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.
We understand that the decisions 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 providing a platform for people to invest in Black entrepreneurs. 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.
Why are Black entrepreneurs such a smart investment?
According to the Selig Center for Economic Growth, Black Americans hold $1 trillion in spending power. This figure is only projected to increase.
The Greenwood Project is a strategic investment because many Black entrepreneurs have brilliant, billion dollar ideas that have never ever had a chance to grow- until now. We find “diamonds in the rough” and invest in them.
Demographically, White males have controlled access to venture capital investments for 83 years, 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.
If Black Entrepreneurs have such great ideas, why aren't there more success stories?
What am I actually investing in? Do I own a percentage of the companies I invest in, The Greenwood Project itself, or something else?
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.
Investors are purchasing equity in the specific companies they choose to invest in on our portal.
How are companies screened for acceptance?
Prospective participants will be evaluated based on:
Recommendations from from the Fund Executive board
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 their continued growth
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.