Being an innovator starts with investment.
The Black upStart prides itself on being “Unapologetically Black & Proud” and elevating the Black entrepreneurship experience since its foundation. When you scroll through the organization's Instagram feed, you can clearly see that "hustle" mentality. I know you’re asking yourself, what’s hustle? The Black upstart coins “hustle” as “earn capital. build wealth. give back.”
Black upStart provides the resources necessary to ensure that African-Americans start and succeed in a profitable business venture. Founder Kezia M. Williams shares how the Black upStart is changing the game of entrepreneurship.
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Believe You’re An Innovator
The process of being a successful entrepreneur is working at your craft tirelessly until the growth in your venture shines through. “When I talk to the woman with six-figure aptitude working an entry-level job because the old boy’s network does not offer equal opportunities to talented brown girls; when I witness nearly 2,000 Black coeds apply to an entrepreneurship program; when I meet a Black man who seeks dignity by putting action behind a profitable idea, I am reminded that freedom is not just nominal in nature,” Williams said.
“My goal is to create a village that incubates innovators equipped to start, grow and scale successful and profitable businesses,” Williams said Be a risk taker, be open-minded, fail forward, and respect the journey.
Invest In Yourself
Have you ever heard someone say, “Pay yourself first”? It’s time! Pay yourself first because you are the investment. The Black upStart holds regular boot camps that allow current and aspiring African-American entrepreneurs to hone in on their craft. “Black upStart teaches Black people how to turn obstacles specific to race into profitable opportunities. We map out how to identify venture capital, leverage community support and how to fall in love with the grind.”
Not only are we a powerful people, but “our outcomes prove that our ancestor’s blueprint is not outdated, it’s an outline for present day innovators.”
Williams dropped us gems on everything you will gain from The Bootcamp. “We intentionally foster a collaborative space where trust is encouraged through communal sharing. We teach students how to generate a potentially profitable idea. We validate that idea through creating a minimum viable product and testing it on the market,” Williams said.
Williams describes The Bootcamp as a “village,” providing feedback to students from professionals in their network. This “village” is one that offers support during the Bootcamp, but grants you with even better familial connections after you leave.
Remain Humble & Hungry
No matter if you’re starting from the bottom or are well into your business, it’s important to have humility and always strive for better.
“Many of us are taught that success looks like this: graduate from high school, earn a college degree, get a job and move out of the hood,” Williams said.
What about your humble beginnings? “We have divided ourselves to the Black people who have, and the Black people who need. The entrepreneurs of Black Wall Street were successful because they built their businesses in Black spaces. We must commit ourselves to changing the paradigm, by finding our greatest opportunity where others see obstacles and reclaiming our spaces as viable options to build a business and a life.”
For more information on the Black upStart and its groundbreaking Bootcamp, visit their website. Also, be sure to follow at @theblackupstart and @keziamw for daily inspiration and updates!
Logan Nelson (@logantylerr) is a Communication major at the University of Maryland, working hard as a writer and advocate for social change.