Class of 2021
Background & Issue
The problem of racial inequality runs deep in America. It’s a systemic issue written deep in the history of this nation. The outcome of this embedded racism is a deep inequality of opportunity for African Americans in various aspects of life including education, employment, home ownership, entrepreneurship, etc.
Our chief concern is addressing issues of economic inequality which are often imposed upon black communities in America. Economic subjugation gives rise to a host of other societal maladies such as mass incarceration, broken families and drug addiction which also affect black families disproportionately.
Clearly, the economic subjugation is not endemic to the black condition in America. Rather, it has been intentionally imposed upon the African American community. Around the end of the 19th century, black entrepreneurs began to flourish in the Greenwood area of Tulsa, Oklahoma. So much so, that the area became known as Black Wall Street. The success of Black Wall Street was due to a few early entrepreneurs securing the land with the intention of helping other black entrepreneurs. In addition, due to the harsh Jim Crow laws of Oklahoma, capital stayed within the black community. It was likely that many more such pockets of successful black entrepreneurship would pop up all over the U.S. However, in 1921, the police incited mass violence in Greenwood aimed specifically at the success of the businesses in that area. Police and mobs of angry white rioters ransacked the area and murdered many people in what is known as the Tulsa Race Massacre.
Background & Issue
Today, we find that while the economic situation of the African American community has somewhat improved there is still significant racial inequality. About 20% of African Americans live below the poverty line compared to about 9% of white Americans.
The typical family wealth of African American families is about 10% of the typical family wealth of white American families ($17,000 vs. $171,000).
African American business ownership creates about 1 million jobs as compared to white-owned businesses which create 55.9 million jobs.
Only about 4% of working-age African Americans are employed by African American owned businesses as compared to 44% of working age whites employed by white owned businesses.
Most predominantly African American communities also experience significant capital flight from local communities due to various reasons including state lottery programs.
Our proposed solution is an economic one. Addressing underlying economic inequality will help to address the underlying social maladies as well. Improvement in economic circumstances helps creates employment opportunities, more affluent living conditions, more stable families and roots out many other issues.
In line with the legacy of Black Wall Street, we hope to address entrepreneurship in the African American community in three ways. Success in entrepreneurship requires:
The Bervann Foundation, which is the nonprofit arm of Bervann Capital seeks to establish a “pay-it-forward” fund to revitalize African American entrepreneurship in the U.S. Bervann Foundation’s Black Momentum Project (“BMP”) comes at a time of major social strife in the U.S. due to race relations. And while there are a lot of positive takeaways from the recent events, including the likely reformation of policing in African American communities, there is a sharp need for further growth. While there is momentum, everyone should do their part to address the various other issues of inequality.
Class of 2021
BMP aims to establish a charitable fund that will provide the three aforementioned ingredients for economic success. For its first cohort, BMP will have a $10 million donation target.
The proceeds will be used to identify 50 black entrepreneurs who have promising business ideas or endeavors and who have shown tremendous entrepreneurial spirit. The selection process will emphasize companies that will create jobs in their communities. Further, BMP will favor entrepreneurs whose business plan aims to make a positive social impact on their communities.
The cohort will be invited to the New York City area for a 90-day program to train with Bervann Capital. During this time, members of the cohort will have the opportunity to network with each other, and receive coaching/mentorship on entrepreneurship in general and specific to their sector.
Bervann Capital will tap into its extensive network to bring in the advisors and mentors. Each of these entrepreneurs will receive $150,000 to launch or boost their business.
Impact Monitoring & Evaluation
As the cohort returns to their home and works on their business, they will continue to be monitored by Bervann Capital and will continue to benefit from Bervann Capital’s support (i.e. raising more capital, business development, etc).
Further, since the entrepreneurs will have met and networked with each other, they will have a strong network of similarly minded people and continue leveraging their alumni ecosystem to grow their business.
Bervann Foundation will keep a small equity in each company and whatever returns are made on that equity will then be used to fund the next cohort and so creating a “pay-it-forward” system that can grow exponentially.
Bervann Foundation will monitor and evaluate this program significantly, tracking what impact it has made—especially in terms of creating jobs (direct and indirect) in local communities and other forms of positive social impact including limiting capital flight.
With strict monitoring and evaluation, the Foundation also hopes to measure its impact and make modifications on this program as needed to achieve the intended goal, which is to specifically bring economic empowerment to local communities through the work of local entrepreneurs.
Black Momentum Class of 2021
June 1 - Aug 31, 2020
Sept 1, 2020
Nov 30, 2020
Dec 7 - 18, 2020
Dec 31, 2020
List of Approved Candidates Announced
Jan 1, 2020 – Feb 28, 2021
Program Preparation, Advisors
& Mentors Confirmation
March 1, 2021
May 28, 2021
May 29, 2021
The purpose of BMP is to provide an economic solution to racial wealth inequality in the U.S.
We strongly believe that empowering entrepreneurs within local communities will address some of the social issues that plague the black community in America. BMP is a 90-day accelerator program that creates a culture of support and equips the entrepreneur with everything they need to be successful.
BMP is sector agnostic and is looking for applicants who demonstrate a strong entrepreneurial mindset and show a commitment to their business. An applicant’s business may be in any phase, but the preference will be given to those who are already launched.
Additional criteria for acceptance:
- Must be able to commit 30-40 hours per week of focused work on their company;
- Must be able to make a substantial social impact in communities of color;
- Ability to create jobs in their communities a plus.
- Weekly workshops with entrepreneurs, community leaders and industry experts;
- Mentorship/Coaching Sessions with Highly successful entrepreneurs, investors and influencers;
- Custom courses in various areas of entrepreneurship;
- Lifelong support from Bervann Capital and its global investors and corporate network;
- Networking with fellow members of the cohort and future cohort members;
- Access to Consulting opportunities from Corporate law firms, Marketing firms and Financial Services companies;
- Access to various business software and technology;
- Energizing daily work environment around other highly motivated entrepreneurs.
* Members of the cohort will be provided with a monthly allowance for accommodation, meals and travel;
* Each member of the cohort will receive $150,000 capital to launch or start their business as they return home;
Bervann Foundation will retain a portion of the equity in each company;
All proceeds resulting from that equity will be directed to fund future BMP cohorts.
Receipt of funding is subject to the discretion of the Black Momentum Class of 2021's advisory committee;
Funding prospect and membership in BMP may be revoked at Bervann Foundation’s discretion as a result of inappropriate or illegal conduct or any conduct of moral turpitude that may reflect negatively on Bervann Foundation, BMP or any of its advisors or board members.
Bervann Foundation Inc. is a non-profit and tax exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) organization of the Internal Revenue Code.
Black Momentum is NOT a Political Organization and has NO Tolerance for Fingers Pointing, Hatred or Violence. We Welcome all Individuals and Organizations from All Races and Regions Seeking to Contribute Toward an Economic Empowerment of Black Communities.