The hue and cry from many of our people continues to be centered on “lack of access to capital” by Black-owned businesses, especially start-ups and micro-businesses. The financial markets are not very favorable to our needs, thus much of the potential among our prospective entrepreneurs is never realized. Many aspiring Black business owners, who could be successful, give up and quit because they cannot raise capital; and some businesses that could be grown to scale and employ workers never get the opportunity to do so.
Another complaint I hear is in reference to our young people. Some say we refuse to support them, and we do not encourage them to get involved and take the lead in our movements and organizations. I agree with that to some extent, but it’s not the case with THE One Million. We are always looking for conscientiously conscious young people to join us and offer their time, talent and treasure to help our movement progress. We also reciprocate by doing what we can to support our members, not just with rah-rah lip-service but with our time, talent and treasure in return.
To that end, I believe we have found one such “youngster” in the person of Rashaan Everett, a recent Howard University graduate of the School of Business. He joined THE One Million after contacting me regarding his investment concept, The Greenwood Project. I introduced Everett to Mr. John Brown, partner in the Bedford Group, a development firm in Los Angeles where Rashaan lives. He is also a member of THE One Million.
Subsequently, Brown has taken on a “mentoring” role with Everett; they presented The Greenwood Project at our Training and Orientation meeting in Beaumont Texas, held Jan. 6 through Jan. 8, and I am proud to say THE One Million is highly supportive of this young brother’s project as well as participatory in his investment strategy to start and grow small Black owned businesses via crowdfunding.
The Greenwood Project is a collective fund for start-ups and micro-businesses in which supporters can invest a minimum of $100.00 and receive a contract entitling them to a share of the profits earned from their investments. To reiterate, this is an “investment” that, like other investments, carries no guarantee; it is not a donation.
Everett has assembled a team of the best and brightest Black scholars and professionals capable of managing the fund appropriately, and there is a very significant financial upside to his plan.
“Black people can control our own destiny,” he says. “We can make this part of our ‘Internal Reparations,’ as some of our elders have suggested. If we support the innovative and creative businesses funded by the Greenwood Project, each investor can earn significant profits.”
Projected to raise a total of $1 million, which will be invested into Black businesses, the profits from which will be recycled many times over by other Black businesses and individuals, The Greenwood Project is yet another answer to problems Black folks have been railing against. Now all we have to do, after due diligence of course, is invest [pool] our money and create more “conscientiously conscious Black millionaires,” something THE One Million has been advocating for a while now.
The Greenwood Project is based on President Obama’s JOBS Act, which allows for non-accredited investors to invest in private companies for the first time since 1933. Before the law changed, the Securities and Exchange Commission mandated an individual must have a net worth of $1 million, excluding real estate, to make angel investments. Obviously, this disproportionately affected Blacks and systematically prevented us from building our own companies and our own wealth.
For the last 83 years, until May 16, 2016, this type of fund and project were illegal. It is very important for Black people to take advantage of this new law NOW before it changes again, as it could under the new administration.
The Greenwood Project is operational, approved and verified, taking advantage of the new law. More information about it is at http://www.thegreenwoodproject.org. Everett’s team has worked with lawyers, CPAs and bankers to assure it viability and its legality, and now with John Brown aboard, a man I have known for nearly 20 years, who has demonstrated his expertise in finance and business strategies, I have no doubt this project will work if we work it.
The Greenwood Project has officially earned SEC and government regulatory approval and is seeking people who are willing to invest a minimum of $100.00 right now via http://www.wefunder.com/greenwoodproject. This is yet another “Call to Action” to those among us who are tired of being hamstrung by a lack of capital and are ready, willing and able to do something to change that. Get on board The Greenwood Project by investing in yourselves. And join THE One Million too, at http://www.iamoneofthemillion.com.
Jim Clingman, founder of the Greater Cincinnati African American Chamber of Commerce, is the author of Black Dollar$ Matter: Teach Your Dollars How to Make More Sense. He can be reached through http://www.blackonomics.com.