Missing Infrastructure for African-American Wealth Creation

Posted by on May 2nd, 2016

#SOCAP365 at Impact Hub NYC

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The U.S. is battling systemic problems in terms of both wealth inequality and racism. Recent research from the Pew Center reveals some hard data connecting these two injustices: the average white individual has $144,000 in assets while black individuals, on average, have $11,000.  This has major implications for African-American wealth creation; it highlights the opportunity gap faced by black entrepreneurs trying to “bootstrap” or raise a “friends and family” round of funding, which then also raises the question for how wealth can be generated and sustained in black communities for the long haul.
 
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Jessica Norwood and Kevin Jones are tackling this problem head on, and presented some of their latest work at a SOCAP 365 event at Impact Hub NYC on Friday, April 15. Jessica is the Executive Director of Emerging Changemakers Network and a BALLE fellow; Kevin is the founder of SOCAP and the Neighborhood Economics platform. They are forming a unique partnership to begin building necessary infrastructure to increase the flow of capital to black communities in culturally appropriate ways with important core stakeholders along the way.
 
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The discussion ranged from blind spots within impact investing (Why does early-stage funding seem to flow more easily to start-ups in Africa rather than African-American communities?” “We recognize people through our dollars — we’re missing the opportunity to tell black entrepreneurs I see and value you”) to a much broader scope addressing issues of cultural exclusion, trust building, and ways market dynamics reveal and can potentially start to shift systemic racism.

@Kevindoylejones: “There are huge opportunities for financial inclusion to lead on issues of cultural exclusion. How can social capital shift the paradigm?”

@EmergeChange: “There’s a need to create trust and rebuild culture by deep listening & understanding of structural inequity dynamics — it’s the only true way to shift wealth.”

@EmergeChange: “We don’t have an airplane problem or a pilot problem — we have a runway problem.”

For more on this conversation, check out the #SOCAP365 buzz on Twitter and see additional resources below. We’ll continue exploring these themes as part of the Neighborhood Economics and Inclusive Entrepreneurship tracks at SOCAP16 and throughout the year at SOCAP 365 → sign-up for the SOCAP newsletter to stay updated on what’s happening next near you.

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