TWO BRITISH-Nigerian entrepreneurs have launched a crowdfunding platform for black-owned businesses in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests.
Sisters Anita Egbune and Marian Arafiena have launched Rise Fund N Go – a crowdfunding website for African Caribbean commercial and philanthropic businesses.
The pair say that the goal of the platform “is to spotlight remarkable black businesses and projects, and assist them in obtaining necessary funding”.
Arafiena said: “As black women and mothers, we are huge advocates for the Black Lives Matter movement. We were not able to go out and protest like many others but 20 years from now when my son asks me what I did during this time to support black people, I want to say that I, along with his aunt, created lasting economic opportunities for the advancement of black businesses”.
The platform works in a similar way to sites such Go Fund Me.
If, for example, a potential investor is interested in investing in a black owned technology business they can search the site and filter the results until they identify those companies they are interested in.
A short biography will provide information about what that company is trying to achieve.
Potential investors will then offer a pledge to help the business achieve its goal.
That business will then offer something in return.
For example, it might be a commitment that for every £50 donated the company will sponsor a technology programme in Kenya or Ghana.
And the expectation would be that the business would regularly update the people who have donated and supported them.
Arafiena said: “The Black Lives Matter movement is about the demand for equality to redress the imbalance that has always existed. But in doing so it’s almost as though we’re asking for equality. This already creates a dynamic of someone being able to offer that.
“For me, the ability to stand on our own two feet economically as black people means that respect and equality is given. It doesn’t have to be requested or asked for. So when we launched this platform it was important that we took a two-fold approach.
It was Jay Z that said without wealth there can be no freedom. One of the problems that we have as black people is that ability to stand and raise ourselves because we don’t have that bedrock of wealth in our communityAnita Egbune, co-founder, Rise Fund NGo
“The first is about the ability to start encouraging each other to start investing in ourselves.
Secondly, it’s about creating visibility. There’s a documentary by Killer Mike where he tries to live on products made by black owned businesses and he struggles to find any of them.
So it’s important to be aware of the black businesses that are out there and to offer support where we can but also to close some of the gaps to make sure that we’re encouraging new businesses to spring to life.”
Egbune said: “it was Jay Z that said without wealth there can be no freedom.
One of the problems that we have as black people is that ability to stand and raise ourselves because we don’t have that bedrock of wealth in our community.
“One thing is clear which is that there is a moment to be captured and we do have to be careful that we don’t lose it. As people in our community are looking for black businesses to invest in those avenues need to be there and we need to be able to grow them. And it’s from that growth that we can really begin to tackle the inequalities that the Black Lives Matter protests were highlighting.”