally recognized as a new industry to many consumers, particularly those outside the United States. Crowdfunding is, by definition, “the practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet.”  

Why Crowdfunding Developed

There is a seemingly nonstop global recession, and small businesses are struggling more than ever to stay afloat, and entrepreneurs are facing terrible odds.  Small businesses finding capital for expansion from the banking industry has been unfeasible for the last seven years, and startups finding the needed funding in the more traditional venues of Angel Investors or VCs seems to be impossible. But, in this financial environment Crowdfunding offers these individuals an increased probability of success by showcasing their businesses and projects to the entire world via the Internet and social media.

How Crowdfunding Works

There are numerous crowdfunding platforms where consumers can safely ask for or donate money. While each site offers their unique culture, the general concept is the same across the board. Project creators can create a profile typically containing a short video, an introduction to their project, a list of rewards per donation, and some text and images to elaborate. The idea is to create a compelling message that will resonate with the readers.

Why Crowdfunding Works

The idea of “it’s not what you do, but why you do it,” is the message that drives crowdfunding. By focusing on a bigger purpose, the impact of a brand or project will be able to create a unique community of like-minded individuals. Each campaign is set for a goal (a publicly stated amount of money) and a fixed number of days. Once the project is launched, each day will be counted down and the money raised will be tallied up for visitors to follow its success.

How It Works in Practice

 

Instead of traditional investors, crowdfunding campaigns are funded by the general public. Typically, most successful projects receive about 25-40% of their revenue from their first, second and third degree of connections. This could include friends, family, work acquaintances, or anyone that the owner is connected to, including their second and third-degree connections. Once a project has seen some traction, unrelated consumers start coming out of the woodwork to support campaigns they believe in. There is a huge misconception that creating a successful crowdfunding campaign is as simple as hitting submit and waiting for it to go viral. While this has happened to many brands, the vast majority of projects require an immense amount of marketing and management skill and phenomenal effort on the part of the project creator. Utilizing social media, creating email distribution lists before the project launches, contacting local media, are all necessary steps to take if you are serious about your goal. Remember, this is not a platform to ask for a handout. If you expect people to join your cause, you had better be prepared to prove your salt.

Why Investment Clubs and Crowdinvesting Will Build Black Wealth

Introduction

The 2012 JOBS Act and digital communication tools have ushered in the age of the crowd economy where platforms like Buy the Block allow African-Americans to invest with their peers to provide the needed capital to support Black entrepreneurs and real estate developers by investing with our peers. Black people in the United States have a combined purchasing power of $1.3 trillion which would make us the 13th largest economy in the world, yet our wealth is encroaching zero as our income and education attainment continue to rise. We must as a community, embrace the crowd economy pool our immense financial resources through impact investing, crowd investing, and entrepreneurship to create companies and build inter-generational wealth.

What is an Investment Club

Investment clubs are a great idea for Black professional organizations and Black churches. Why do I say this? A lot of people that are new to investing don’t want to go it alone so joining or creating an investment club provides the structure to build confidence and investment knowledge for people that don’t have a lot of investment experience.  An investment club consists of members who study stocks, bonds, real estate, and private placement investments. The goal is to have each member take an industry and report to the group why they think it is a great investment. Many times they will pool their money together in order to make joint investment decisions.


Crowdinvesting Has Opened the World of Private Placement

Crowdinvesting will allow tens of millions of ordinary people will be able to buy shares in startups and early-stage companies online. This is a dramatic departure from the restrictive rules that U.S. investors and entrepreneurs had lived under since 1933. The deals that make equity offerings will be the same kinds of deals that have been making equity offerings to angel investors for decades, through more traditional financing channels. Many of the deals that have raised all the money they can from founders, family, and friends (the three Fs) and still need capital to grow, but are still too small to attract the interest of commercial banks and venture capital firms. Will now be available crowd investors at a much earlier stage which increases the risk, but also increases the potential reward.

 

Real Estate Investing Through Crowd Investing

Entrepreneur Lynn P. Smith is the founder and CEO at Buy The Block one of the only Black-owned platforms in the country that is dedicated to making investments in real estate as a group more accessible. The movement is presently on its way to recording massive success in funding for diverse development projects across Black communities in the US. This enviable initiative offers every Black American an opportunity to invest as little as $100, and connect with other investors – with an added advantage of helping every member buy a piece of their first block. With the platform, acquiring property or block of choice in one’s local area is achievable. Getting the funds to make such a big difference can also be without hassles.

 

Leading the Way Through Policy and Technology

The ability to share wealth depending on each person’s investment makes it a win-win situation for all block investors. With the focus on the Black communities in America, Buy The Block is on track to raise millions of dollars in funding for development projects in these communities. Having the capacity to take on more significant projects and contracts, Buy the Block believes that hey will soon change the face of crowdfunding real estate investing in the country and the wealth building process for Black America. The first African American-owned crowdfunding portal, its symbolic power, and economic potential are undeniable, especially in the commercial real estate. Buy the Block creates a revolution in early-stage finance that is changing the way inner-city African-American communities relate to capital formation, real estate development, entrepreneurship, and job creation.

Black Professionals Organizations

There are many Black Professional organizations that have hundreds of thousands of members if not a million members. These organizations are not only helpful for African-Americans to learn to navigate in their professions, but they could be the very foundation of creating investment clubs. The associations already exist all they have to do is form the clubs and begin investing via crowd investing. For example, the Association of Black Accounts has over 200,000 members. If we are to make a move toward economic and political empowerment as a group then the path is being blazed by crowd economy entrepreneurs.

The Black Church

Annually Black Churches rack in over $14 billion tax-free, yet this demographic data has grown worse as time moves forward into the future. In many Black neighborhoods, there is a church on many corners (sometimes 3-4 per block), a liquor store, and businesses that aren’t owned by Blacks. These businesses that are not Black-owned plague our communities in many ways. The majority of people that live in the Black community don’t own the place where they reside.

With a goal to build wealth and community equity using Regulation Crowdfunding and impact investing. The Black Church has a significant role in making this goal a reality. One way forward is to form investment clubs inside of Black churches that use crowdfunding and crowd investing to empower the community both politically and economically. There must be accountability of the money to improve the situation of the people through the crowd economy.

Takeaway

The United States has been and continues to be very hostile to Black people and in response to this high level of state-sponsored hostility, many African-American professionals have formed their own associations. These associations provide a path forward for young professionals and the opportunity to find mentors, but in the age of the crowd economy, there is an opportunity for these same associations to create investment clubs that will allow group investment in Black-owned businesses and real estate development through crowd investment. The Black Church has a long history of providing guidance for the Black community. The Black Church was one of the primary institutions that taught the former slaves how to take full advantage of their new freedom and US citizenship. During the Civil Rights era the Church led the way in the fight for full citizenship, and today the Black Church must take its place as the leader in the fight for economic empowerment through crowd investing for business and real estate development.  

BBNomics and Black Crowdfunding

Introduction

10 years ago, crowdfunding emerged after the 2008 financial crisis in response to the difficulties faced by early-stage enterprises attempting to generate marketing traction and funding. As the inner-city African-American community embraces its potential, and the substantial reservoirs of untapped entrepreneurial talent are beginning to emerge daily the economic of these communities will change for the better as jobs, businesses and wealth are created in these once disinvested communities. There are millions of inner-city individuals and organizations that are able to make small crowdfunding investments in community businesses.

The Crowd Economy

As a crowdfunding consultant, my hope is that this trend will grab a foothold in inner-city African-American communities and continue to grow as friends families and community organizations will finance business ideas with crowdfunding’s online extension to access the capital and national reach of the community, or “the crowd”. Now, with the recent news of crowd investing options for startups, I look forward to seeing growing startups and real estate development engage in crowd investing to continue to grow their brand loyalty with their crowd and be able to spread the wealth through retail investing in local businesses and real estate development.

Black People’s role in Pop Culture

As a community, inner-city Blacks tend to set the trends in popular  American culture from music to fashion and we are beginning to become strong authors and filmmakers. These are all areas that have long been dominated by a relatively small number of wealthy and powerful people that determined what products made it to market and they would reap the profits. Today, driven by the crowd economy the dynamics will change as our community embraces crowdfunding as a driving force for creativity, marketing, and funding. No longer will our creativity and entrepreneurship be exploited for the gains of other communities.   

Building Wealth From Our Creativity

Black consumers are trendsetters and tastemakers for young consumers of all races, according to the Selig Center. They define mainstream culture and wield immense influence over how Americans choose to spend their money. Any marketing campaign targeting millennials “must include messages to reach African-American youth. With the advent of crowdfunding and crowd investing we now have the ability to create, market, fund, and distribute our creative products while building wealth as entrepreneurs and retail investors.

Takeaway

BBNomics – ‘A Crowdfunding Site,’ soon after many more initiatives were designed and privately financed to help our community organizations. This journey is long and extremely difficult, but I refuse to give up. My personal goal is for these platforms to raise millions in funding to help entrepreneurs and organizations open their doors to the public. BBNomics-Buy Black Economics other goals are to teach the fundamentals of group economics, group-love, and financial literacy through education, keynote speeches, panelists and most importantly, funding many start-up ventures. BBNomics-Buy Black Economics is all about group reliance, real money wisdom, for our people who want to beat the odds, prove everyone wrong and become a beacon of light in the world by living life with a purpose. The aim is making an impact by providing platforms for everyone to actively engage in fundamental principles of group economics, grouplove, financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and philanthropy. It’s for our people who are serious about taking their lives — and their POWER — to the next level!

Why Opportunity Zones May Be Good For Urban Real Estate Development

Introduction

Opportunity Funds were created in the 2017 tax law to promote investment in the development of low-income communities across the US. They offer investors federal tax advantages that are only available through the new Opportunity Zone program. When investors put their money to work in qualified Opportunity Zones through a qualified Opportunity Fund, they can defer and reduce their capital gains tax burden. investors can defer and reduce realized capital gains on the principal invested, and even eliminate their capital gains tax burden on returns earned through the sale of investments in qualified Opportunity Zones.

What Are Opportunity Zones

Opportunity Zones are census tracts of low-income areas designated by state governors and certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. These areas are being targeted for economic development through the newly created Opportunity Zone program. Investors can invest in the development of qualified Opportunity Zones through Opportunity Funds, which can provide significant federal capital gains tax advantages, both immediately and over the long term.

Why Opportunity Zones are Perfect for Buy The Block

Buy The Block is positioned to take full advantage of the Opportunity Zone laws and it has a very similar mission to provide capital for the redevelopment of  inner-city real estate. The Opportunity Zone program was created to revitalize economically distressed communities using private investments rather than taxpayer dollars. To stimulate private participation in the Opportunity Zone program, taxpayers who invest in Qualified Opportunity Zones are eligible to benefit from capital gains tax incentives available exclusively through the program.

Why Affordable Housing  Is a Must

According to an article by UrbanLand By 2025, affordability will have lost over 25 million  units based on the expiration of government subsidies and another 3 million unities of organic affordable housing units those are unites not subsidized but develop naturally occurring affordable price points. But what will not change—and in fact only stands to increase—is the demand for affordable housing for people on fixed incomes and those earning 40 to 120 percent of the area median income (AMI).

Takeaway

At the same time, members of a new generation of “social-impact investors” are eager to place their equity in housing as a platform to address a variety of issues they care about, including economic mobility and disparities in health outcomes and educational attainment. Opportunity Zones working in collaboration with with real estate crowdinvesting platforms have the potential  to create expanding pools of equity investors with the potential to shore up the supply of affordable housing while creating a rapidly expanding housing workforce.

Women Owned Businesses and Crowdfunding

Women are Driving Business Growth

Women are creating more businesses than their male counterparts, and African American and Latina women are driving that trend. However, women, especially non-white women, still lag in  revenue and job creation. According to the report State of Women Owned Businesses From 2017 to 2018, women–owned firms—defined as firms that are at least 51% owned and controlled by women—grew by 6% compared to 1.6% growth by all firms. Women make up 40% of all firms, but their numbers have been growing at an average 4% per year for the past decade, compared to 1% for all firms. If that growth rate continues, women are on track to become the majority of small business owners.

Women Owned Businesses by the Numbers

These women-owned businesses employ 8% of the total private sector workforce and contribute 4.3% of total revenues. When firms that are equally owned by women and men are included, those numbers jump firms at least 50% owned by women account for 48% of all businesses, employ 14% of the workforce and generate $3.1 trillion in revenues (7% of revenues). Yet Less than 1% of black women founders get VC funding. What does this mean for the future of inclusive innovation?

The Failure of Venture Capital

The Venture Capital industry is 70% white, 82% male, and only employed eight black women and two Latinas. With such homogeneous and insular industry statistics as these, it can easily lead to under funding, or not even finding, good technology and founders born of these communities. Black women are the most educated and entrepreneurial group in the U.S., yet they receive less than 1% of VC funding. What is the solution to this financial and cultural conundrum.

Enter Crowdfunding

While many women pursue the dream of having their own business, many fail because of insufficient capital to cover start-up and operational costs. And that’s unfortunate because research shows that women-led business enterprises are more profitable. Enter Crowdfunding frustrated female entrepreneurs struggling to get funding should set up a Kickstarter or Indiegogo page. While female-led ventures have long struggled to get financial backing from banks and investors (who are predominantly male), a new Indiana University report finds that women actually have an easier time getting money on crowdfunding platforms than men do.

The Reality of Life in An Urban Food Desert

Introduction 

People living in food deserts also find it difficult to locate foods that are culturally appropriate for them, and dietary restrictions, such as lactose intolerance, gluten allergies, etc., also limit the food choices of those who do not have access to larger chain stores that have more selection. Additionally, studies have found that urban residents who purchase groceries at small neighborhood stores pay between 3 and 37 percent more than suburbanites buying the same products at supermarkets.

The High Cost of Being Poor

Healthier foods are generally more expensive than unhealthful foods, particularly in food deserts. For instance, while the overall price of fruits and vegetables in the US increased by nearly 75 percent between 1989 and 2005, the price of fatty foods dropped by more than 26 percent during the same period. While such inflation has strained the food budgets of many families regardless of their financial status, the higher cost of healthy foods often puts them entirely beyond the monetary means of many lower-income people.

The Consequence of Cheap Food

While unhealthy eating may be economically cheaper in the short-term, the consequences of long-term constrained access to healthy foods is one of the main reasons that ethnic minority and low-income populations suffer from statistically higher rates of obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other diet-related conditions than the general population. Whatever their age, obesity puts people at a greater risk for serious, even fatal health disorders particularly coronary heart disease and diabetes,] the first and seventh leading causes of death in the US respectively.

Shining a Light on Food Deserts

Public awareness of the formidable problems posed by food deserts is growing, thanks largely to the efforts of community activists, entrepreneurs and government officials committed to increasing people’s access to healthy food options. Million investment from the government focused on providing tax breaks to supermarkets that open in food deserts.  Many urban areas are also implementing initiatives locally to solve their food desert challenges.

Food Deserts are Real in Chicago

In Chicago more than 500,000 residents mostly African-American live in food deserts, and an additional 400,000 live in neighborhoods with a preponderance of fast food restaurants and no grocery stores nearby.  Some food justice activists have sought to close this gap by opening food co-ops in under served areas where supermarkets have historically been unsuccessful. In addition to selling fresh and organic fruits and vegetables, bulk whole grains and beans, and soy-based meat substitutes, some of these stores also offer cooking and nutrition classes to educate the public about making healthy food choices.

The Roots & Vine Solution

Roots & Vine Produce and Café Inc., is a start-up aiming to revolutionize the convenience store concept.  “Connecting Farmers To People & Reconnecting People With Real Food.” Their core mission is to target and eliminate food deserts in blighted neighborhoods, create jobs for the communities They serve as well as specialized franchise opportunities. They are dedicated to building relationships with family farmers nationwide to supply our locations, that will increase their bottom line and provide Roots & Vine Produce and Cafés with the best quality produce available.

They are offering communal space alongside the store gives each location the possibility to connect with people of the community, host workshops, classes, food demos and healthy dialogue with customers to introduce to them healthier food options, recipes and solutions to reduce food related illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

Takeaway

Please visit Roots and Vines offer as they sprout up in food deserts across the country and will quickly make the new startup a household name. Inserting themselves into blighted communities and providing fresh produce, bulk dry goods and essentials in areas that need it most and creating new markets for Black farmers.  

Invest in the First Black Woman-Owned Cafe & Farmers Market Franchise That Will Be Owned by the Community

Nationwide — Roots & Vine Produce and Café, spearheaded by Ena Jones, a single mother of 3, born and raised in Chicago, has set its Grand Opening for this fall 2018 on Chicago’s South Side in the Morgan Park Community. The plan is to create a Wi-Fi friendly café with a healthy menu, coffee, smoothies, and juices as well as tempting pastries.

Their in-house farmers market, supplied with fresh produce and bulk dry goods, are grown from black farmers nationwide. The company aspires to be a low cost and cashless grocery chain at the convenience store level to help eliminate food deserts across the country.

With nearly a quarter of the American population living in a food desert, access to fresh and healthy produce is crucial in the battle to reduce diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and other food-related illnesses in our families. Stop by to join in healthy discussions with their #GreenTableTalks, food demos and workshops; as they create jobs and unique franchise opportunities for people of the community.

#GreeTableTalk

Roots & Vine is a solution looking for investors. There is an opportunity to join their mission and invest at BuyTheBlock.com, with as little as $100. You can look at their offering and truly encourage the community, family and friends to live a healthy life. The momentum of Roots & Vine Produce and Café as they sprout up to bring water to food deserts across the country will quickly make the new startup a household name.

This startup is dedicated to addressing the problem of urban food deserts and revitalizing blighted communities. Connecting farmers directly with consumers and employing community residents, Roots & Vine aims to strengthen communities in several ways:

#1 – Offering fresh produce and bulk dry goods at the convenience store level.
#2 – Providing Farmers an economic opportunity to market their products in every store.
#3 – Providing local employment opportunities in serving communities.
#4 – Providing Communal Space in a daily open, free Wi-Fi café.
#5 – The café will offer food demos, workshops, and education on nutrition and meal planning that will enable those of the community to take control of their own health.

About the founder

Ena Jones is a caterer and seasoned entrepreneur with twenty years of experience and counting. She is also a self-published writer & owner of Everyday Butterfly Home Spa Collection, a self-care product line of 100% natural and organic ingredients.

Notes for Editors: Invest in their effort and bring water to the desert, visit their Buy the Block page at https://buytheblock.com/campaign/connecting-farmers-to-people-reconnecting-people-to-real-food

PRESS CONTACT:
Ena Jones
Roots & Vine Produce and Café Inc.
773-979-0199
EJones@RootsAndVineInc.com

Posted on October 6, 2018 By Staff With 0 comments

3 Reasons Why Black People Should Take Back The Beauty Industry

Barbershops and beauty parlors are often focal points for entire communities. They’re part beauty parlor, part gathering place, and all about the community.

That’s why we’re proud to announce an effort to fund and open twelve beauty parlors and nail salons in 28 months.

An Ideal Investment

Beauty parlors and nail salons represent ideal investment opportunities for underserved in a number of ways.

  1. The overall financial commitment is relatively small. Nail salons don’t require the massive floor space or expensive equipment of a factory. They don’t have the low margins or spoilage found in restaurants and food stores. They’re easier to fund and easier to get off the ground.
  2. They serve a broad niche. Everyone wants to look good. We can talk all we want about looks not being all this or all that but at the end of the day, everyone wants to look good. That means the base of potential customers is a large one. If a nail salon opens in a community that isn’t already being served by one, its chances of success are quite high.
  3. They’re an investment in the community. Nail salons don’t ship overseas. They don’t hire workers from outside the community. They quite literally function to make people in the community feel better about themselves. That works on a micro level with their customers, but they will employ members of the community who will spend their wages at other businesses in the community and the entire community profits.

An Ideal Entrepreneurship Opportunity

Those same factors make nail salons an outstanding entrepreneurship opportunity, so we’re looking for entrepreneurs in underserved communities to step up and make a difference.

We’re looking for hard-working people of good character who are dedicated to making their communities a better place. With our help, we think you can make a real difference for real people.

We’re offering some training and other assistance that we think can really make the difference for the right candidate. That includes an e-book with information on budgeting, dealing with suppliers, marketing, and more.

On top of that, we’ve got in-house experts who can help you with crowd-investing strategies and tactics that will help your project full fund a quickly as possible.

Be the Change

If you want to change your life while transforming your community, this is your opportunity. They always say that the best social program is a job, and they aren’t wrong, but the always neglect to mention who does the hiring.

Here’s your chance to do the hiring. Here’s your chance to build on the strength of your neighborhood to make that neighborhood even stronger.

Businesses that are owned by community residents and which employ community residents make the community just that much stronger and more cohesive. Invest in your neighbors. Invest in yourself. Change the world—one neighborhood at a time. Join the movement!   https://buytheblock.com/campaign/oh-so-polished-beauty-lounge

Posted on October 4, 2018 By Staff With 0 comments

Digital Marketing and Crowd Investing

Introduction

While at the Crowd Invest Summit in Los Angeles back in September, 2017 the event confirmed what I had suspected for a very long time.  Just like rewards based crowdfunding required a very powerful strategic marketing and PR plan the same would be required in the world of Title III Crowd Investing. Our panel was very lively and the audience was very excited and engaged. You need to have a strategy for putting your capital raise in front of enough people who are willing to invest in you so that you reach your goal, otherwise the whole process is a waste of time. And with only a few exceptions, the equity crowdfunding platforms don’t offer a lot of support for campaign marketing. And that can be really frustrating.

Facebook Ads

An effective Facebook ad campaign allows a company to effectively target likely investors based on Facebook users’ location, demographics and interests. Facebook is truly 21st century digital marketing. Facebook is the number one platform in social media marketing where you can target a customized audience, so you are able to reduce blasting out a message to who-knows-where and to whom. Facebook Ads reduce the waste of advertising dollars. Facebook is like picking up the phone and selling directly to someone. During your pre-launch you can create an ad and test multiple audiences. Whichever, one converts the best and is most engaged that is the audience that you should target for building your email list. Facebook Ads provide awesome targeting and analytic data along with the ability to create lookalike audiences and re-targeting.

Twitter Ads

Use Twitter ads if you have a Twitter handle, you have a great marketing tool for your product. Companies use Twitter to expand their community. Though this is a fast moving source, it can get you a lot of exposure. Twitter is also a great tool for influencer/blogger outreach. Twitter also provide a great platform for digital PR by reaching out to journalist and building relationships. Twitter a is great platform for building relationships with your many audiences.  

LinkedIn Ads

LinkedIn ads work best in a B2B context and can be used to drive people to a lead generation page for the right crowdfunding offerings.  Precise targeting of LinkedIn members with investment expertise in their member profiles, plus targeting to members of LinkedIn Groups for venture capital and private equity, helped Spotlight Ads and Sponsored Updates reach investors.

Search Engine Marketing

The most basic form of SEM involves paying for certain search terms and having Google drive traffic to your crowdfunding campaign based on what you paid for. With SEM, we know somebody is a potential investor based on their search terms, so you are directly reaching out to people who have already identified themselves as someone looking to make a purchase or an investment.

Email Marketing

Email marketing may not be as sexy as newer marketing tactics such as social media and video, but it can still be a huge factor in driving a successful equity crowdfunding offering. There are plenty of digital platforms available to deliver your message, but email marketing continues to offer one of the best opportunities to build relationships and drive sales. Early momentum is crucial in any crowdfunding campaign, and building your email list to engage people in what you are doing before asking them to invest or contribute will put you at a huge advantage on launch day.

Takeaway

Digital marketing is an essential part of every equity crowd investing offering, just as it has been for rewards-based crowdfunding. Working with the right professionals with the correct strategy and knowing who to target is the key to success. Digital marketing is a process that takes time. Most say it takes a potential investor seeing an average of five ads before they make a decision to invest. Converting digital advertising is a process, so start early in the crowdfunding campaign.

Please visit the Buy The Block website to sign up for this historical opportunity to be become a BlockVestor or Block Developer and own your piece of your community @ http://bit.ly/2zbAmzv  

The Black Panther Movie and Black Crowd Investing

Introduction 

Two months before the premiere of the Marvel’s Black Panther I was invited to take part in a premiere event that was sure to please. I was excited to meet the many Black business owners and professionals in the Louisville area that were going to participate on this project. It seemed that everyone was a buzz about the opening of the first Marvel movie that featured a Black director, predominantly Black cast, and a $200 million budget. To date the movie has lived up to all of the hype. The movie has been a box office smash with receipts in excess of $400 million already.

Crowdfunding for a Cause 

I came across an article by Adrienne Gibbs that brought a smile to my face as a crowdinvesting consultant. The Title of the article was Why Is ‘Black Panther’ Selling Out? Activists, Churches, Schools Buy Thousands Of Tickets. The article describes the in vivid detail how the Black community was willing and able to rally around a cause both politically and economically to achieve a goal. We showed the world, but most importantly our community, the economic power that our community wields in America and globally.

The Crowd Economy In Black America

The article chronicles how the movement began with a single #Hashtag from Harlem with the #BlackPantherChallenge, Frederick Joseph started a GoFundMe page to take some neighborhood kids to the movie. As I read on my heart began to pump faster and harder as I imagined the day in the Black community when we will #InvestBlack, #BuyBlack, #BankBlack and build #BlackWealth.  My hope is that the example of “Black Panther”would start a Black economic movement that would lead our community to commit billions of dollars to Buy the Block a black owned real estate crowdinvesting platform.

Seeing the Future of Black Crowdinvesting 

I thought of the day when business owners and other high net worth Black people would pool their capital into impact investment funds and invest a portion of their portfolios alongside non-accredited community investors to renovate urban commercial corridors and bring back the dense urban live-work-shop-play spaces, not seen since a time before urban renewal destroyed these economic community anchors. Crowd investing and impact investment can create communities where we #InvestBlack which then makes #BuyBlack make sense because there is the economic benefit in building #BlackWealth through entrepreneurship and real estate development.

My goal is that the next time a big-budget movie featuring a Black director and Black cast premieres it will come from majority Black-owned studio that was financed by crowdinvesting and is staffed by Black people that are trying to make their mark in Atlanta the Black Hollywood. The theaters that we buyout for the next premiere will be Black owned and in the urban core in our communities, so that we are employing people from the community.

Takeaway 

According to the article “Black Panther” is a game changer when it comes to imagery and modernity. Also, Black Panther ups the ante because many of the behind the scenes people are Black, as are the leading actors.  The political and economic impact of this one major studio blockbuster film “Black Panther” has had on the Black community across the country is immense.

Let’s make“Black Panther” the driver of a new movement to #InvestBlack with Buy the Block  #BuyBlack where you invested your dollars and build #BlackWealth. We now have a model that provides proof of concept for the power of a united community economic effort using crowdfunding. We have a Black owned crowdinvesting platform so instead of using GoFundMe campaigns to raise charity funds let’s take the #BuyTheBlockChallenge to invest in our communities and be the change we want to see!

Black People and the Crowd Economy

Introduction

I read Antonio Moore’s article Black Wealth Hardly Exists, Even When You Include NBA, NFL And Rap Stars and found it to be spot-on in its analysis of the current situation of the average Black family and their lack of wealth the dearth of Black home ownership and a true path forward. One of the first things that struck me in his article was the fact the so many Black celebrities fame and wealth are talked about in the news and on social media, but only upon in-depth research are you able to find the reality of Black social and economic daily life. I think about the Black people that I know are on the front line of this battle for economic empowerment and the pursuit of the American dream of home ownership.

As I read the data that is out there about the poor and declining state of Black American and the inner-cities. As I live in one of those neighborhoods on a daily basis that lacks access to fresh healthy food options, pharmacy’s, and desirable retail option. Home ownership is dismally low, crime is high and educational attainment is relatively low. These dark and gloomy social realities at their root stem from poverty, which is a of wealth. I have written in the past about how redlining and other discriminatory local, state, and federal government policies have retarded the development of Black wealth and how it will take decades to right these social and economic wrongs. But we have to live today and take care of our families. So we need to build strategies in flight to turn this tide on the bleak realities of Black wealth in 2018.

Black Impact Investing

I think of another writer that is deeply engaged in the fight for the growth and development of Black wealth and that is Dr. Michael Isimbabi author of the seminal book Pooling Our Resources to Foster Black Progress: An Entrepreneurship and Impact Investing Framework that outlines things we, as a community can do to pool our immense financial resources to organically build our communities and inter-generational Black wealth through entrepreneurship and impact investing. One of the areas of overlap I find between Mr. Moore and Dr. Isimbabi is the desire to tap the high net worth celebrities to have them pool their wealth in the form of impact investment funds that would provide professional management, diversity, and focused investment objective on Black business creation and real estate investment.

Buy The Block

Lynn P. the Black female serial entrepreneur that raised over $110,000 to build out the first Black owned real estate crowdfunding platform Buy The Block that provides a super low entry fee of $100 that lowers the barrier of entry for many of the people in the Black community to make their first foray into the world of real estate investing. This Serial Entrepreneur founded Buy the Block in a tool shed in Cincinnati in 2013. The company allowed her to couple her two passions, real estate investing and teaching others the art and science of real estate investment,  into a seamless online crowd investing experience for the Black community. Buy the Block has solved two of the major issues of the Black community.

The first is access to capital for businesses and real estate development and the second is an investment platform with a low barrier to entry to facilitate the building of community equity and Black wealth at the same time. Buy The Block now serves investors and developers all over the US and is thrilled to be a part of the global crowd investing and alternative finance industry.By bringing investors together with entrepreneurs, we are not just building stronger communities; we are building wealthier communities. In that wealth lies the only real independence.

Black people in the United States have a combined purchasing power of $1.3 trillion which would make us the 13th largest economy in the world, yet our wealth is encroaching zero as our income and education attainment continue to rise. We must as a community embrace the crowd economy pool our immense financial resources through impact investing, crowd investing, and entrepreneurship to create companies and build inter-generational wealth. Please Mr. Moore, and Dr. Isimbabi. Visit  Buy The Block  today and Join the Movement.  

Crowdinvesting for Black Athletes Building Community Building Wealth

Introduction

You have read the headlines time and time again. “athletes make too much money”,  “those guys are overpaid”, but Are we asking the wrong question in relation to the NFL and NBA. These are two industries where Black professionals make at the very least on average over $1 million annually.  There are 32 NFL teams with 53 roster spots each, which means 1,696 NFL players and there are 30 NBA teams with 15 roster spots each, totaling 450 NBA players at any given moment. According to Forbes on average, NBA players make $5.15 million and NFL players make $1.9 million per year  Blacks make up at least 80 percent or 1187 NFL Millionaires and 80 percent or 315 NBA Millionaires annually.  

Professional Sports a Cash Cow

The explosion of television and marketing dollars flowing to professional sports teams is pumping players salaries to unprecedented heights and has ushered in a gold rush of capital, fame, and influence in the age of social media where a LeBron James Tweet is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. There has never been a more lucrative time to be in the sports agency business either as the sports industry has mushroomed to dizzying heights in players salaries, the value of endorsement packages, and management fees.

The Sports Agency Industry

The firms featured in Forbes’ ranking of the most valuable sports agencies have negotiated a collective $37.6 billion in current professional athlete contracts, netting themselves more than $1.85 billion in commissions. Sports agency is an industry where professional Black athletes have the ability to choose their sports agent these numbers should be reflective of the 70 percent of NFL players and 80 percent of NBA players they can potentially represent.

We should dominate this multi-billion dollar industry, but we don’t.  This should be the question we are asking in 2018. The next question we should be asking is where are these millionaires investing their $2 billion dollars annually? According to a 2009 Sports Illustrated article, 78% of National Football League (NFL) players are either bankrupt or are under financial stress within two years of retirement and an estimated 60% of National Basketball Association players go bankrupt within five years after leaving their sport.

Charting a New Direction

The information above leads me to some questions. Should there be a concerted effort for Black athletes to employ Black sports agencies to manage their business affairs? Should Black players, agents, coaches and upper management make an organized play to exert more influence over the flow of the billions of dollars in professional sports? Sports is a multi-billion dollar industry where the hired help is overwhelmingly Black, but the fans and owners are mostly white how do we exert more pressure on the two leagues to empower our community?

Situation Analysis

With Black home ownership at a 50 year low and Black wealth heading towards zero in the near future what type of social and economic strategies can be put in place to turn the tide on these dismal statistics. I suggest that our Black athletes create impact investment funds that are managed by experienced and capable Black finance professionals. These funds would provide professional management for these professional athletes and targeted investments in building a stronger economy in Black communities through real estate development, retail, and the tech industry to name a few areas where our pooled resources can make a positive impact in our communities.       

Today, some of the world’s most respected and successful figures are in the tech industry. They include the entrepreneurs who have developed innovative products and launched industry-changing companies and the venture capitalists who provide capital and assistance to help these companies thrive. But while the technology sector continues to flourish, and its luminaries are seen as role models, the industry as a whole is suffering from a lack of diversity that has undermined its ability to fully realize its transformative potential.

The Need for Black Capital Aggregation

There were thousands of venture deals minted from 2012 to 2014, so few black women founders raised money that, statistically speaking, the number might as well be zero. (The exact number is 24 out of 10,238, or just 0.2 percent.) Of those few that have raised money, the average amount of funding its $36,000. That’s compared to the typical startup, typically founded by a white male, that typically fails. These manage to raise an average of $1.3 million in venture funding.

This disparity comes even as black women today comprise the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the US, with over 1.5 million businesses—a 322 percent increase since 1997. These businesses generate over $44 billion a year in revenue. Yet in the tech world, investors aren’t taking a risk on startups run by black women. I venture to say that these are the questions we should be asking about the NFL and NBA in relations to the Black political economy that operates within the United States.

Takeaway

Black people in the United States have made extraordinary gains in education, industry and even increasing salaries with over 8 million Black families making over $75,000 annually, but home ownership is dismal and on average we have little to no wealth when compared to our White counterparts. One way to increase our wealth both on the individual and community level is to pool our tremendous financial assets through the “Crowd Economy”. The crowd economy provides a basis for more efficient use of resources, but also reduces the strain on the environment and ecosystem services that are fast depleting.  The crowd economy will allow regulation crowdfunding platforms to allow regular citizens to invest in build economic capacity at the community while running capital parallel to the diversified professionally managed community focused impact investment funds of wealthier professional athletes.

Why Buy The Block

Introduction

While growth slowed somewhat in 2016 the 40% figure is still robust, and the US accounted for a large share of the $1 billion of overall industry growth this year. In 2015, the $1.5 billion in volume for US real estate crowdfunding represented only 0.3% of total real estate finance transactions in the US, indicating that the sub-industry still has enormous room to grow, even while remaining modest as a share of overall commercial real estate activity in the economy.

Crowdfunding and Wealth

Over the last few years crowdfunding platforms have specialized and molded themselves around particular niches within the space, focusing the profile of their deals. One of the main determinants in the absence of wealth in the Black community has been a systematic negative relationship between our community and the policies of the majority community that have historically maintained the Black labor resulting in White wealth dynamic. Redlining was a common Federal practice that impedes the development of Black wealth to this day. Why is wealth important?  

What is Wealth

Wealth is a crucially important measure of economic health. Wealth allows families to transfer income earned in the past to meet spending demands in the future, such as by building up savings to finance a child’s college education. Wealth also provides a buffer of economic security against periods of unemployment, or risk-taking, like starting a business. Wealth is needed to finance a comfortable retirement or provide an inheritance to children.  In order to construct wealth, a number of building blocks are required. Steady well-paid employment during one’s working life is important, as it allows for a decent standard of living plus the ability to save. Also, access to well-functioning financial markets that provide a healthy rate of return on savings without undue risks is crucial.

The Value of Wealth

Wealth is a vital component  to understand the many of the racial inequalities that exist in the United States. Wealth taps not only contemporary resources, but also material assets that have historic origins and future implications. Private wealth captures inequality that is the product of the past, and often passed down from generation to generation. Viewing racial inequality through the lens of wealth revolutionizes the concept of the nature and magnitude of inequality, and of whether it is decreasing or increasing.

The History of Wealth

The focus on wealth sheds light on both the historical and the contemporary impacts not only of class but also of race. Income is an important indicator of racial inequality; wealth allows an examination of racial stratification. The wealth perspective contends that continued neglect of wealth as a dimension of racial stratification will result in a seriously underestimated racial inequality. Tragically, policies based solely on narrow differences in labor-market factors will fail to close that breach. Taken together, however, asset-building and labor-market approaches open new windows of opportunity.

Takeaway

Buy the Block provides the real estate/technology basis for the Black community to begin the process of pooling our funds and using cooperative economics to build our communities through real estate development, business and job creation, and as investors and consumers of the very businesses that we create. There will be a real incentive for “Buy Black” and “Support Black Business” campaigns and that will be financial in either an interest payment or equity payout. Buy the Block provides the mechanism for our entire community to begin to create Black Wealth.

Please visit the Buy The Block website to sign up for this historical opportunity to be become a BlockVestor or Block Developer and own your piece of your community @ http://bit.ly/2zbAmzv  

The JOBS Act and Underserved Communities

Introduction

Following the housing crash of 2007 — as regulations were introduced and credit tightened — emerging companies were left with little or no access to the capital markets. In an effort to alleviate the credit crunch, Congress drew up the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act for short), broadening the scope of who can invest in startups. While the legislation was conceived with startup businesses in mind, interested parties quickly realized that the new rules could extend to real estate equity investments, allowing real estate companies to essentially market shares of projects to individual investors — a method of raising capital that had been legally precluded since the Securities Act of 1933.

Real Estate’s Use of Crowdfunding

Real estate companies are able to broaden the reach of their investor network through this new paradigm, individual investors also gain access to a realm of real estate projects that were previously available almost exclusively to very wealthy individuals and institutional players, lowering the barrier to entry and allowing many investors to participate in commercial real estate investing for the first time.  This value was evident enough to encourage the creation of Buy The Block a f hybrid real estate/tech company to enter this new and vastly untapped wealth and community building space for inner-city communities that have been systematically excluded from investing in commercial or residential real estate projects as a syndicate.

Buy The Block

Providing a platform that allows multiple investors to in multiple project throughout the country both in business creation and real estate development. This new investment technique will provide the needed access to capital for budding social entrepreneurs and experienced small business owners to provide many of the needed services that many of these under served communities have been starved of for many years and it develops these businesses in close proximity to the people that require the products and services. These new business owners now have the ability to raise capital directly from the people that will become the consumers of their goods and services. These consumers will have the unique ability to become a funder as well as investors in these community based retail projects. This is a very important concept in the “Buy Black” movements that have sprung up in many of the major markets that have large Black populations.

Financial Incentive

Today these “Buy Black” mantras don’t ring hollow in the ears of consumers looking for the best value for their dollars. By becoming the actual investors in these projects they now how financial interest in in Buying Black. The more profit these business do the higher their potential benefit will be. There is also a double bottom-line and a large part of the return on investment will be community equity of an improved shopping experience in their own communities, the growth in employment opportunities for community residents.

Please visit the Buy The Block website to sign up for this historical opportunity to be become a BlockVestor or Block Developer and own your piece of your community @ http://bit.ly/2zbAmzv  

6 Benefits of Crowdfunding Besides the Funds

Introduction 

We are going to talk about the benefits of crowdfunding besides the funding, but the other 6 business benefits. Crowdfunding is an incredible business tool that provides many benefits to any business that puts them into action. It’s not all about the money. Yes, the money might be the driving factor behind your campaign, but you stand to gain a whole lot more from crowdfunding. Here’s our quick rundown of the 10 (yes, ten) BIG benefits of crowdfunding:

1) Market Research

Crowdfunding is the perfect tool for very low-cost market research. Social media is a one-to-many communication channel, but it also provides a many-to-one dialogue. This dialogue capability provides a platform to receive feedback that can provide answers to many questions that can save you both time and money. The crowd will provide an answer- yes, no, or not right now. They can provide many insights for product development. A successful campaign can help you gauge size of the potential market for the product.   

2) Focus Group Like Product Feedback

If you have taken the time to properly engage and excite your crowd then you have built a level of trust that will provide much-needed focus group like feedback. Your crowd will tell you what they like about your product and share their ideas for improvement. Your crowd will invest in your story (emotionally and financially). Your crowd will be so much more than just another customer; they will consider themselves a part of your project. Take pride in your success and are much more likely to get involved in helping spread the word than a traditional consumer. This is the unseen value of an excited and engaged crowd.  This is why it is vital to take the time to build a trust based relationship with your crowd.

3) Pre-orders

Your crowdfunding campaign should become a pre-selling machine for your product or concept that is driven by your engaged and excited crowd. The number of pre-orders will provide some insight into the size of the market. Your Crowdfunding campaign is a place to sell a product or concept before you’ve brought it to market and this process allows you to start production with little or no financial risk. For many people, this is the major benefit of crowdfunding.  

4) Crowdfunding Provides High-Energy Promotion

Crowdfunding requires a concentrated high-energy marketing, promotion, and public relations blitz. Full-out marketing and promotional blitz from the safety and corners to the linebackers. Once the pre-launch begins it is a nonstop march to the final day of the campaign. During this 3-6 month period, you become the number one cheerleader for you campaign beginning with your closest family and friends to your social media activities to build an email list to the media that has the ability to push your story out to millions.  

5) Loyal Brand Advocates

There’s no question about it; crowdfunding builds you a team of loyal customers, but these customers are so much more. They are brand advocates that will shout from the highest mountain about the good thing they have found. They are part of your success and as such the revel in the growth of your brand. They will buy your latest product, respond to your surveys, push out your latest social media or blog post and smile the entire time and this is a benefit of a well organized and implemented crowdfunding campaign.

6) New Partnerships and Relationships

You’re not just targeting backers and the media. Create a buzz around your crowdfunding campaign, and you could draw out potential partners and investors as well. Don’t underestimate the power of a professional network to bring benefits. One campaign did not reach its goal, but an investor found the product and made the engineer a deal that he could not refuse. Optimize your crowdfunding campaign to attract new partners by ensuring your campaign is literate and includes testimonials from people you’re already working.

Takeaway

There are far reaching benefits to a well organized and implemented crowdfunding campaign as illustrated above. On top of the benefits mentioned in the post, there is, of course, the rewards of the successfully funded campaign which will provide many backers that will result in a large database of highly targeted customers brand advocates.

 

5 Steps to a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign

The Numbers Behind Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is democratizing the access to capital and with all the encouraging news stories, every inventor, creator, engineer, and startup would want to launch a crowdfunding campaign today to fund the next big thing since sliced bread. Kickstarter, the New York City-based crowdfunding platform saw 37 percent of its campaigns reach their fundraising goals in 2017, according to a report. That’s the highest success rate among the five crowdfunding platforms included in the study.  

The High Failure Rate of Crowdfunding Campaigns

Twenty-six percent of crowdfunding campaigns on Vancouver, Canada-based FundRazr met their goals in 2016, and a dismal  13 percent fully-funded success rate for San Francisco based Indiegogo. These numbers smack in the face of what the press is reporting about the crowdfunding industry as a place to make easy money for your startup.

Crowdfunding The Real Story

This is what the press is not reporting the amount of time, energy, marketing savvy, and work it takes to build an engaged and excited crowd of backers to complete a successful crowdfunding campaign. The pre-launch, a 3-6 month preparation stage before the launch of the campaign is crucial. After years of working on crowdfunding campaigns in many different facets, I have learned this one fundamental rule: Crowdfunding is a compound word and if you don’t build an engaged and excited crowd before the launch of your campaign you will not get the funding your desire.  

Implementing The Pre-Launch Strategy

There are many steps to creating a pre-launch strategy and the first step is to create a budget and a timeline. So many people head into crowdfunding campaigns with little knowledge of the cost of both time and capital that this 3-6 month process will entail. Always begin the with a timeline that realistically documents the task, the team member responsible for completing the task, and the time frame that task will be completed. This will be the driving force for staying on track while moving along this very labor and time intensive journey called a crowdfunding campaign.    

These are the steps that must be completed during the pre-launch phase of the campaign.

  1. Create consistent messaging and branding – Every company has a brand, whether they make it a priority or not. A brand is what people think about your product and the impressions they have when hearing or seeing your name. In most cases, your brand is reflected initially in your logo, and then supported by your messaging. These experiences influence attitudes and opinions about your company, product, or service. A good brand is built over time and requires thought, strategy, and consistent implementation.
  2. Leverage your social capital –  from the inside out to ensure 30% of the funding goal is guaranteed by friends, family and anyone else you can line up to make a financial contribution to your campaign on the day it launches. If you can raise 30% in the first couple of days of your campaign, you significantly increase your chances of reaching your goal.
  3. Build an email list –  Your email list is the lifeblood of your crowdfunding campaign. The more emails you have the better and using social media like Twitter and Facebook ads to drive traffic to a landing page to collect email address is vital. Services like MailChimp allow you to send out emails and drive traffic to your campaign page when it launches.
  4. Build your crowd using Social Media –  that is large enough so you can tap into not only for financial support but also to share your campaign with their followers. Twitter is the most active social network in the crowdfunding sphere. Depending on your funding goal and how many followers you currently have, this process can take several months. The goal is to identify and connect with relevant supporters and build a targeted audience.

Run a Press Release –  Create a press release through a service like Press Release distribution and high impact media lists. To make your campaign look attractive to journalists, do not send your press release or contact media before you have reached the 30% funding milestone. Journalists don’t just write about campaigns so they become successful, they write about successful campaigns in the making.

The Benefits of Blogging for Crowdfunding

Introduction

Using a modified inbound marketing strategy to drive traffic to your campaign website is the number one method of making your website a valuable marketing asset. The more pages your website has, the more chances you have to rank in search engines. Every time you post a new blog post on your website, you have a new web page on your website, and it’s all housed under your blog so your website doesn’t get cluttered with pages.

The New Marketing

Digital technology is driving a new wave of marketing that according to Hubspot by 2020 customers will manage 85% of their sales relationships without talking to a human.

More and more people are asking search engines to find them the services and products looking for. They’re looking up reviews, watching videos, and building discussions to find the answers they’re looking for before committing to a certain product or service.One of the easiest ways for potential new customers to learn about you is through your blog. Look to answer the questions they’re asking, address their concerns, and provide them with reliable information about your product/service/industry. The trust you build there will be indispensable in generating new customers.

Blogs add a Human Touch

Blogs, by nature, have a personal touch to them. For this reason, they’re a trusted source of information. Your blog serves as a great opportunity to extend your brand and showcase your personality. Usually, when typing in a question to a search engine, the first results to come up are blog posts. If you can consistently provide value and answers the questions your personas are asking, you’ll find it easier to rank on the first (or first few) pages of a search engine.

Blogs are the Marketing Workhorse

Your blog posts are working for you 24/7. Once they’re up on your site, they’ll work for you until you decide it’s time to take them down. By putting out valuable and targeted content, you can easily raise your exposure (organic traffic) and leads. Even your older blogs can get you noticed if they’re relevant and answering a question many visitors are searching for. Make sure you’re constantly updating older blogs so they continue to bring in the high-quality traffic.

Add Value to Readers

Producing reliable, insightful industry news to your visitors pays off. Not only will it increase your reputability, it will also increase your inbound links. Other websites want to seem helpful and credible as well and will share your content to do so. This will send their visitors to your site and gives you an opportunity to build your own relationship with them.

Takeaways

Business blogging is a low-cost way to create opportunities to get your website found by the people that you want to find it, so you can generate new leads and customers for your business. If you’re looking to start a business blog or get more investment for the one you’ve already started, the statistics above are a great place to start arguing your case.

 

The Crisis in Black Home Ownership

Introduction

The national home ownership rate fell to 63.4% in 2016—the lowest yearly average in 50 years, according to the business data firm CoreLogic. And there may not be a rebound anytime soon. But the largest factor holding down the home ownership rate could be racial inequality. The rate among white Americans is more than 30 percentage points higher than among black Americans, according to Trulia, a real estate site. One recent study found that 72% of all household growth from 2015 to 2025 will be from groups other than non-Hispanic whites. So if these groups face hurdles to buying homes, it could harm the overall growth of the market.

Historic Housing Policy

For decades institutional racism has harmed minority borrowers ability to own an affordable home. An analysis by the The Wall Street Journal found that only 5% of mortgages were offered to African Americans in 2014, down three percentage points from seven years earlier. Hispanics were offered 9% of mortgages in 2014, down two points compared to 2007. Meanwhile white Americans saw their percentage rise by five points during that span.

The legacy of discriminatory housing laws, like the National Housing Act of 1934, which “redlined” predominantly black neighborhoods and shut out minorities from bank loans, continues to have lasting damage as well. African Americans and Latinos suffer from residential segregation, resulting in less value for their homes. If there were no racial disparity in homeownership rates, the overall gap in wealth between black and white American households would decline by nearly a third, according to a recent study from left-leaning public policy group Demos.

Black Home ownership Gains Erased

The Black community got hit harder by the housing crisis than other groups. In general, African Americans bought homes at the peak of the bubble at higher rates than whites and were often offered costly subprime loans, even when they qualified for prime loans with lower interest rates. Also, black families did not benefit as much as white families, overall, from the post 9/11 recovery.

According to Nextavenue homeownership has historically been the best way to build wealth by far. The average wealth of homeowners versus renters. The average wealth for black Americans who are homeowners is $90,000, with $50,000 of that in home equity. The average wealth for black Americans who are renters is $2,000.”

Future Impact

Home ownership declines have affected African Americans of all ages, but among the most alarming are the trends for African American Gen X’ers and Millennials, according to the Urban Institute. The home ownership rate for blacks aged 35 to 44 fell from 45% in 1990 to 33% in 2015, half the rate of whites in the same age group. If  these trends continue, people born from 1965 to 1975 [now age 42 to 52] will likely to be the first generation from the 20th century that reaches retirement age with more renters than homeowners.

Takeaway

Action must be taken quickly in the private real estate  market to reverse these trends or our community will find itself in deeply immersed in a form of economic serfdom. Home ownership builds wealth and wealth is a cushion against economic instability. But the problem is deep-rooted and there is no easy solution.

Buy The Block allows investors make debt or equity investments in opportunities that were historically difficult to access. Thanks to the Regulation Crowdfunding rules promulgated by the SEC under the JOBs Act, Buy the Block can create a community revolving around its web-based investment platform geared towards making investing in real estate easier for more investors. It presents an opportunity to invest with other connected investors, and provides the added benefit of giving each investor individual ownership in the “block.”

Please visit the Buy The Block website to sign up for this historical opportunity to be become a BlockVestor or Block Developer and own your piece of your community @ http://bit.ly/2zbAmzv

Putting The Crowd in Crowdfunding

Introduction

Is Crowdfunding no more than persuading individuals to each give you a small donation $10, $50, $100, maybe more. Once you get thousands of donors, you have some serious cash on hand. Driven by the proliferation of social media platforms nonprofits, artists, musicians — and yes, businesses — are able to raise funds. Crowdfunding has been growing at an incredible clip since 2009 and there have been billions of dollars crowdfunded during this time period. I always tell people that crowdfunding has one fundamental rule: If you don’t build an engaged and excited crowd then you won’t get the funding that you desire. The next logical question would be how do you build an engaged and excited crowd to fund your project.

Building the Crowd

Crowdfunding can create a powerful marketing and funding chain that moves from reward to equity to an IPO on-ramp to take the company public. Crowdfunding is creating an entirely new path to funding that is completely customer focused. These are the 4 basic step that I begin the process of identifying and engaging people to build an excited and engaged crowd:

  1. Research Similar Crowdfunding Campaigns
  2. Define your target audience
  3. Develop a narrative and video
  4. Fund a project yourself to experience the process  

Understanding the Funding Cycle

List all the campaigns (both successful and not successful ones). Contact the manager and ask about activities that worked best/worst. Open Kicktraq.com, paste the URLs and review their funding curves. If most of the funding occurred in the beginning, it means most came most from their own network. More stable curve means there are interested backers from the platform.

Understanding Your Crowd

Conduct a survey on your Facebook Page and share it on social media. Ask about the problem you are trying to solve. You will gather invaluable info about your audience and most importantly their email addresses. Estimate what the key problems and pain points your audience is experiencing. Engage with them and provide as much value as you can. In a couple of months, you will have a strong community of targeted people who will help you get your early seeding as they fall into their role as brand advocates. Now you have defined your audience now segment them according to demographic data.

Who is the Creator

Be able, to sum up not just your campaign but yourself as well, using the ‘elevator pitch’ approach. Make it personal and authentic. Build both your campaign and personal story. It is just as much you as your product that they are investing their hard earned money.  Some things to include in your few-sentence bio:

  • your professional experience
  • where you’re from
  • why this is important to you
  • your passions and hobbies
  • how you got to where you are today
  • what you’re working on next.

Takeaway

The last but, maybe most important action is to participate in a campaign as a backer or funder. This experience is something that you can’t read about. Participating in a campaign is a unique experience that will help you craft your own campaign. Traditionally, you’d spend months sifting through your personal network, vetting potential investors, and spending your own time and money to get in front of them. Crowdfunding provides a much more linear path to get in front of the most interested parties and give them more ways to help grow your business, from investing thousands in exchange for equity to contributing $20 in exchange for a first-run product or reward. This is an experience I recommend to everyone that is thinking of creating a campaign.

Black Female Serial Entrepreneur Tackles Commercial Real Estate

Introduction

Linda P. Smith is a serial entrepreneur that founded my first company at 28, with the help of family and friends. In 2010, she established BBE to pay it forward by providing education and funding for businesses. With Buy the Block, she has created the first Black-owned real estate crowdinvesting platform enabling the Black community to pool their immense $1.3 Trillion in purchasing power to come together to make real estate and business development investments.  

What is Crowdinvesting

Traditional real estate investments require a significant financial commitment. Buy the Block is reducing the barriers to entry to as low as $100 which opens direct real estate investment to the vast majority of people in the Black Community. Crowdinvesting became a reality when then President Obama signed the bipartisan JOBS Act of 2012, and May 16th, 2016 Title III of the JOBS Act became legal and opened up direct real estate investment to all Americans. This opened the floodgates to hundreds of millions of new investors.   

Buy The Block

Serial Entrepreneur Lynn P founded Buy the Block in a tool shed in Cincinnati in 2013. The company allowed her to couple her two passions, real estate investing and teaching others the art and science of real estate investment,  into a seamless online crowdinvesting experience for the Black community. Buy the Block has solved two of the major issues of the Black community. The first is access to capital for businesses and real estate development and the second is an investment platform with a low barrier to entry to facilitate the building of community equity and Black wealth at the same time. Buy The Block now serves investors and developers all over the US, and is thrilled to be a part of the global crowdinvesting and alternative finance industry.By bringing investors together with entrepreneurs, we are not just building stronger communities; we are building wealthier communities. In that wealth lies the only real independence.

The Commercial Real Estate Development Industry

Buy the Block’s latest foray into the commercial real estate industry that lacks diversity in the C-Suite. According to a report from the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, a national organization founded almost 50 years ago and that has more than 18,000 members, used Equal Employment Opportunity Commission data and found that more than three-quarters of senior commercial real estate executive positions nationwide were held by white men. Hispanic, Asian, black and other women — hold less than 1 percent of the CRE senior executive jobs nationwide, according to the report. Buy the Block building on its success in the residential real estate development has made its first incursion into this, White male dominated field of commercial real estate development, by leading investors in  purchasing a 24,500 square foot retail structure with tremendous potential for neighborhood retail, office space, and residential space in the downtown area of a major Midwestern city.  

Join The Movement

Buy The Block can manage any project from concept to end, and they aim to develop a large number of construction projects, in areas such as; residential, manufacturing, retail, multi-family, medical, religious, and pre-engineered building construction.

Takeaway

With the focus on the Black communities in America, Buy The Block is on track to raise hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for development projects in these communities. Having the capacity to take on more significant projects and contracts, they project that they will soon change the face of crowdinvesting real estate investing in the country. Join the movement by investing with your peers on the Buy The Block crowdinvesting platform that is breaking ground and barriers in the residential and commercial real estate industry. Visit BuyTheBlock.com and make your investment first investment today with your peers and Buy the Block.   

The Benefits of Crowdinvesting

Raise capital from your customers, so now your customers are owners!

Crowdinvesting is a way to connect with the people. It provides a platform predicated on neighborhood and community among residents, business owners and real estate developers. By allowing customers and community residents to invest in a companies and developments focused on bettering their lived experiences, entrepreneurs and real estate developers are providing opportunity for residents to literally take ownership of their futures. This is a win-win situation and an immense benefit of crowdinvesting.  

Crowdinvesting provides a new opportunity!

Professors, politicians, and community activist have touted the value of black people taking  all the money we spend on clothes, shoes, and hair, and put it into investing or starting a business. Well, it would be impossible to take all of our money and invest it businesses or real estate, but we can set aside a portion of our dollars to invest in the people that desire to start a business or develop real estate and that have the required temperament and skills to be an entrepreneur or real estate developer and invest in them. Crowdinvesting provides investment opportunities that have never in our history in America existed!  

Crowdinvesting is the answer to raising capital and marketing your business!

The U.S. rate of entrepreneurship has declined over the past 30 years, entrepreneurial activity in the African American community has increased. The problem is access to capital. Black entrepreneurs start businesses, but—often—do not have access to the capital necessary to market and grow those businesses over time. Data from the 2015 Survey of Business Owners shows that the number of businesses majority-owned by Black women grew 67 percent between 2007 and 2012, compared to 27 percent for all women and 13 percent for White women. Nielsen quantifies that growth at 1.5 million Black woman majority-owned businesses as of 2015. Crowdinvesting provides a platform for these black women to share the risk and reward of entrepreneurship with their community as investors and consumers.

Crowdinvesting Empowers the Black Community

Crowdinvesting has the potential to  unleashing $1.3 trillion in black buying power to fund black businesses and real-estate projects and it is one of the greatest wealth building opportunities ever made available to the African American community. But none of this will come to fruition without us taking action on the opportunities that crowdinvesting have brought to the table in our community.

African Americans have historically been frozen out of wealth building opportunities necessary to build generational wealth. Usually, when wealth building opportunities have been made available, it was only after other communities had access. This makes crowdinvesting singularly unique in African American history. Crowdinvesting allows black investors and entrepreneurs to have access from the beginning and can share in the economic gains made by startups growing and hiring. Black consumers—trendsetters—can use their dollars and influential platform to select which products, services, and solutions get funded from the beginning.

Takeaway

Crowdinvesting is a great opportunity to both support local business and build livable communities. It provides an opportunity for small businesses, the ones that have the hardest time finding funding, to get investments from those likely to patronize them: local residents. It puts business owners in a place to create a different narrative about their business and who they serve, while allowing them to focus their marketing and fundraising effort in a concentrated area, saving time and money.

Goldman Sachs estimates that crowdinvesting has the potential to be a $1.2 trillion industry. For diverse founders, crowdinvesting can be a game changer for companies and real estate developers seeking investment. It’s a wealth-building opportunity for investors previously restricted from investing in startups.

 

Join the Movement!

Crowdfunding Acts as Fertilizer to the Economy

Introduction

Crowdfunding is a method of raising capital through the collective effort of friends, family, customers, and individual investors. This approach taps into the collective efforts of a large pool of individuals—primarily online via social media and crowdfunding platforms—and leverages their networks for greater reach and exposure.

Crowdfunding is a Change Agent

Crowdfunding has helped more than a million startups raise over $3.2 Billion, and is revolutionizing the way small businesses find the capital they need to grow. Crowdfunding provides a tool kit for fundraising success for entrepreneurs that has the ability to level the playing field in the world of capital formation.

Crowdfunding is Growing Rapidly

By 2016 the crowdfunding industry accounted for more funding than venture capital, according to a recent report by Massolution. Just five years ago there was a relatively small market of early adopters crowdfunding online to the tune of a reported $880 million in 2010. Fast forward to today and we saw $16 billion crowdfunded in 2014, with 2015 estimated to grow to over $34 billion. In comparison, the VC industry invests an average of $30 billion each year.

Crowdfunding Acts as Fertilizer to the Economy

Startups and small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy and innovation across the globe. They create jobs, new products, dreams, and disruption. They are led by entrepreneurs who work hard to bring their ideas to life. Often overshadowed by failure, they persist and can change the world. We feel that entrepreneurs are heroes that need to be celebrated, and more importantly, supported by a community of fellow founders. It would be great if the process were easy, but it’s not. We’d like to help change that.

Takeaway

So whether you are crowdfunding for equity or rewards, there are a plethora of advantages in using the crowd. Even for campaigns that do not achieve their goals, you will still walk away with something of value, whether that is experience, market data, or a renewed ambition. The main point of this post is it’s important not to lose sight of what supporters have to offer and the power of the crowd. These are some of the marketing benefits of crowdfunding and if you work your campaign effectively, you will benefit in a number of other ways, all vital to help you grow your business in the future.

Alternative Finance for Underserved Communities of Color

Introduction

We are acutely aware that most small businesses and startups struggle to get access to capital and underserved communities of color receive extremely small amounts of funding from traditional funding sources. So, instead of protesting and complaining maybe small businesses and small real estate developer should begin to implement different methods of finding and deploying capital. We are going talk about 6 different types of investing alternatives that are on the cutting edge of new capital formation for underserved communities of color.

Local Investment Clubs

A traditional investment club is a small group of individual investors who come together to learn, share investing experiences and help each other become more successful investors. Clubs provide education, camaraderie and buying power, plus the confidence of knowing you don’t have to go it alone. Clubs can also choose not to pool investment dollars and instead simply come together to discuss stock ideas and analysis.

Local investment clubs will have a focus on investing in local businesses and real estate development in underserved communities using crowdinvesting to allow the club members the ultimate reward derived from  local crowdinvesting to be owner, customer and brand advocate all at the same time. Again this away to build wealth in underserved communities.

Impact Investing From Corporate and Philanthropic Foundations

“Philanthropy is commendable,” said Martin Luther King, “but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice, which make philanthropy necessary.” Philanthropists and philanthropic advisors who champion equality must work to shift from a framework that grounds giving in “charity” to one that grounds giving in “justice.”                  

Dr. Dorian Burton

As mentioned in the above section making local place based investments makes a lot of sense for investors because the benefits that locavesting bring to both the investor and the community where they live. So let’s take the next logical step and examine why more philanthropic and corporate foundations don’t look to the local market to make impact investments along with the tiny percentage of their endowment that they make grants.

So many of the problems and issues that plague inner-city communities are poverty based and many of them stem from government policies such as redlining. If foundations change their relationships in these communities from charity and began the process of providing location based impact investment into these communities to fund local businesses, real estate development, and wealth building initiatives based on market principles a lot of the poverty based issues would be eliminated.  

Rewards Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is a new and evolving fundraising alternative that connects social media with an accounting and finance mechanism to aggregate capital on a single platform. Crowdfunding provides a platform for entrepreneurs reach out to the “crowd”—which could include their friends, customers, neighbors, supporters and social network—for funding. The idea is that lots of smaller sums of money can take the place of one or two large investors or patrons, and that technology can help streamline the process.

Crowdinvesting

Crowdinvesting is the truly revolutionary centerpiece of the JOBS Act. It became legal on May 16th 2016. Crowdinvesting provides a platform for   small real estate developers and small companies to raise money from the general public—wealthy, not wealthy, friend or stranger—as long as the investment takes place on a web site operated by a traditional broker-dealer or an S.E.C.-sanctioned crowdfunding portal, and certain other requirements are met.

Specifically, the law allows companies to raise up to $1 million in a 12-month period from the public. Investors are capped at the greater of $2,000 or 5% of their income, if their annual income or net worth is less than $100,000. The final rules also impose a limit on how much those with an income or net worth greater than $100,000 can make: they are limited to $10,000 per year or 10% of their income or net worth.

Takeaway

There are many new and emerging forms of alternative finance that provides the democratization of capital in under capitalized communities of color. Many of the communities find themselves to be isolated in urban centers and are areas of concentrated poverty. These area of concentrated poverty tend to be places that lack hope and many residents become trapped in the despair and hopelessness of the environment. But just like policy created these communities policy and the commitment of investors that want to see their communities changed are able to use their dollars to vote!

Locavesting, Crowdinvesting, and Recycling Community Dollars

What is Locavesting

Locavesting is a term that I came across in my work as a crowd investing consultant. I will state for the record that my interest in crowdinvesting lean much more toward local real estate development and local business development than towards the tech startups. I believe that underserved communities must consolidate and recycle their wealth through real estate development and local business development that provides job creation and wealth generation in their community first. According to a Locavestor blog post written by Amy  “Small businesses—which by definition are locally owned—create two out of every three jobs in the U.S., employ half the private workforce and generate half of private GDP.” “They create local wealth by keeping money circulating locally—that’s called the local multiplier effect.  They provide the foundation for a healthy and diversified local tax base, and contribute to the health and well being of their communities.”

Access to Capital

Access to capital is the number one issue facing many local business no matter the size or type of business, but in communities of color accessing capital through traditional methods is almost impossible. Even when the owners have the education and experience accessing business capital is highly unlikely. Big banks, which dominate the market, approve just 2 out of 10 small business loan requests. The odds are worse for women and minority-owned firms: Just $1 out of every $23 in small business bank loans goes to women-owned businesses, for example, even though they represent 30% of all small firms. In the equity space, less that 1% of all businesses receive venture capital funding—and most of that is invested in just three states.

The Convergence of Locavesting and CrowdInvesting

When we look into the investment portfolios of most individual investors we will find stocks and bonds of large multinational companies that very often send jobs and profits overseas. The new retail investor class that crowdinvesting creates is very cash rich and rarely finds itself being invested in local businesses that as stated above are the economic drivers of communities. How do we change that dynamic? How do we channel more capital to productive use—to the small businesses that create jobs, spur innovation and build strong local economies? Well, crowdinvesting is the vehicle that will be able to transfer this capital to small local businesses and real estate development.

Takeaway

There is latent potential capital that is being only as consumer dollars that are leaving the community within six hours of being earned. The vast majority of that money is not being saved or invested only spent as quickly as it is be earned. One solution is the junction between crowdinvesting and locavesting where community members are willing to invest as little as $100 in local businesses and real estate development. Then be customers and brand advocates for the businesses that you have invested in and have a financial interest in being successful. Crowdinvesting and locavesting provide a platform to increase the viability of community based business enterprises. The successful business owners can organize themselves into the next generation of investors and developers as a local investment group.  

Use Facebook to Create an Email List for your Crowdfunding Campaign

Introduction

Email marketing continues to be a strong method digital marketers use to inform, educate and push information to opt-in recipients. Email subscribers convert at almost 4 times the rate of Facebook followers for crowdfunding campaigns. It is a universally used tool that everyone sits down to check at work or home. Your email marketing will generate the highest return on investment (ROI) when you take the time to build and maintain an engaged subscriber list.  We use MailChimp lists they have built-in tools to enhance the process of list building, maintenance, and reporting as you build your crowdfunding campaign.

Email Marketing

Email serves as one leg of a three-legged marketing tool along with a blog and social media to drive our crowdfunding campaigns. Within this three-pronged strategy, email is the distribution mechanism, while a blog is the content center and social media is the conversation mechanism. When new content is posted on a blog, email can be a method of distributing notice of the new article, while social media offers a conversation mechanism for users to talk about the content. Our email list is the foundational marketing piece. It’s a jewel of great value containing the names and direct contact method of customers and would-be customers that enable us to “get in front of” these people regularly. They have invited us into their lives through their inbox.

The Facebook Advantage

Keep in mind that Facebook ads should not be the entirety of your strategy to grow your email list. Instead, it should be one aspect of a larger crowdfunding marketing and promotion strategy. So maybe you use Facebook ads to get in front of new fans, but you also have an email form on your Facebook page as well as your website where you offer things like free downloadables and early access in exchange for an email address.

The Facebook ads will be targeting people who may have never heard of you before, but are inclined to like your product based on their interests. Having forms on your website will target current fans who already know about you and want to go deeper. Both are necessary for an effective email strategy to enhance and support your crowdfunding campaign.

Facebook Targeting

When targeting Facebook users for an ad campaign, you should aim to reach people who are interested in products similar to yours. To do this, you need to find out what your current fans like about your product.   One easy way to figure this out is by looking at your similar campaign pages on crowdfunding platforms. These similar campaigns should already be in your crowdfunding marketing plan. You could also post a simple message on Facebook asking your fans to comment on your product or even run a poll to increase engagement.

The Value of A/B Testing

When targeting your ads on Facebook, it’s a good idea to have at least 2 ads running at a time, each with a different audience to provide A/B Testing to drill down on a message that will resonate best with the target market.  After each of these ads run for a few days, continue with the one that’s performing best, and replace the one that’s performing worse with a different targeting set. This process is known as A/B testing and can help you make the most of your online ad budget.

Formatting Your Ad

Another thing you want to test with your ad is the format.  With Facebook Lead Ads, you can use images or videos and have a number of choices for a call to action. As mentioned above with targeting, you also want to A/B test your format and call to action. Test multiple combinations of ad formats and value propositions to see what converts best. When using digital marketing always test, measure, tweak and retest.

Takeaway

Email provides 53 percent of backers for crowdfunding campaigns while Facebook fans only provide only 12 percent of backers, so building a segmented email list is of considerably more value to any crowdfunding campaign. Facebook Lead Ads are a great way to segment and reach the target market that you desire to reach. Working these strategies in tandem will produce the results that you are looking for from your crowdfunding campaign.  

Crowd Investing and Inner-City Transformation

Black Wall Street

Black Wall Street is a story that is often told in the politically and economically progressive circles of African-American communities. In the early 1900’s the oil boom provided African-Americans like other Americans the hope and promise of economic prosperity. But segregation an American reality which had very little to do with region and was quite simply an entrenched American policy and fact caused many of the black migrants to settle in the northern end of town under the strict lash of residential segregation.

The African-American community again demonstrating an strength and resilience not their own began to build in the face of stark and sometime brutal government and nongovernmental social, political, and economic oppression. The black entrepreneurial spirit again raised it head and these leaders began to take advantage of the entrepreneurial opportunities that strict segregation provide them.  They created an impressive business ecosystem “that included banks, hotels, cafes, clothiers, movie theaters, and contemporary homes.  Greenwood residents enjoyed many luxuries that their White neighbors did not, including indoor plumbing and a remarkable school system that superiorly educated Black children.”

This community was destroy by pure evil intent in the form of racial terrorism, but most black economically prosperous business centers were not destroyed by mob violence, but by government policies that drove private business decision making using urban renewal and redlining policies to systematically build wealth for working and middle class whites and to deny and starve black working and middle class residents of capital. 


Understanding Redlining

In 1933, faced with a housing shortage, the federal government began a program explicitly designed to increase — and segregate — America’s housing stock. Author Richard Rothstein says the housing programs begun under the New Deal were tantamount to a “state-sponsored system of segregation.” The government’s efforts were “primarily designed to provide housing to white, middle-class, lower-middle-class families,” he says. African-Americans and other people of color were left out of the new suburban communities — and pushed instead into urban housing projects.

The term “redlining”comes from the development by the New Deal, by the federal government of maps of every metropolitan area in the country. And those maps were color-coded by first the Home Owners Loan Corp. and then the Federal Housing Administration and then adopted by the Veterans Administration, and these color codes were designed to indicate where it was safe to insure mortgages. And anywhere where African-Americans lived, anywhere where African-Americans lived nearby were colored red to indicate to appraisers that these neighborhoods were too risky to insure mortgages.

The Current Impact of Redlining

Today African-American incomes on average are about 60 percent of average white incomes. But African-American wealth is about 5 percent of white wealth. Most middle-class families in this country gain their wealth from the equity they have in their homes. So this enormous difference between a 60 percent income ratio and a 5 percent wealth ratio is almost entirely attributable to federal housing policy redlining implemented through the 20th century.

In 1968 the Fair Housing Act was passed that allowed African-Americans to effectively purchase homes anywhere in the United States, but this law was an empty promise the damage had been done. Those homes are no longer affordable to the families that could’ve afforded them when whites were buying into those suburbs and gaining the equity and the wealth that followed from the government sponsored policy of Redlining.

The Promise of Crowd Investing Via Buy the Block

Lynn P. is a black female serial entrepreneur that used the first black owned crowdfunding platform, which she founded, to raise over $110,000 to build the first and only black and female headed real estate crowdinvesting platform — Buy the Block. Buy the Block offers an extremely low entry fee of $100 that lowers the barrier of entry for many of the low-moderate income black families that are looking to invest in businesses and real estate projects.

Black people in the United States have a combined purchasing power of $1.3 trillion that would make our community the 13 largest global economies, but our wealth is encroaching zero and only 5 percent of white America, our income is 60 percent of white America. Locavesting and crowd investing allow African-American communities to to invest in community based businesses and support these same businesses as consumers with a vested interest in the success of these businesses.  

WeCycl Providing Economic Direction

 WeCycl is a platform that allows businesses from undeserved communities to connect with people of undeserved communities to recycle spending dollars creating economic empowerment. Undeserved communities. WeCycl Connect  is an African American business directory and online marketplace with a goal to create the largest directory and digital marketplace of African American businesses and organizations globally. WeCycl wants to connect the over 2 million black owned businesses to over $1.3 trillion of African American spending dollars and also promote black businesses to partner and spend with one another.

  1. Black women are starting businesses at the highest rate in the U.S.
  2. The black dollar stays in the African American community for only 6 hours
  3. African American we over 50% of Hennessy consumer base which sells 2.3 million cases/year but drinks less alcohol on average than the rest of the U.S
  4. African Americans earning six figures is the fastest growing segment in America
  5. African American women are the most educated women in America
  6. African Americans use cell phone devices more than any other group

We must recycle our dollars. When we recycle our dollars we create jobs, we improve our socio-economic condition, and leverage political influence. Support black owned businesses.

The Value of Blogging for Your Crowdfunding Campaign

Introduction

Blogging is a great tool to connect and share information with your crowd on a regular basis. By a regular basis, I mean that they can expect to read a new blog post every Friday at 1:00 pm Eastern Time. Never has it been easier to share your experience and expertise in such a direct and concise manner. Writing a blog is a perfect platform to strengthen the connection between you as a professional and your audience, customers, and colleagues. Besides the obvious benefits for a business such as driving traffic to your website and SEO, there are many reasons why blogging is essential to every crowdfunding campaign during the prelaunch period.

Audience Connection

Blogging provides a great way to connect with your audience and help them to get to know you and what your campaign is about and how your product can impact their lives. This helps to build trust, as you become a source of expertise in your field. Consumers like to be informed, and appreciate any knowledge that can be shared with them in a quick and time effective manner. Blogging is also a great platform to receive feedback and engage in dialogue with your customers and audience, helping both you and your audience grow.

Demonstrating Thought Leadership

The best blogs share expertise that is concise and extremely informative. If you have an expert opinion and product for crowdfunding, a blog is a great way to expose your views to the world. When you consistently create content that’s helpful for your audience, it establishes you as an authority in your field. Once you are seen as an authority clients will come to you for all their needs related to your niche and learn more about your product in the case of a crowdfunding campaign. Your blog is a powerful tool to add value to their lives and build trust between you and your audience for your the future launch of your crowdfunding campaign.

Reaching New Customer for your Campaign

Writing blogs is a great way to reach new customers. Potential customers will stumble upon your blog and get an insight into what you and your crowdfunding campaign are all about, and the value you can provide. A blog can easily be shared through social media, quickly exposing your knowledge to the world. Linking back to your website is an obvious way to get new customers to link back to you potentially opening you up to a new relationship with them.

Takeaway

Blogging is a tool like many others that it is used for marketing, but it is more than that because people can look to you as being knowledgeable about the information that you blog about. The importance of blogging for a crowdfunding campaign cannot be stressed enough in today’s marketplace. Along with the other tools that are available such as Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook, incorporating a blog site that gives your audience information that is useful will help you have your crowdfunding campaign growing in no time.

Thanks to These 56 Black-Owned Companies That Offer Shared Co-Working Office Spaces, You Don’t Need Your Own Office Anymore!

 

All in all, there are at least 56 Black-owned businesses that offer shared co-working office spaces in urban communities around the country. Their goal, according to Motherboard is to “provide more than conference rooms, Wi-Fi, and limitless coffee.” Instead, “they are built to give black entrepreneurs a safe space to find themselves in the work of innovation where they have largely been excluded.”

Real-estate centric coworking spaces are about selling desks first, with building community as a secondary goal. Owners of such services usually target freelance professionals, remote workers, and small to medium enterprises who need a space and seek a community with a collaborative spirit.

Here are just 5 of the many Black-owned ones that exist:

#1 – Black Space NYC: Based in New York City, this a collective of young, Black changemakers, systems thinkers, learners, and lovers. By bridging the gaps between policy, people, and place, their platform allows for the greater understanding, access, and cooperation needed to address inequality and injustice.

#2 – Inclusive Innovation Incubator: Based in Washington, DC, this is the first Black-owned community space focused on inclusion, innovation and incubation. The incubator is committed to creating a collaborative environment where under-resourced members have access to the space and services needed to build or grow a successful business.

#3 – Space Called Tribe: Based in Miami, Florida, this is a Black-owned collaborative shared office/co-working space that also houses an urban innovation lab for under served high growth minority entrepreneurs.

#4 – Vector 90: Based in Los Angeles, California, this is a Black-owned hyper-modern industrial-style space with hot desks, a kitchen, and private conference rooms. They give their members the freedom to build their plans from the ground up.

#5 – The Gathering Spot: Based in Atlanta, Georgia, this Black-owned co-working space serves as a hub of diverse collaboration, connections and experiences uniquely positioned to build the future of what community looks like. Frustrated with an inability to find “space and community”, the two founders came up a concept that would “gather” people from all walks of life under one roof with a unique mix of activities.

For the full list of all the Black-owned co-working office spaces, visit:
www.medium.com/theplug/an-almost-comprehensive-list-of-black-owned-co-working-spaces-70c5d086f9ec

Source: http://blog.blackbusiness.org/2018/08/black-owned-companies-offering-shared-coworking-office-spaces.html#.W3WNOOhKhPY

Posted on August 16, 2018 By Staff With 0 comments

Black-Female Serial Entrepreneur Raises over $110 Thousand Through Crowd Investing To Create The first Black-owned Real Estate Crowd Investing Platform In The United States

The JOBS Act of 2012

Crowd investing is being made possible by the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, or JOBS Act, a law intended to encourage funding of small businesses and real estate development in the United States by easing many of the country’s securities regulations. It passed with bipartisan support and was signed into law by President Barack Obama on April 5, 2012.  

Crowd Investing for Everyone

On May 16th, 2016 Title III, the regulation crowdfunding act went into effect and the floodgates of capital aggregation have been open to the Black community for the first time in History.  Rodney Sampson, an entrepreneur, educator, and journalist calls “Title III Regulation Crowdfunding the single most important legislation for African-Americans since the Emancipation Proclamation!”

Buy The Block

Crowd investing through Buy The Block allows community members to invest in businesses, residential and commercial real estate with their community peers to build a self-sustained business/investment ecosystem for disenfranchised communities and neighborhoods to build community equity and personal wealth. Buy the Block is the first foray for the Black community into the multibillion-dollar global real estate crowd investing industry as an owner.

Why Crowd Investing

Businesses new and old, small, and large, are now incorporating crowd investing to change the paradigm of urban economic development.  The capital formation playbooks have changed under the weight of the rising tide of “crowd capitalism”. The interest in how to effectively implement crowd investing to is reaching new and dizzying heights every day and Buy the Block is at the forefront of this innovation.

Funding “Black Girl Magic” Through Nail Spas

According to Nielsen Black women have experienced steady growth in income, population, and educational attainment, according to the study. Between 2007 and 2012, Black female entrepreneurs have grown by 67 percent. In education, 64 percent of Black women graduating from high school go straight to college, while 23 percent over the age of 25 have a bachelor’s degree or higher. But On average, black female-led startups raise just $36,000 of outside funding which amounts to 1 percent of VC funding.

Buy The Block intends to transform the relationship between Black female entrepreneurs and access to capital through with their Nail Spa Initiative. Buy The Block is on a mission to fund 12 Black-owned nail spas over the next 12-24 months including the commercial real estate where the spas sit.   

Why does CrowdInvesting matter in this market?

Many inner-city Black communities are retail and food deserts, which means that they lack access to some of the most basic necessities in their communities. These communities have very low Black-owned retail businesses and own even less commercial real estate. Black homeownership is at its lowest level since the 1960’s fair housing laws were enacted, and even though Black start businesses at a high level over 75 percent of them are undercapitalized. The best thing about CrowdInvesting with Buy The Block is that it focuses on solving issues on the inner-city market and allow people to become investors for just $100.  

If you want to find out more about CrowdInvesting or you want to support the 12 Nails Spas initiative, just visit Buy The Block to find all the details and information needed to bring our community project to reality!

JOIN THE MOVEMENT!

Did you join the movement? 

www.buytheblock.com 

Posted on December 13, 2017 By Staff With 0 comments

It’s True! More African Americans Are Investing in the Stock Market

african_americans_investors_stock_market

A recent national study by Chicago-based Ariel Investments shows that more black Americans are investing in the stock market. For years, blacks stayed away from stock investments, but that trend is beginning to change.

67% of Blacks are investing

According to the study, stock market investing has grown among the black population over the years. In 1998, 57 percent of blacks were investing in stocks or stock mutual funds. By 2010, that number had grown to 60 percent, and today 67 percent of blacks invest in stocks or stock mutual funds. One reason suggested is that more employers are offering 401K programs for their employees. Since employers match 401K deposits up to various amounts, black employees consider this a very important reason to invest and grow wealth.

Investment attitudes different based on race

Investment attitudes and behaviors differ between blacks and whites. Blacks and Hispanics invest less money, and their investments are in safer yet low-returning assets, making their wealth levels about 90 percent lower than the wealth levels of median whites, even when their level of income is only 40 percent lower. This has an effect on the growth of overall wealth.

But wait, there’s more!

In addition, while blacks always considered their homes to be their “best overall investment,” that, too, is changing, falling from 61 percent in 2004 to its current level of 37 percent. How they view stock investing, however, is changing in the opposite direction. In 2004, only 28 percent of blacks felt that stocks were their best overall investment. But in the recent survey, that number increased to 41 percent.

What all of this may point to is closing the gap in wealth inequality between black and white Americans as the upward trend for more black investors in the stock market continues.

Would you like to join an investment group? Click here.
For more details about the study, visit www.arielinvestments.com/content/view/3006/1850/

 

Posted on December 6, 2017 By Staff With 1 comment

FIRST BLACK-OWNED REAL ESTATE CROWD INVESTING COMPANY IS SHOWING EVERYONE HOW TO BUY BACK THE BLOCK; BLACK COMMUNITY IS EXCITED

Crowdfund Your Way to the Top!

Little drops of water can run into great pools, and there is power in numbers and these form the premise of crowdinvesting. Recall those charity dinners where lots of money is realized for a good cause because loads of different individuals or organizations contributed their widow’s mite to the coffer? A similar scenario plays out in crowdinvesting. The good part is that the whole process is regulated and backed by laws to protect all the players.

Now, even though crowdinvesting, especially real estate crowdinvesting is a relatively young venture, it has gained many grounds in that short period. Why do you think that is the case? It offers the average person the opportunity to own properties that they would not have been able to hold or sell otherwise. A few years back, you hardly find individuals venturing into real estate, except, of course, the bourgeoisie and the corporate multimillion enterprises. Things have changed since then.

You can make more money, in the long run of course. You get to invest and contribute positively towards the betterment of the lives of numerous people. You would be helping to keep the dream of shelter for ‘all,’ a reality. You would have done something you and your future generation would be proud of for years to come. You can beat your chest in years to come and say ‘yes, I was here,’ in addition to making money.

Although it sounds risky, and it probably is, but come on, what worthy undertaking in life is not fraught with risks? However, as I mentioned previously, the laws and regulators are there to guide and protect you. Besides, BuyTheBlock.com wants to be around in this business for years to come, leading investors like you to greatness.

Own The Block

The real estate investors on BuyTheBlock.com are called BlockVestors, apt right? I love the title myself.

BlockVestors can invest as little as $100 in equity or debt securities. You or anyone else can participate, and you do not need to be accredited.

You pay nothing to register as a BlockVestor. All you need do is register on the website, browse, review any of the available offers, get whatever information you need about the offer with a click, and sign any agreement electronically. Then you purchase your shares whenever it suits you. Social media can be used to publicize the properties you are buying, owning or selling. Very simple right?

Oh, what if you change your mind? There is room for a refund so far as you do that 48 hours before the offer closes. Oh, I almost forgot this tiny piece of information, your returns! This is distributed to all the BlockVestors within the specified period, depending on whether the investment is equity or debt.

Sell The Blocks

You know, there is this freedom associated with Buy The Block kind of crowdinvesting. Another interesting point you should know is that you have the opportunity of becoming a Block Developer at Buy The Block. As such, you can raise $1.07 million for any real estate project and or business that includes real estate over a year period via Buy The Block.

Simple step too, create an online account, provide the property information, followed by some paper works, then after the due diligence protocols and approval you are on your way to becoming a Developer on Buy the Block. Afterwards, you publicize, notify your group of BlockVestors who in turn can invest once the property becomes open for investment.

The whole process is something you can begin once you make up your mind, it does not take much to create your online profile or start block offer.

Offer Categories

Variety is the spice of life. Take a look at the various categories available on Buy The Block.

  • Office category
  • Retail category
  • Industrial category
  • Multi-family residential category and
  • Single-family residential category

No matter your tastes and interests, you are covered. These types, along with the latest offers are beautifully and proudly displayed on BuyTheBlock.com so you can quickly make the right choices.

Why not take that leap of faith? You have nothing to lose really. You can carry out your research on all the other parties involved just to be sure you are at the right place with the proper investment.

Please visit www.buytheblock.com to get all your burning questions answered.

Knowledge is power. Whatever you decide, Buy the Block will work with you every step of the way. If you encounter any problem along the way, they are only a click away. You can also email or call customer care representatives.

Finally, be sure to invest and invest wisely to secure your future and that of many others.

BUY THE BLOCK  A SPACE TO INVEST IN REAL ESTATE WITH YOUR PEERS

Posted on November 22, 2017 By Staff With 0 comments

Top 7 Black-Owned Restaurants in New Orleans (The Best Gumbo, Jambalaya and More!)

New Orleans, Louisiana is known as one of the culinary capitals of the United States. Food served in this amazing city reflects the local Cajun, Creole, and French roots. Visitors come from all over the world just to taste its exquisite gumbo, jambalaya, crawfish, red beans and rice, and more. And every summer, hundreds of thousands of African Americans come to New Orleans to attend the Essence Music Festival.

Here are some of the best Black-owned restaurants in New Orleans:

#1 – Ray’s On The Ave: located at 1139 St Bernard Ave, famous for fast service, gumbo and fried chicken, boiled crawfish, and live music.

#2 – Fred’s BBQ & Soul Food: located at 3336 S Claiborne Ave, serves some of the best barbecues in New Orleans, along with Mac and cheese, yams, and corn.

#3 – Heard Dat Kitchen: located at 2520 Felicity St will more than satisfy you if your craving is for Cajun/Creole, Seafood, Soul Food. Try their crawfish stuffed shrimp and the blackened catfish and green beans for starters. Good food and southern hospitality.

#4 – Bennachin Restaurant: located in the French Quarter, serves some of the best African and Soul food around. From cabbage and couscous (Yasa) to the black-eyed peas and coconut rice with plantains (Kone Ni Makondo), it’s all good here!

#5 – High Hat Cafe: located; at 4500 Freret St, specializes in southern, soul food favorites like catfish, BBQ gold shrimp, shrimp Po boy, one-eyed burger, mac & cheese, cornbread, pimento cheese grits, and slow-roasted pork. The restaurant is also dog-friendly!

#6 – McHardy’s Chicken & Fixin’: located at 1458 N Broad St, is a favorite among chicken-lovers. Customers consider their fresh, fried chicken the best in the city. Reasonable prices, too.

#7 – Catty Car Corner: located at 1340 Poydras St, has a 1980s style decor and serves cafeteria style, including breakfast. One of their specialties is grilled cheese sandwich made with gruyere, caramelized onions, and prosciutto. Customers say it is “melted high-quality cheese.” Try their pulled pork, too. The restaurant is closed for dinner but serves breakfast and lunch.

Posted on June 1, 2017 By Staff With 0 comments

Program Is Showing the Black Community how to ‘Buy Back the Block’– One Investment at a Time

Lynn the Founder of Buy The Block

Lynn, Founder of Buy The Block — Program Is Showing the Black Community how to ‘Buy Back the Block’s One Investment at a Time

MEMBERS OF THE BLACK COMMUNITY RALLY TOGETHER TO ‘BUY BACK THE BLOCK’– ONE INVESTMENT AT A TIME

Following the successful creation of ‘Buy The Block’ as well as the passionate contribution of the community towards ensuring that the movement’s goal of raising the sum of $100,000+ is reached.  Lynn is thrilled to announce the highly anticipated launch of their new one-stop online crowd investing real estate investment platform,  2017.

Even though we are not yet there, it is heart-warming to see black people across the U.S., unite as one to embrace and support this unique concept via their continued contribution. With their help, we’ve been able to raise almost $109,000+ an amount we are devoting towards the development of our website, app and buying our first block” said Lynn, CEO at ‘Buy The Block’. In the coming months, contributors will be taking advantage of some excellent features that will take everyone by storm. These unique offerings will be targeting the existing state of affairs and bringing a breath of fresh air to the industry.

Suffice it to say that ‘Buy The Block’ aim to lead sponsors and developers in a significant number of investor’s projects if not all. This major factor in their operation distinguishes them from other crowd investing platforms.  While loads of their competitors only handle third-party sponsored projects and front as mediators through the provision of technology to execute funding for outsourcing deal. Buy The Block has been able to carve a niche for itself by putting their money where their mouth is and spearheading their project development with the help of their in-house Block Development Success Managers.

Doing this has helped us to reduce risks to the barest minimum and increase investors’ returns. Furthermore, through the creation of a personalized portal per investor, we furnish each of them with frequent real-time investment updates.  Our process will help us to earn their confidence without hassles.”  With a team of sound and highly respected professionals, Buy The Block is on a mission to change the face of crowd investing real estate. By keeping each investor informed through the provision of regular updates, the company continues to endear itself into the heart of investors.

“We have a blueprint of what works, and it will produce results. We are here to stay and lead the way by making real investing easier than ever” Lynn concluded.  Buy The Block was live on Saturday, June 17th, 2017 (Juneteenth)! Visit our Facebook page for more details.

Buy The Block goal was 500 members, we now have 450+!  Way to go!

Join The Movement

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Contact:
Buy The Block
Email: info@buytheblock.com
URL: https://www.buytheblock.com

Posted on February 23, 2017 By Staff With 73 comments

The #1 Financial Principle YOU MUST KNOW

The #1 Financial Principle YOU MUST KNOW

 

Financial literacy is not just about knowing how to save your money.

Anybody can do that.

Financial literacy is about knowing how to — USE money.

Look, we know that the average White family in the U.S. has 13 times more wealth than the average Black family1 with Whites at $144,200 compared with Blacks at $11,200.

The income of the average educated Black income is $43,300. For Whites, its, $71,300.

Do not be confused by the difference in wealth and income.

Wealth is the total sum of your assets (things you own with value i.e. houses, businesses, stocks) MINUS your total debt.

Annual Income is merely the amount of money you make in a year.

Of course, most of that wealth gap can be attributed to historical racial oppression:

The long history of Black exclusion by Whites from homeownership2, education3, and jobs4 worked to keep Black folks from generating and maintaining wealth.

But you knew the wealth gap existed before you read this.

That’s not why I’m here.

I’m here to tell you that real financial literacy is about knowing how to — USE money & how to THINK with money. It’s using your money like little soldiers, sending your dollars out on a mission to recruit and capture more dollars.

Let me let you in on an often forgotten secret…

Black people save.

Black people are responsible.

Black people are tremendously intelligent.

The problem is not that we don’t know how to save money or that we only care about Jordans’.

The problem is that saving is not enough.

Saving is only one aspect of financial literacy.

It’s like you’re learning to read and write again- you finally learn where the Period goes in the sentence…Good. But there are key principles that you still need to know in order to actually become literate.

I want to share with you the # 1 key financial principle that you must know. It’s time to learn the rules of money. I’m so grateful someone shared the game with me back when I thought that if I just play by the rules, get my Master’s degree, then I’ll be alright.

SMH.

Back when I didn’t understand the Rules of Money, I found myself standing in the EBT line like so many of our people. I was demoralized… I mean, I never went to jail, I got an education, a Master’s, networked, treated people nicely….

 

I never knew The System was not built to reward Black people for being educated and hardworking. The system was built for people who know and play well by the Rules of Money.

 

Like it or not.

 

That’s why I’m sharing this with you.

Still though, I hear too many people talking about how Black folks will never be able to overcome the wealth gap, how Whites will destroy whatever Black people build, or how there is nothing Black people can do to live better if government does not intervene. It’s infuriating to me.

The problem: These naysayers are often right.

However, this Does Not Mean that Black people should be doing NOTHING but marching.

Why? Because there ARE ways to GENERATE WEALTH for the average Black family if we understand the Rules of Money.

White folks are not stopping you from reading this. They will not stop you from investing, either.

You have tremendous Power.

If you start with the #1 financial principle, you can enhance what you know and generate wealth for yourself and our community.

The #1 financial principle I want to share with you is: LEVERAGE.

Let me ask you a question:

I want you to really imagine that debt collectors are knocking down your door, you’ve been stressing for months, your debts fall into default mode. You can’t sleep.

Let’s say your total debt is $60,000 (student loans, credit cards) & your total annual expenses are $40,000. You’re having a hard time finding work.

If you had $60,000 dollars in debt and you were given $100,000 to use any way you want, how would you spend the money?

Would you pay the $60,000 debt, then invest the rest in a business?

Bad Idea.

This decision shows a lack of understanding of financial principle #1- LEVERAGE.

Here’s why:

If you completely pay off the debt right now, you just lost $60,000 and now only have $40,000 to work with.

$40,000 in free money sounds great don’t it? Especially to someone who couldn’t sleep only nights before because of crushing debt.

However, there is a bigger picture at work.

Financial Leverage= using a small amount of money to acquire assets that generate larger amounts of money.

You are going to purchase an ASSET. Assets are things that make you money. For example, when you purchase a stock, every year that stock will pay you just for owning it in the form of interest and dividends. This is what makes the stock valuable.

After you purchase the asset, you are going to make that asset pay off your debt for you.

Here’s What You Do With The $100K:

First, pay down your debt to the point where it falls out of default. THEN STOP. Let’s say this requires $10K.

You will keep up monthly payments so that you are slowly paying down your debt. Your monthly payments on this loan are $800.

Now you have $90K left. You are about to create a debt plan that applies LEVERAGE.

With the $90K, you go to a bank and finance a rental property. You will put 20% down on a property in a great, affordable location. The property cost $200K.

20% of 200K means that you will put down $40K to purchase the home. You’ve done your research and see that the mortgage payment plus all expenses is $950 (assuming a 3.5% interest on the mortgage).

You also know that you can rent out this property for $1950 a month.

This will create a profit of $1000 each month.

That means that you just used $40K to acquire a $200K asset. You generate $1000 each month off of the asset ($1950 rent-$950 you owe to the bank for the mortgage).

You use this $1000 a month to pay down your $800 monthly debt in credit cards/student loans. This is applying LEVERAGE.

Think about it- If it cost you $800 a month to pay down your $50K credit card and student loan debt, that means you will pay off the debt in 5.2 years.

Now how long will people be renting your house?

You will still be able to rent out your property even after your debt is paid off.

This means you have an asset consistently working for you even after it pays down your credit and student loans debts.

This is applying Leverage- you have purchased an asset that consistently generates money for you and you didn’t have to spend a lot to do it.

You spent $10K to get out of default, $40K to finance a property. You still have $50K left to invest in another property, stock, business, or seed through crowd-sourcing to your community.

If you would have paid off the $60K right away, you would only have $40K left, and no assets that are making you money. You would be in a financially worse position.

Much better than just paying down ALL your debt outright.

Right now, you’re thinking- “That’s smooth and all, but no one is about to give me $100K”.

Fair enough.

The point is for you to get busy thinking about how you can LEVERAGE the money you do have in order to improve your future financial position.

Here’s what you can do today:

Purchase some stock– From the privacy of your own home, you can put money in the S&P 500 ETF (purchase thru Vanguard or any online trading platform). Interest is around 7%. That means that every 10.2 years, your money will double. So if you only put $1K in today AND NEVER PUT ANY MORE MONEY IN, in 10 years (on average), that $1K will turn into $2K.

However, if you put $1K in EVERY Year for 10 years consecutively, you will have $14,783. At the end of another 10 years, $43,865.18, if you continue for another 10 years, $101,073.05. This keeps on going.

In a total of 30 years, you will have generated $100K.

Keep in mind that only $30K is money you put in directly- $70K is pure earned compounded interest.

Let me put it another way:

At the end of 30 years…

you would have generated more than $100,000…

for less than $2.80 a day…

That’s using rule #1- Financial LEVERAGE in order to create large sums of money with very few dollars. Your money is working like little soldiers for you now.

Now, maybe some of you are saying- “I ain’t got 30 years to wait.”

First, you don’t need 30 years. Imagine if you could put $10K into the market instead of just $1K.

Or…

Imagine if you began crowd-sourcing to raise money directly for your business today.

Or…

Imagine doing both. Having a long-term strategy of disciplined investment in the stock market and a short-term strategy of starting your own business to generate income.

For people who think that Time is STILL a problem…

I’m sorry, but it’s not really about you.

Never invest in the market just for yourself.

If you have children, in 30 years, they may be able to use $100K to fund real estate, businesses, and invest in stocks.

Invest NOW for THEM.

The wealth gap between Blacks and Whites is staggering. This will likely remain the case.

That does not mean that you are powerless to enhance your financial future. If you understand the #1 financial principle- you can take steps to build Generational Wealth today.

We Black folks are good at doing a lot with a little.

Luckily, the rules of money DEMAND that you learn to do a lot with a little…

Sounds like you already got a leg up. 

 

Continue Reading

PROGRAM SHOWS BLACK ENTREPRENEURS HOW TO “BUY THE BLOCK” — MAKING REAL INVESTING EASIER THAN EVER

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Visit buytheblock.org for more information.

Having successfully launched Buy Black Economics (the World’s Largest Digital Info Product Store dedicated to Black Businesses) as well as numerous other ventures, Lynn Da is excited to announce the creation of Buy The Block, an initiative that will allow individuals and groups to pool funds, share knowledge, and vote on properties in which to invest!

As the name suggests, Buy The Block is a web-based platform that is geared towards making investing in real estate easier. It presents an opportunity to invest with other connected investors and provides the added benefit of giving each investor individual ownership in the block.

Buy The Block is currently crowdfunding to take its operations to the next phase, through the development and deployment of a website, mobile app and buying the first block. To join the movement, click here: https://buytheblock.com/

With a good number of black Americans lacking access to viable real estate investment opportunities, Lynn views Buy The Block as the most logical step towards becoming better real estate investors/owners. Once adequately capitalized, the website and mobile app will empower users to start investing, having fun, and building wealth; as a vibrant and interconnected community.

“Buy The Block has been created to help my people invest. Our vision is to change investing from confusing and frustrating, to an accessible and enjoyable social experience,” said Lynn, concept developer for Buy The Block. “We want to create a new generation of connected investors who feel informed, empowered, and confident. The launch of our website and mobile app will certainly take group investing to a whole new level,” Lynn added.

Since 2010, Lynn has created an array of notable projects such as BBNomics.com (a black business crowdfunding site), 2MillionJobs.com (a black business jobs initiative), and Buy Black Economics Investment Group.

Buy The Block is the most recent social marketing concept from of the Cincinnati-based female entrepreneur. With less than a month left to raise $60,000 to $100,000 for the website and mobile app development–Lynn is confident that the community will unite to fully support this effort!

“Ultimately, by making a contribution to this campaign, you are helping Buy The Block reach the goal of creating a platform for our community to acquire and develop real estate” Lynn Da concluded.

For more information or to make a pledge go to https://buytheblock.com/ .

Find Buy The Block on Facebook (facebook.com/buytheblock/), Website ( http://www.buytheblock.com/), Twitter (twitter.com/buytheblocknow) and YouTube (youtube.com/channel/UCCyowx8NEZsiXAZA6u7HeUg), watch the video (https://youtu.be/K6zLbx0pu94)

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PROGRAM SHOWS BLACK ENTREPRENEURS HOW TO “BUY THE BLOCK” — MAKING REAL INVESTING EASIER THAN EVER

Posted on November 4, 2016 By Staff With 63 comments

6 Black-Owned Barbecue Spots That Have Been Around for Over 60 Years

black_owned_barbecue_bbq

Barbecue restaurants (also known as BBQ joints, spots, pits) serving dishes like pork rib, cole slaw, potato salad and more have long been popular among African Americans, and there are many Black-owned ones located across the country. Several, however, have been around for quite a few decades and were even frequented by civil rights heroes like Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

Here are 6 Black-owned barbecue spots that have been around that long:

#1 – Bar-B-Q Shop: Located in Memphis, Tennessee, this joint is known for its acclaimed sauces & dry seasonings top ribs, spaghetti & pork sandwiches served on Texas toast. Many say that barbecue spaghetti, one of the city’s signature dishes, got its start here.

#2 – Brenda’s Barbeque Pit: Located in Montgomery, Alabama for nearly 75 years, Brenda’s Bar-B-Que Pit is the fourth-oldest barbecue joint in the state. Since opening in 1942, the west side staple has witnessed Montgomery’s changing history, at times seeing it first-hand.

#3 – McMillan Bar-B-Que: This joint in Mobile, Alabama, was established after Hurricane Frederick destroyed the gas lines to the family’s service station in 1979. Now, however, it is run by a second generation of the family. The owners cook toothsome pork ribs over oak wood in a brick-and-plaster pit that the family built themselves.

#4 – Bunyan’s Bar-B-Q: Located in Florence, Alabama, this restaurant is known for what the Washington Post calls its “sensational mustard-based hot slaw”. It’s a cozy, retro-style pit stop for hot dogs, beans & chicken, and renowned foodist Michael Twitty has called their barbecue “edible jazz.”

#5 – Tony Morrow’s Real Pit BBQ: Located in Atlanta, Georgia, this restaurant (pictured above) is known as a brick-walled spot that plays old R&B music. The diner features cowhide-adorned seats, and a delicious menu of BBQ & Southern standards. They are specifically known for their outstanding lemon-pepper ribs and moist red velvet cupcakes.

#6 – Lannie’s Bar-B-Q Spot: Located in Selma, Alabama, this black-owned restaurant is, according to The Washington Post, “a meticulously maintained, high-ceilinged, white-walled neighborhood restaurant” that’s been around for about 75 years. It’s also known for being a local community center.

Source: http://blog.blackbusiness.org/2016/06/black-owned-barbecue-bbq-spots-joints-pits-restaurants.html#.V2qZc9IrJ1s

 

Posted on June 22, 2016 By Staff With 4 comments

Entrepreneur Making Global Impact with First Ever African Inspired Home Decor Business

bedroom

The home décor industry has gone through loads of changes in the last couple of years. Despite the recent economic downturn, its market growth has shown no signs of slowing down.

From the emergence of brands like Ballard Designs, C&B, and Anthropologie, not forgetting heaps of other global materials that have found their way into people’s homes, now the latest development in the home décor business involves the use of African prints and designs for homes. LakayDesigns.com, based in Miami, Florida, is the new pacesetter.

Owned by savvy entrepreneur Jojo, LakayDesigns.com is a first of its kind African Decor Business that is dedicated towards restoring the rich cultural heritage of African designs to homes, as well as adding the beauty of African ‘colors’ to the everyday life of African Americans.

Renowned as a provider of unique home décor services, their products which covers the; Kitchen, Bathroom, Living Room, Dining Room and Bedroom Essentials, is quickly becoming a favorite for conscious African-Americans in the USA, Caribbean and even the United Kingdom.

“After taking a careful look at what was already available in the home décor industry, I decided to produce an enviable line of product offerings that would make an impact, and which everyone could have 100% confidence in,” Jojo explains.
The company has created an innovative distribution channel by selling direct to wholesalers and retailers via their website. It is noteworthy to mention that most orders placed by 1pm are shipped on the same day.

Additionally, the LakayDesigns.com wholesale program features a low-cost system for other entrepreneurs to get involved in a fast growing business. They also have an affiliate program where affiliates can earn as high as 20%-40% commission on any sale they refer, which can add up fast.

“We’re helping to empower organizations in the community with our specialty items, which in turn generates income and pride back to the community,” says Jojo.
“I’ve had calls from all over; US, Canada and the Caribbean. Plus, the website has received requests from England, and loads of other European countries,” Jojo explains.

The company’s African print designs are available globally through the website and from authorized wholesalers. “I bought one a while back, my mom took it from me. They’re excellent material and the big pockets are very useful. Very satisfied with the purchase, now I just need to get another for myself again,” says Princess Dixon, one of their numerous satisfied customers.

Always on the cutting edge, LakayDesigns.com has a new line of Bath, Bedding, Kitchen Essentials and Home Decor that would be released and available for purchase very soon. To learn more about their line of products visit http://www.lakaydesigns.com/store.html

About Us
“Home is Home! Small batch manufacturing and distribution of African print designs for your home as well as everyday life.

LaKay Designs is a way for you to jazz up your home or business with gorgeous unique one of kind pieces. Our African print fabrics have the capacity to inspire the most intriguing conversation. Our designs set the tone for your culture.
We know YOU’RE different; you set your own standard! Show off your unique style with LaKay. LaKay means ‘Home’ in Haitian Creole. Support black business.”
To know more about Lakay Designs, visit – http://www.lakaydesigns.com/about.html

Lakay 032

PRESS CONTACT:
Jojo Pierre
Tel: 513-873-9255
home@lakaydesigns.com

Posted on June 2, 2016 By Staff With 0 comments

BUY BLACK ECONOMICS 2ND ANNUAL BLACK BUSINESS CONTEST

black_women_fastest_growing_business_segment

If you’ve followed BBNomics or Buy Black Economics social media networks, you know we are kicking up our efforts to raise awareness about Black Businesses.  We’ve launched our first annual campaign to support businesses that support our communities. We are utilizing Crowdsourcing to find these black businesses and their customers. All throughout July customers can Nominate a Black Business that exceeded their expectations!

This contest will allow black businesses gain access to capital and garner support from our community, meanwhile rewarding all contributors with prizes for their nominations and support.  Do you know of a black business that supports the community? Did you visit a black business that fulfilled your need immediately and had impeccable service? Let us know!

By appealing to our customers, we hope to grow our community of supporters and to increase business awareness, especially among our young people.

Here is your chance to win the following:

  • 1st Prize Buy Black Economics Pop Up in your city and your location
  • 2nd One Year Platinum Business Listing on Buy Black Economics  *value* $600*
  • 3rd  Prize winner will receive $100 gift card from our favorite BOB. 
  • 4th  Prize Four (2) fourth place winners will receive a $25 gift card to several BOB’s.

Each Black Business Nomination, during the month of June will enter the entrepreneur and the nominee in a drawing for a chance to win prizes. You can nominate businesses in the comment section below. 

Each time you nominate a (BOB) Black Owned Business, during June, the nominee will be added to the drawing. 

You may nominate people/businesses in one category, a few select categories or every category.  Please provide as much of the information requested as possible so we may notify your nominee of their nomination and instruct them on next steps.  We do not share with nominees who actually nominated them.  You may nominate as many deserving people/businesses as you like in the same category but will have to submit a new form for each one.

You will be able to nominate businesses in any or all of the following categories:

How you’ll Enter:

  • Write a compelling story about how a Black Business “Wow’d” you. 
  • Share the story with us  via email, fb, twitter, linkedin, instagram etc..
  • Tell the business you entered them in Buy Black Economics 2nd Annual Black Business Contest. 

Each nomination received will be entered  in a drawing, each entry earns prizes mentioned above.  BBNomics & Buy Black Economics  method helps us all by creating much-needed jobs, entrepreneurs and something for our community members who support these endeavors.

Want to nominate more than one business?  Great!  Each additional nomination will get you another entry, plus there are extra prizes at for multiple nominations.  The more you nominate the more prizes you are eligible for. A thank-you from BBNomics & Buy Black Economics Team, a free spotlight of your business all year round and a custom-designed t-shirt and much more.

Remember, BBNomics uses 100% of its publicly raised funds to help speed access to capital for up and coming young black entrepreneurs. This contest-driven model allows BBNomics & Buy Black Economics supporters to win prizes while helping to build our community, one business and organization at a time.

The contest starts June 2nd, 2016 and end July 28th, 2016 at 11:59 pm eastern time, so enter now and share it with your friends and family!

  1. Website: https://buyblackeconomics.com/
  2. Twitter: @buyblkeconomics
  3. Intstagram: https://www.instagram.com/buyblackeconomics/
  4. Pinetrest: http://pinterest.com/bbnomics/boards/
  5. Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/bbeconomics/

Rules & Guidelines:

  • Contest valid ONLY at BBNomics & Buy Black Economics (and social media networks), no other site will qualify.
  • No limit to the number of black businesses you can submit to enter the contest.
  • Winners will be randomly selected on July 28th, 2016 and contacted via email or phone the week of August 13th, 2016
  • Winner’s prizes will be mailed from BBNomics. BBNomics reserves the right to choose a new winner.
  • BBNomics reserves the right not to select a winner if, in its sole discretion, no suitable entries are received.
  • Employees, Family member of employees and Partners of BBNomics are ineligible to take part in the contest.
  • Any prize, awards, rewards will be sent to the our contributors after the contest ends and no later than January 28, 2017.

Thank you and best of luck!

Disclaimer:  (Businesses Must have at least 1 year in business, with a track record of success, and a strong outlook for 2017) and nominated by a customer. Businesses can not nominate their self. 

BUY BLACK ECONOMICS

PRESENTS:

2ND ANNUAL BLACK BUSINESS CONTEST

 

Posted on May 28, 2016 By Staff With 0 comments

Black Woman Rejected by Airline Decides to Start Her Own Airline — And Does!

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When Sibongile Sambo, a 42-year old woman from South Africa, was told by South African Airways that she did not qualify for a flight attendant position because she did not meet their minimum height requirement, she decided to take matters into her own hands.
She became an entrepreneur, and started her very own airline called SRS Aviation, and until this day, her company is the only Black woman-owned and operated aviation company in Africa.

So, how did she do it?

Starting an airline is not an easy or cheap thing to do, but despite this, she was still able to get it off the ground.

First, she formed her company and gave it the name of SRS Aviation. Then, she bid and won a contract for cargo transport issued by the South African government and formed a partnership with MCC Aviation – a South African-based fixed & rotor wing charter operator. Finally, she sold her car and cashed out her mother’s pension to help her obtain an Air Operating Certificate from the South African Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). It wasn’t an easy process, but she was able to raise the needed capital and make it work!

Now, Sambo’s company offers their clients professional and personalized flight options to destinations in Africa and around the world. Their services include VIP charters, tourist charters, cargo charters, game count & capture, and helicopter services. Her customers pay anywhere from $1,000 USD to $200,000 USD per flight.

Her vision

Sambo’s vision is to be the number one choice in affordable air service solutions for individuals and businesses, locally and worldwide, by providing an unparalleled air service. She also aims to uphold the highest safety standards.

When it comes to giving back to her local community, she is also very passionate about helping young people by sharing her knowledge and expertise. During a recent interview with CNN, she commented, “I’m where I am today because somebody invested in me. It’s my opportunity now to invest in other people.”

For more details about SRS Aviation, visit www.srsaviation.co.za

Watch the video below:

Posted on May 10, 2016 By Staff With 0 comments

Top Five Black Farmers, Black Farming is back on the rise!

After a Century in Decline, Black Farmers Are Back and on the Rise

These Black farmers don’t stop at healthy food. They’re healing trauma, instilling collective values, and changing the way their communities think about the land.
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Blain Snipstal, second from left, with members of the Black Dirt Farm Collective. Photo courtesy Blain Snipstal.

Blain Snipstal and Aleya Fraser
Farm:Black Dirt Farm Collective
Location: Preston, Maryland
Number of Years Farming: 7
Revered Elder: Harriet Tubman

About 80 miles southeast of Baltimore, Black Dirt leases 2 acres that long have been home to the Black freedom struggle. Harriet Tubman once rescued her parents and nine other people from enslavement in this place, which was one of the first stops on the Underground Railroad.

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Vegan farmers JoVonna Johnson-Cooke and Eugene Cooke raise corn and other native crops at their Stone Mountain farm. Photo by Nicole Bluh.

Eugene Cooke and JoVanna Johnson-Cooke
Farm: Grow Where You Are Collective
Location: Atlanta and Stone Mountain, Georgia
Number of Years Farming: 14
Revered Elder: Wangari Maathai

Collaboration is also key for the nine members of the Grow Where You Are collective, who operate a 3-acre farm and food forest in Atlanta, as well as a 5-acre farm in the nearby rural community of Stone Mountain.

Yonnette Fleming holds a Rhode Island Red hen at the Hattie Carthan Community Garden. Photo by Quincy Ledbetter.

Yonnette Fleming holds a Rhode Island Red hen at the Hattie Carthan Community Garden. Photo by Quincy Ledbetter.

Yonnette Fleming
Farm: Hattie Carthan Herban Farm
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Number of Years Farming: 16
Revered Elder: Hattie Carthan

Yonette Fleming’s passion for agriculture comes through in the poetic urgency of her words. So it’s surprising to learn she once tried to escape it. She was raised in Guyana, where her family cooperated with indigenous communities to grow coconuts, sugar, rice, and other crops. She took a detour into corporate America before finding her way back to the land.

Lindsey Lunsford gathers peppers at TULIP’s community garden. Photo by Wil Sands.

Lindsey Lunsford gathers peppers at TULIP’s community garden. Photo by Wil Sands.

Lindsey Lunsford
Farm: Tuskegee United Leadership and Innovation Program (TULIP)
Location: Tuskegee, Alabama
Number of Years Farming: 2
Revered Elder: Booker T. Washington

The educator and activist Booker T. Washington once sent a letter to every resident of Tuskegee’s Greenwood neighborhood, encouraging them to grow home gardens in order to build self-sufficiency. Through her work with TULIP, Lindsey Lunsford is continuing his legacy.

Chris Bolden-Newsome shows off a basket of marshmallow root he grew at Bantram’s Garden. Photo by Owen Taylor.

Chris Bolden-Newsome shows off a basket of marshmallow root he grew at Bantram’s Garden. Photo by Owen Taylor.

Chris Bolden-Newsome
Farm: Community Farm and Food Resource Center at Bantram’s Garden (a project of the University of Pennsylvania’s Agatston Urban Nutrition Initiative)
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Number of Years Farming: 12
Revered Elders: Rufus and Demalda Newsome (his parents)

Before the “food justice” movement existed in the United States, Black farmers in the Mississippi Delta were cooperating to feed the community. Raised by farmers in that movement, Chris Bolden-Newsome assumed that growing food was something everybody did and was shocked to find otherwise when he moved north. He now manages a 50-bed community garden in his current home of Philadelphia, where he reconnects Black people to their agricultural heritage.

Source: Leah Penniman wrote this article for YES! Magazine. Leah is a farmer and educator based in the Albany, New York, area.

 

 

Posted on May 6, 2016 By Staff With 5 comments

Take Your Business To Haiti with The Film Black Friday

Take Your Business To Haiti

Take Your Business To Haiti Reserve your space today! http://bit.ly/haititour2016

Take Your Business To Haiti with The Film Black Friday

Join an amazing tour and see what opportunities are available to you outside of the United States. BBE and The Film Black Friday Director Ric Mathis will help you discover the opportunities that are just waiting for you. The tour will start from July 28 to July 31, 2016. The team will be filming on Haiti and interviewing participants and choosing the ones that will be featured in the next film.

Black Friday is a documentary that takes a deeper look into the spending behaviors of African-Americans in the US. Every year, 1.2 trillion dollars leave African-American communities. According to Nielsen Company’s recent survey, African-American consumers shop more often and are more aggressive patrons of media. They shop more, watch more television, buy more ethnic grooming and beauty products and read more economic magazines than any other group.

Black Friday shows the incorrect financial education of African-Americans and the economic drawbacks that continue to prevent the community from progressing and growing. Black Friday aims to improve the financial responsibility and economic awareness of African-Americans and thus, presents solutions that will help better manage the money spent by the African-American communities. The film also emphasizes the importance of leaving an ethical and economic legacy for the next generations.

Reserve your space today! http://bit.ly/haititour2016

Ric will release the next Black Friday film on Black Friday in 2016. The tour will be a great chance for businesses to connect with African-American to bring their business to Haiti to grab the opportunities that await them.

The tour will also benefit the Centre orphelinat du bon berger de l’Archaie, an orphanage  established by Pastor Valembrun Estinfil in 2008. The extreme level of poverty faced by many Haitians prevents parents from taking care of their children. To help them meet their needs and live a better life, we are accepting donations for African centered books, school supplies, clothes, sneakers cleats and other items that will make life easier and more comfortable for the children. Your donation will be given to children aged 12 months to 13 years old. We are accepting new or gently used items.

Please call 9134BUYBLK 913-428.9255 to arrange your donation or if you have questions about this trip.

Haiti’s Growing Economy

The devastating earthquake in 2010 dealt a great deal of damage to Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital. It also resulted in significant financial losses almost equal to the nation’s GDP. The international community has pledged around US$10 billion to support the country’s reconstruction projects. Haiti’s economy is progressively improving. There are also a lot of great opportunities that provide SMEs with their much needed strategic support, financial expertise and funds.

Haiti’s economy is growing. The country has a free-market economy that boasts a pro-business government, capital demands and low-cost labor that will only continue to improve in the future. Moreover, the Haitian government has joined forces with the international community to create more job opportunities for the young workplace by making it easier for foreign groups to invest in the country.

The proximity of the country to the United States, which is also its main trading partner, the massive support from the global community and the low-cost yet eager and motivated workforce are other factors that will contribute to Haiti’s growth. For businesses that are planning to invest in Haiti, here are the main strategic advantages of the country.

  • Pro-business government – The first on the list would be the pro-business government. Haiti’s president, Michel Martelly, has promised to create more than 500,000 jobs in the next 3 years. The Haitian government also has started to streamline steps on starting a business and loosen restrictions on foreign land ownership.
  • Strategic Location – Haiti’s strategic location is another factor that will attract businesses. The country is located between the largest economy in the world (USA) and developing economies in South America (Columbia and Brazil). The economic development throughout the region would benefit Haiti. The country is also located in the Caribbean, which provides Haiti with great maritime trade access.
  • Favorable Economic Signals – Haiti’s 8 percent GDP growth in 2012, economic incentive from billions in foreign support and free-market economy make up for favorable economic signals.
  • Growing Trade Integration – Haiti has been a member of WTO since 1996. It is also near large economies, which guarantees low costs for transporting products to international markets. The implementation of Special Economic Zones also provides exemptions on taxes and tariffs.
  • Unexploited Resource Potential – The country has abundant, unexploited mineral deposits of copper, calcium carbonate, bauxite and gold as well as a young, low-cost workforce.
  • Expedient Labor Conditions – Haiti has plenty of trainable and motivated workers.
  • Geography – The country has natural sea ports at Jacmel, Port-au-Prince, Cap-Haitien and Gonaives as well as 1,700km of coastline and topnotch unspoiled beaches.
  • Massive International Support – Over US$10 billion of foreign support has been given for reconstruction projects. More than 3000 non-government organizations are also working in the country to provide the necessary support services. The Inter-American Development Bank offered more than US$2.2 billion for development and recovery projects. United States HOPE and HELP Acts will also help in rebuilding the country’s garment industry.

If you’re thinking of doing business in Haiti, now is your best chance. Join the tour and learn how you can maximize the business opportunities in the country. You should arrive in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on the 28th of July 2016, at least three to four hours in advance. Bring your passport and another identification form. We have to check in two hours in advance and clear all customs properly.

Reserve your space today! http://bit.ly/haititour2016

Posted on May 4, 2016 By Staff With 0 comments

Black-Owned or Nah?: Why These Entrepreneurs Don’t Reveal Their Businesses are Black-Owned

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In growing a business, most entrepreneurs adopt key strategies that help them attract and maintain consumers. For Duane Draughon, owner and operator of VizX Design Studios, hiding the fact that his business is Black-owned is the key.

Draughon avoided putting pictures of himself and his family on the company website and introduced himself to potential clients as a project manager, NOT the owner. He even brought on a white insurance representative to carry out job interviews and put together a white sales team.

“I never said I wasn’t the owner,” he told theChicago Tribune. “If asked, I would admit it.”

Draughon is among some business owners who keep hidden the fact that their businesses are Black-owned, for fear of losing clientele. Preconceived notions that the product or service is solely geared toward Blacks — and racial intolerance on the part of potential customers — could drive business into the ground.

“As soon as you say it’s Black-owned, white people will believe it’s only for Black people, and Black people will look for something wrong with it,” said Chicago tech entrepreneur James Parker.

Parker had no intention of revealing himself as a Black business owner either, until now. He even went so far as to keep his picture out of promotions for his discount date site, BestDateNight.com. Some founders use similar tactics, lessening the number of Black images in advertisements or eliminating them altogether.

Alysia Sargent, CEO of Go Dutch Today, said she “doesn’t want her brand to be Black.” She wants African-Americans to utilize her services of course, but also wants to ensure that her marketing is “very broad and multicultural.” She and two other African-American women founded the dating website and app.

“It’s kind of unfortunate, but if we want to go further and appeal to venture capitalists and angel investors, we can’t just be Black,” she added.

But aside from the factor of race, what would draw consumers to invest in Black-owned businesses over white-owned businesses?

Luke Visconti is the founder and CEO of Diversity, Inc. Magazine and attempted to answer this question in his column titled “Ask the White Guy.” In the column, readers pose questions and Visconti answers from the perspective of a white business owner.

“With all things being equal, and with the above circumstances, there are several reasons for a white businessperson to decide to do business with a black-owned business over a white-owned business,” he wrote. “It’s called ‘supplier diversity.’ Supplier diversity is not charity. It is a process by which companies improve their business. Properly implemented, supplier diversity lowers costs and increases margin and/or revenue.”

So, telling the world your business is Black-owned might not be so bad after all.

Source:

Black-Owned or Nah?: Why These Entrepreneurs Don’t Reveal Their Businesses are Black-Owned

Posted on May 2, 2016 By Staff With 0 comments

The Presence of Black Businesses in the Community Helps to Reduce Local Crime Rates

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An increase in Black-owned businesses in any local area will result in a decrease of crime, according to Karen Parker, professor of sociology and criminal justice at the University of Delaware.

Parker is also the author of the 2013 study, The African American Entrepreneur – Crime Drop Relationship: Growing African American Business Ownership and Declining Youth Violence, and she says that when we address unemployment, poverty and joblessness in urban areas, we are also addressing the crime rate.

Is she right?

It seems so because according to the finding in her study, since 2001, Black-owned businesses have increased by 60 percent (from 1.1 million businesses to 1.9 million), and the crime rate in those areas that have high volumes of Black businesses has decreased by 29 percent. Why?

Researchers point to three primary reasons for the cause-and-affect discovery.

  • Black-owned business owners serve mentors and positive role models for black youth in particular
  • Black-owned businesses raise morale throughout their communities
  • Black-owned businesses create more local jobs and economic opportunities for African Americans that reverse poverty

Influence is more than economic

Like other business owners, black business owners are very much involved in their communities through business and social organizations, churches and schools. They support the black community by hiring black employees, bringing jobs and infusing more money into their communities.

But it is more than that! Black-owned businesses are a powerful influence to youth and others. They demonstrate that, if they can do it in spite of huge obstacles, others can do it, too. They bring not only economic advantages, but hope.

http://blog.blackbusiness.org/2015/05/black-businesses-community-help-reduce-local-crime-rates.html#.Vx9WWtIrK2w

 

 

Posted on April 26, 2016 By Staff With 0 comments

6 Black-Owned Beverage Companies — Stirring Up Wines, Teas, and Energy Drinks

jinja_black_owned_beverage_company

 

African American entrepreneurs are widening out and starting companies in all kinds of industries. They are no longer just owners of barbershops, hair salons, and restaurants. Nowadays, they are investing in bigger more global ideas like tech companies, investing firms, and global food and drink distribution.

When it comes to beverages, the most popular brands are Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Snapple, and Lipton, but there are also some brands that were created by African American business owners.

Here are 6 Black-owned beverage companies that you can find online and in local grocery stores:

#1 – SoRen Tea: a luxury lifestyle brand with a gourmet selection of blended, loose teas. Established in 2011 by African American sisters Sonnia Shields and Rena Williams, SoRen Tea is one of the first fashion-forward lines of loose leaf teas. The brand has received a tremendous amount of local and national press. In its first year of business, SoRen Tea was invested in by Oscar nominated actress Taraji P. Henson.

#2 – Ellis Island Tea: an all-natural, antioxidant-rich hibiscus tea founded in 2008 by Nailah Ellis-Brown. She got the recipe from her late great grandfather, who told her, “This recipe is to be sold, not told. Ellis Island Tea is a smooth, flavorful Jamaican blend, steeped in family tradition, brewed and bottled in Detroit, Michigan.

#3 – Jin+Ja: a revitalizing, anti-inflammatory and metabolism boosting tea brand that was started in the summer of 2009 by entrepreneur Reuben Canada (pictured above). He initially made the drinks for himself and for friends, but then realized that he had something bigger on his hands. After doing a test at a local retailer, the product kept selling out every 3 days for first three months and the rest is history!

#4 – MoFaya Energy Drinks: As the first 100% black owned beverage company in South Africa, these energy drinks use high quality ingredients to create an energizing & stimulating effect, which enhances endurance and boosts performance. They also have a product formulated for extreme hydration that contains electrolytes, minerals, and carbohydrates to promote optimal fluid replacement.

#5 – Heritage Link Brands: a delicious wine brand founded by entrepreneur Selena Cuffe after she learned there that, out of South Africa’s $3-billion wine industry, less than two percent were owned by blacks despite them representing 80% of the country’s population. Recognizing an untapped opportunity to introduce a new era of producers to the American market, the idea for Heritage Link Brands was born. Today the company serves a customer base of over 4,000 outlets, including household names from Disney to Whole Foods, and their award-winning portfolio is represented in over 40 U.S. states, South Africa, Nigeria, and literally, worldwide, on three different airlines.

#6 – Bee D’Vine: a popular brand of honey wine that was created by entrepreneur Ayele Solomon after he realized that flowering trees in Ethiopia were an ideal source of nectar and pollen that bees use to make valuable honey. This set him on a quest to better understand the art and business of creating honey wine. He evaluated production in Ethiopia and South Africa, but settled on the world-class wine region of Sonoma – not far from where he grew up – using California honey for the first varietals.

http://blog.blackbusiness.org/2016/03/black-owned-beverage-companies-wines-teas-energy-drinks.html#.VxQ5edQrK2w

Posted on April 17, 2016 By Staff With 0 comments

How 1 man single-handedly opened the only grocery store in the 9th Ward

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Burnell Cotlon is talking intently to the soft-spoken woman on the other end of the line.

“Can you hear me, Grandma? What’chu want down there?” he asks. ” Some bread, some ham and cheese?”

The woman requests a jug of Hawaiian Punch.

“I’ll drop it off to you, okay?” he confirmed. “Yes, ma’am.”

It was a quick phone call for Cotlon, but a lifeline for the woman he calls Grandma and the thousands of other residents who live in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward.

More than 10 years after Hurricane Katrina slammed into New Orleans and all but destroyed the Lower Ninth, Cotlon has sunk every cent of his life savings into restoring the quiet neighborhood to the family-friendly community he remembers from his childhood.

Visit him here: 

Lower 9th Ward Market 

2036 Caffin Ave

New Orleans, LA
 (504) 319-8855

Facebook

 

Read more: http://www.nola.com/dining/index.ssf/2016/04/burnell_cotlon_9th_ward_grocer.html

Posted on April 9, 2016 By Staff With 1 comment

3 Super Easy Ways To Support Black-Owned Businesses

5_ways_to_support_black_businesses

 

Small businesses represent a very important aspect of our entire economy. The same is true about businesses owned by African Americans and other minorities. There are many people in America who really do want to support black businesses, but they may have no idea how to go about it.

Here are three great ways in which we can all lend support to black-owned businesses.

#1 – Look for them: it may take some homework to identify black-owned businesses because they are not as abundant in communities. Maybe you have to drive a little further, but know that by doing this, you are supporting a black-owned business.

#2 – Try something new: this is a great opportunity for consumers to mix it up and try different products and services they may end up liking even more than those they were used to purchasing from mainstream businesses. Nix the stereotyping and respect black products.

#3 – Recommend them to others: whether it’s word of mouth, social media, recommendations to friends, or actually taking the initiative to reach out to a black-owned business, do it. Whenever you have the opportunity, promote a black-owned business.

It’s not enough just to avoid discrimination

Not discriminating is, without saying, absolutely necessary. But taking positive action to reach out and include black-owned businesses in your B2C or B2B plans is an action that will make a difference. You will be not only supporting black-owned businesses but also showing them that black economy matter as well.

 2 Million Jobs Movement!

2MILBLKMENS

Posted on March 27, 2016 By Staff With 6 comments

Get in Shape With These 7 Black-Owned Fitness Companies

black_fitness

When it comes to supporting black-owned businesses, we often think of all the retail industries, restaurants, hair care, financial services and other types of industries that are owned by blacks. But there are other industries to also keep in mind, like fitness centers.

Getting in shape is the goal of millions of Americans, and there are so many successful, black-owned fitness businesses that are good at it, and make it fun, too. Here are the top 7:

  1. KTX Fitness – these Atlanta-based fitness centers are led by Keith Thompson whose trademark is cycling to urban and hip-hop music. The centers also offer boot camps, step classes and total body workouts. Their classes also travel to places like D.C., NY, Cincinnati, and Toronto.
  2. Mr. Shut Up and Train – Rahman Grayson leads this Atlanta-based fitness program that offers free workout plans. Grayson offers fitness challenges as well as personal training services that are designed to push people out of their comfort zones in order to accomplish their fitness goals.
  3. Black Girls Run – launched in 2009 by Toni Carey and Ashley Hicks, Black Girls Run now has 69 running groups in 30 states across the United States. Their goal is to help African Americans fight obesity and stay fit.
  4. Brukwine – this fitness company, founded by dancers Tavia and Tamara, combines a very rigorous routine of dancing and workout. For those who want to learn Caribbean dance as a way to stay fit (Rihanna, Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez like it!), classes are currently being held in New York.
  5. Shaun T – is one of the most popular fitness gurus. His fitness infomercials include Insanity, T25, Hip Hop Abs, and Rockin’ Body, and he has sold 10 million DVDs. He tailors his workouts to fit every one’s style and makes it fun, too.
  6. Black Men Run – helps black men fight against cardiovascular disease and stroke by scheduling running/jogging events in cities across the U.S. The organization started in 2009 to develop a healthy brotherhood for African American men.
  7. JJ Smith – is a popular nutritionist, certified weight-loss expert, and author who shares advice about losing weight and getting healthy. She has appeared on shows such as The Steve Harvey Morning Show, The Montel Williams Show, The Jamie Foxx Show, and The Michael Baisden Show and has been featured in magazines such as Glamour, Essence, Heart and Soul, and Ladies Home Journal.

Posted on March 21, 2016 By Staff With 0 comments

What is Happening to All the Black-Owned Book Stores? Only About 50 Are Left

Desmond Reid, owner of Dare Books, a once-popular book store in Brooklyn, New York that closed back in 2009 after more than 22 years.

Desmond Reid, owner of Dare Books, a once-popular book store in Brooklyn, New York that closed back in 2009 after more than 22 years.

What is happening to black-owned bookstores? By 2012, 66 percent of black-owned bookstores in America disappeared. Since that time, half of the remaining bookstores have also gone away. Is it something black bookstore owners are doing wrong? Not necessarily, according to The National Endowment for the Arts.

What is happening to black stores everywhere

The fact that black-owned bookstores are closing everywhere is not necessarily a negative reflection on the owners. One of the biggest problems in America right now is that people are not reading as much anymore. The National Endowment for the Arts stated as far back as 2004 that “…literary reading in America is not only declining among all groups, but the rate of decline has accelerated, especially among the young.” If reading is on the decline, bookstores are no longer a viable business.

Other factors

There are, of course, other causes for the close of black bookstores, such as a weak economy, rise in rent costs for bookstore owners, and bad business management. But the largest, most contributing factor appears to be also the most disturbing factor, and that is the lack of interest in reading books. Even web sites that feature books by African Americans and about the African American culture are suffering.

With other sources of information available now through technology, black and white bookstore owners are facing a tough business environment. Some have suggested that, instead of just books, bookstore owners need to be creative to get people in the door by selling other products they would be interested in. Others have speculated that black bookstores have added to their demise by focusing just on the black community and need to expand their products to include books of interest to a wider community.

Friday, March 25, 2016 at 6:00 PM we will take the #2MillionJobs campaign on the road to support a local black owned bookstore. #EachAndEveryFriday #SupportBlackBusiness Help us save black owned book stores!

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Smith & Hannon Bookstore Address: 1531 California Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45237

What do you think?

Read more at www.aalbc.com/blog/index.php/2014/03/31/54-black-owned-bookstores-remain-america/

 

Posted on March 21, 2016 By Staff With 2 comments

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BLACK BUSINESSES

Image of happy young businessman looking at camera at workplace in office

Where are most Black businesses located?
Black-owned businesses accounted for about 28% percent of all businesses in Washington, DC, the highest ratio in the nation. Second, was the state of Georgia, where 20% of businesses were Black-owned, and the state of Maryland, with about 19%.

The state of New York, however, has the most Black-owned firms at 204,093 but this only accounts for 10.6% of the businesses in the state. Second is the state of Georgia, third is the state of Florida, and fourth is the state of Texas with the most Black-owned businesses but not necessarily the highest ratios.

What types of businesses do African Americans own?
Well, it varies, but most offer some type of service, opposed to selling products. For instance, nearly 38% of Black businesses are in health care and social assistance, repair and maintenance, and personal and laundry services. Other categories include advertising firms, auto dealerships, consulting services, restaurants, beauty-care (barbershops/beauty salons), and more.

How many people are employed by Black businesses?
Not very many. Of the 2.5 million Black businesses, only about 107,000 of them have actual employees. Such firms employ more than 920,000 people with a total annual payroll of $23.9 billion. The other 1.9 million businesses do not have paid employees.

Who are some of the top Black-owned businesses?
There are few Black-owned firm that generate billions of dollars in annual revenue, but many that generate millions. For instance, GlobalHue, an advertising agency in Detroit, Michigan, generated more than $480 million in revenue in 2015. RLJ McLarty Landers Automotive Group, a chain of car dealerships throughout the country, generated more than $540 million in 2015. And, World Wide Technology, a global technology consulting firm and the largest Black-owned business in the country, posted revenues of more than $2 billion.

Why are there so few Black businesses?
It’s true that the numbers should be higher. African Americans make up more than 13% of the U.S. population, but only own 7% of the businesses there. The answer to this question will vary depending on whom you ask, but most agree that racism, discrimination and predatory lending are all factors because many aspiring Black business owners have been unfairly turned down by bankswhen applying for small business loans.

Another factor is that there is a lack of economic and business resources in African American communities. This leads to a lack of education on how to properly start and manage a successful business.

Are there resources available to help?
Yes, there are many programs available to assist African Americans and other minorities. Banks like Wells Fargo and Bank of America have special lending programs that make sure that African American business owners are getting the loans they need. Many non-profit organizations give grants and free training via workshops to minorities. In addition, many Black business events (conferences, workshops, etc) offer unique opportunities for African American professionals to network with key decision makers and others who can be of assistance. Finally, there are many magazines that offer weekly or monthly news and advice for Black and minority business owners.

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BLACK BUSINESSES

Posted on March 10, 2016 By Staff With 1 comment