LEARN MORE WITH OUR FAQ
What's new about what you're making? Why is it necessary?
The Greenwood Project is designed to help nurture, support, and grow Black-owned companies. The Project is necessary because it is incredibly difficult for early-stage startups led by founders of color, and women, to access capital. In fact, according to BC Insights only 1% of Venture Capital was invested into teams led by people of color. The incubator provides funding and support services that are needed because the decisions that entrepreneurs make very early in the life of the company (e.g., where to seek financing, who to choose as their suppliers, who to hire, how to split equity/ownership, etc.) can severely restrict the company’s ability to maximize its positive impact over the long term. The Greenwood Project is an innovative platform that will provide these early-stage entrepreneurs with the guidance, access to capital, and connections they need in order to be successful.
Why is The Greenwood Project so revolutionary?
Nothing like this has ever been possible before. By utilizing the new Regulation Crowdfunding laws, the Greenwood Project is transforming Black economics by investing in Black entrepreneurs with our own dollars. Black people will be even more likely to support Black startups, because we can make each other wealthy by doing so. This is known as collective economics. Most importantly, the startups we host on our portal will benefit from thousands of customers and fans from day one, since investors just like you will be part-owners of their companies. This type of marketing power is revolutionary and provides people of color with a generation-defining opportunity to produce billion dollar companies in 2017 and beyond. We will be organized and well-funded, with the ability to leverage and profit from our own culture. We are providing a tangible way for members of our community to align our dollars with Black-owned brands that share our values.
Why are Black entrepreneurs such a smart investment?
According to the Selig Center for Economic Growth, Blacks hold $1 trillion in spending power. This figure is only projected to increase. The Greenwood Project is a strategic investment because Black entrepreneurs have brilliant, billion dollar ideas right in our own community that have never ever had a chance to grow, until now. We find “diamonds in the rough” and invest in them. For the last 83 years, white men have controlled access to venture capital investments, offering only 1% to Black founders over the last 5 years. As of May 16, 2016, it is legal to fund and build our own startups, and return the profits to our middle-class investors for the first time since 1933.
What am I actually investing in? Do I own a percentage of the companies I invest in, The Greenwood Project itself, or something else?
Investors are purchasing equity in the specific companies they choose to invest in on our portal.
If Black Entrepreneurs have such great ideas, why aren't there more success stories?
With venture capital often functioning as an “old-boys” club (where financiers mostly give to people who are within their network — friends, colleagues, college alumni, etc.), most Black entrepreneurs lack connections to investors who can help fund their ideas (97% of whom are white men). Additionally, a history of economic oppression has meant that Black entrepreneurs rarely have access to inheritances, or other forms of wealth, including access to family and friends that are capable of funding their initial ideas.
What does The Greenwood Project actually provide to companies who are selected?
A platform to raise funds Monthly service support includes the following (customized to the needs of each company): Impact vision support / business model optimization Recruiting, hiring, orientation, onboarding and retention support Core value proposition refinement and marketing strategy Thought leadership development and support with associated marketing tactics Operational systems development Sales and business development strategy and tactics Customer service support strategy and project development Technical Coding & Engineering expertise Unprecedented networking and collaboration opportunities Participants will also have access to dozens of seasoned tech executives who will play a mentorship role. Companies will also be part of a cohort of like minded entrepreneurs, facing similar challenges to share tips, ideas, and best practices
How are companies screened for acceptance?
Prospective participants will be evaluated based on: Recommendations from from the Fund Executive board Recommendations from HBCU / Higher Education Community An analysis of their financial projections and historical performance Values, cohesion, and skills of the team Scalability and/or replicability Potential value for the Greenwood brand Willingness to invest in support services
Are you going to be doing any reporting to investors?
Yes. Title III crowdfunding regulations mandate annual reporting to investors. In addition, our project strategically emphasizes transparency and open communication via public channels (social media, blogs, etc). We value your input.