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.
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.