Black-White wealth gap continues to widen
The persistent and widening wealth gap for Black families, a lack of venture capital and funding access for Black-owned technology and innovation companies, and structural inequities that make it increasingly difficult for Black-owned businesses to compete for contracts, government procurement, and other business opportunities has prompted the launch of the Institute of Black Wealth.
Creation of Black wealth needs to be accelerated
The initiative serves as a platform that fosters and nurtures deal making, strategic business partnerships, and wealth education with the goal of accelerating wealth creation and reducing economic disparities for Black families and businesses. The launch of the Institute is the first in a series of programming initiatives under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Florida Memorial University, South Florida’s only Historically Black College or University (HBCU) and TechNolij, a tech and entrepreneurship-focused non-profit founded by music executive and Slip-n-Slide Records CEO, Ted Lucas. The Institute of Black Wealth is co-founded by both Lucas and Fabiola Fleuranvil, a real estate developer and CEO of marketing agency, Blueprint Creative Group. The founders intend to create a similar presence on HBCU campuses around the country.
Closing the tech gap opens doors for the underserved
“I’ve been blessed by my success in the music business and have launched the careers of some of the biggest artists in the entertainment industry, and I am now focused on helping to grow the pipeline of Black-owned tech-focused companies through my non-profit TechNolij. This MOU with Florida Memorial University and the programming behind the Institute of Black Wealth will create and structure a pipeline of opportunities that will help to close the gap and create Black wealth.”
HBCUs can be the springboard for wealth creation
With an HBCU as the backdrop, the Institute recognizes the power and legacy of HBCUs as the epicenter of influence for Black thought and as a potential economic driver and promoter of Black wealth.
The data is already there
“We don’t need another study or report to tell us that Black people do not get the same access to funding and opportunities that could help close the wealth gap and reverse 400+ years of an unequal system that continues to rob the next generation of Black families of potential wealth,” shares Fabiola Fleuranvil, Co-Founder, Institute of Black Wealth. “Our objective with the Institute is to go beyond advocacy and instead, deliberately and creatively engineer how Black wealth is created.”
Creative collaboration is our approach
The Institute’s approach is to leverage institutional and financial relationships and access to private equity and corporate partners. These relationships help to create deal flow and business opportunities that Black entrepreneurs and founders can collectively participate in at scale through strategic partnerships and alliances. This can take on many forms for example such as strategic alliances or joint ventures where smaller Black-owned general contractors can collectively pursue large development contracts where they otherwise would not have scale or bonding capacity to do so individually.
Another example is the opportunity for emerging Black real estate developers and investors to joint venture with an experienced real estate developer and participate in a commercial real estate deal. A private equity firm funds the majority of the equity check and the experienced sponsor provides their balance sheet and loan guarantees in exchange for a portion of the deal economics. In addition to business opportunities, the Institute will also create educational programming where individuals, students and families alike can learn about new forms of commerce like cryptocurrency, blockchain and NFTs and understand the fundamentals of wealth creation through financial planning, life insurance, homeownership, and investing.
This has worked before and can be done again
“There are models of the past that prove that this type of social engineering works and has created new Black millionaires and a stronger Black middle class in cities like Atlanta, Detroit, and Washington, D.C.,” explains co-founders Fleuranvil and Lucas. “Mayors Maynard Jackson of Atlanta, Coleman Young of Detroit, and Marion Barry of D.C. intentionally created policies that would provide Black-owned businesses with access to government contracting. Our approach is to engineer similar structures and accomplish the same through the Institute of Black Wealth and with the support of corporate partners, banking institutions, and funders who understand the role they play in supporting efforts that deliberately address structural inequities. This at its core is the essence of Ujamaa, the principle of cooperative economics and economic self-reliance.”
Institute of Black Wealth as a platform is created independently of the collaboration between FMU and TechNolij but is supported by the shared goal to pursue joint program development and funding opportunities that will promote and position the HBCU as a technology and innovation hub for Black and underserved communities and to bring programs and initiatives that create and sustain Black wealth. The initiative is location-agnostic and open to participants regardless of their geographic presence. The Institute’s objective is to facilitate deal flow and business opportunities across the country and is interested in collaborating with corporate equity and inclusion officers and local governments with a strategic goal focused on inclusive procurement.