We are leading an Economic Revolution by creating a vibrant community of Black entrepreneurs, professionals and leaders for individual and collective agency and access to capital, resources, and training.
I'm Jice Johnson, Founder, and CVO of the Black Business Initiative, an economic development institution that has touched more than 2,500 entrepreneurs since 2015. We are leading an Economic Revolution by creating a vibrant community of Black entrepreneurs, professionals, and leaders. Our vision is to:
This chasm known as the wealth gap creates disparities that touch every aspect of our daily lives and impact the Black community's opportunity to create generational wealth. Study after study shows the negative impact these systemic barriers present not only to the affected community but to the nation as a whole.
The Black Business Initiative's holistic approach to closing the wealth gap is founded on 5 Pillars: Acumen, Mentorship, Access to Capital, Patronage & Policy.
Economics and policy control every social determinant we work to address, including education, housing, employment, health and criminal justice. Although we have made great strides over the last decade, the global health pandemic and civil unrest says our impact leaves much to be desired. The disparities cost everyone. A 2020 Citigroup study indicated that systemic disparities and economic barriers have hurt the U.S. economy by an estimated $16T.
We believe our 5-Pillar, holistic approach powered by Black-led, professional institutions must have the social agency, support, and resources to restore and reclaim the spirit and relevance of Black communities in the West of the United States. The aim is to grow the existing small, but brilliant, Black eco-system in Denver and other communities in the Rocky Mountain region to become indispensable leaders, owners, and partners in the economic growth of Denver and other western cities.
We are building this generation of business and professional leaders that can navigate the economy, politics, industry, and community with sound and informed decision-making and judgment.
Connecting our community to peers and leaders elevates us all and increases access to social capital. Guidance, advice, and high-level accountability propel us towards success.
Addressing historical and present barriers the Black community has faced when it comes to being systemically denied access to capital while building our own pathways to access capital.
Buying Black is a revolutionary act of economic empowerment and equity. We are busting down barriers that are locking out the Black community from participating in industry, commerce, and the supply chain.
We seek to recognize and inform on the ways race-specific policies harm our businesses, families, and communities. We play an active role in developing policy that undoes this systemic and historical harm.
The society we live in is layered with many systemic dependencies which make closing the wealth gap requires a holistic approach. The ultimate solution we seek is for Black communities to claim our spot at the economic table, take charge of our own success and become self-sufficient. Sustainable societies require strong institutions that facilitate access and protect agency for that socioeconomic group. With that understanding, we seek to strengthen the existing institutions we have, bringing them to full capacity and we must also erect the institutions we need but have not established. The Black Business Initiative will partner with the Urban Leadership Foundation and the Righteous Rage Institute to build a Black eco-system of economic, leadership, and social capital.
The Urban Leadership Foundation of Colorado lead by Dr. Ryan Ross is one of Colorado's most recognized and accomplished leadership organizations within the Denver metro area. Our mission is to continuously improve the professional and social trajectory of minority leaders through effective leadership training.
Righteous Rage Institute lead by Hasira "Soul" Ashemu, envisions building abolitionist institutions and systems grounded in the cultural wealth, humanity, and leadership of communities of color, that will render the current colonized systems of racial oppression obsolete.
The vision of Imaginable, lead by Benilda "Benny" Samuels is to break the cycle of limited and amateur support that is typically offered to grassroots organizations and replace it with skilled, experienced capacity support aimed at lifting leaders and scaling their vision.
Now more than ever we need institutions of change and we hope you partner with us to help advance our cause in economic equity.
We envision the AYA Foundation as a collaborative organization that is capable of securing a variety of resources; growing and redistributing those resources in a way that supports and benefits the community based on researched and tested methods to build economic empowerment.
This is the opportunity to change the landscape of Denver with restorative effects and long-term economic gains towards equity and closing the wealth gap.
Project 1865 is here to improve the condition and expand the agency of the Black Community through political action, controlling our narrative, and leadership development at the local and national level.
We will rally our members and community to use their collective leverage and voice to recognize our power and activate our talent and resources strategically towards our best interest.