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Showing posts from 2020

New Perspectives from Black and Brown Entrepreneurs

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This has been a year of biblical proportions, with almost too many historic events to count. Among everyone 2020 has brought our way, one of the most positive has been Kamala Harris, the first female and person of color to become the Vice President of the USA.  Harris epitomizes the best of a new, more diverse country–mixed race, born of immigrants, and a self-made success. From King to Obama to Harris we have come a long way, but as consequential as they are, they represent only a fragment of the black and brown American experience.  Black and brown entrepreneurs have always been an economic force in America, in 2020 creating 4.7 million jobs and $700 billion in revenue. At the same time, they're too often the most impacted by significant events. For example, in 2020, we saw a 41% decline in black businesses, as a direct result of COVID-19 ( Creative Investment Research ). Although corporates pledged over $40 billion to support BLM, the majority of funds will be slowly allocated

COVID Reveals What’s Actually Important

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The COVID crisis reveals what’s actually important: family, food and community . It also shows what’s not important: material items and money worship . Globalization, too, a specific form of money worship, proved unable to support the domestic production of basic but critical supplies, like masks, in a time of crisis. Another thing revealed by this crisis is the true cost of racism. It shows how racism supports mediocrity.  The crisis reveals the moral and spiritual bankruptcy embedded in some of the “religious” claims by white racists in the US. These appear to be materialistic and greed-based misinterpretations. This is a self-centered version of “faith” that somehow justifies not wearing a mask in the middle of a pandemic. In addition to being irrational, any logical interpretation of this behavior reveals the selfishness driving this behavior. The common thread is veneration of white privilege, including the right to impose a deadly pandemic on Black people, simply because some wh

Powell's October 6th Forecast by Christopher Moreira, Intern, American University

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On October 6, 2020, Jerome H. Powell, Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System reviewed America’s economic status amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Mr. Powell began his analysis at the beginning of 2020, before the pandemic hit. He then touched on the recession and the nascent recovery that must ensue. Mr. Powell closed with a look at what lies ahead on the road to normalcy. The speech was full of numbers and statistics that, to the casual observer wouldn’t fully explain what this means for the country. But, I can say with a fair amount of certainty that Chair Powell is wary of what's to come for our nation, which, before the COVID-19 pandemic was experiencing new highs in job creation and the stock market. Nevertheless, Chair Powell remains optimistic that the country will fully recover and return to what it once was. In terms of the pre-covid economy, Chair Powell stated that:  “The U.S. economy was in its 128th month of expansion—the longest in our recorded hist

JPMorgan's $30 billion “commitment”

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  JPMorgan Chase announced a $30 billion “commitment” to address U.S. wealth inequality in Black and Latino communities. The pledge consists of actions, over five years, designed to increase the number of loans, investments, donations and grants the bank makes. The focus of the effort is housing, where the bank says it will lend an additional $14 billion dollars, finance the construction of 100,000 affordable rental units and issue $12 billion in mortgages. These efforts are meant to be supplemental, that is, the bank says these are loans and investments it would not otherwise make. Of course, problems with racial inequality in the U.S. have been magnified after the May 25 death of George Floyd, instigated by former members of the Minneapolis, MN police department. The incident sparked weeks of protests across the globe. In addition, the COVID pandemic exposed gaps in health care access. The Black community has experienced far higher Covid-19 mortality than in the overall population. B

William Michael Cunningham Selected for Prox, A New Knowledge Exchange Platform

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As a new virtual knowledge-exchange, Prox is dedicated to "connecting wisdom with those who seek it." The platform allows people to search a community of subject matter experts and book time with them instantly. In a September, 2020 TechCrunch article, Prox CEO Michael Mathieu stated that the goal of the platform "is to create an entire suite of 'back office' tools for experts and influencers...the company is starting out by offering an easy way to host one-on-one video sessions with knowledge seekers. People who are influencers on social media and on YouTube, they don't control that customer," Mathieu said. "It's a YouTube customer, so if you're going to monetize, it's through a slice of YouTube ad revenue." The TechCrunch article goes on to state that "Prox is designed to help..experts make money more directly from anyone who wants to connect with them, and to understand that audience. (CEO) Mathieu suggested that the
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Bits & Pretzels (B&P) is the German equivalent of the South by Southwest  (SXSW) startup event. B&P is Europe’s biggest startup/founders festival. The event will be held from September 29 to October 2, 2020. Speakers include: Eric Schmidt, Former CEO Google, Co-founder Schmidt Futures Dirk Nowitzki, Basketball superstar Arianna Huffington, Founder & CEO, Thrive Global  Former speakers include Barack Obama, Richard Branson, Jessica Alba and many other world leaders in the global startup ecosystem. Bits invented Table Captain Networking for startups to connect face-to-face with experts in small networking sessions. Each session is 40 minutes long for up to 6 attendees and are perfectly timed and sized for startups to ask questions. We will host a Networking session at the event on September 30th. 

Emerging Managers Summit Virtual 2020. Yuyang Zhang, Impact Investing Intern. Boston University.

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September 24, 2020 In a discussion led by William Michael Cunningham, Mr. Tarrell Gamble, Ms. Wendy Garcia, and Dr. Ruchi Dana spoke about their experience with diversity within the investment management business sector.  Starting with women in the workforce, Dr. Dana noted research that shows companies with more women are also more capital efficient.  Dr. Dana also noted that gender diversity is an important starting point when considering balanced executive boards. She stated that female consumers make up $20 trillion of consumer spending. This is larger than the GDP of both India and China combined. Therefore, Dr. Dana notes, it is important to have women on corporate boards who understand this perspective. She finished with noting that "In a society where firms are mainly white male owned, there exist many systemic barriers. When looking to hire investment consultants, firms must also be conscious of the language they use to refer to their employees.&qu

Reuters Events Investment Summit (Dec. 3-4, Online)

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On December 26, 2016, Creative Investment Research noted that: "Under any conceivable scenario, the current situation is very bad, and I mean toxic, for democratic institutions in general and for people of color specifically. Bottom line: our Fully Adjusted Return Forecast** indicates that, over time, things will get much, much worse....." (See: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/trumpism-william-michael-cunningham-am-mba/ ) Now, after months of economic uncertainty and volatility, we find ourselves at a crossroads. Reuters Events Investment Summit With markets in decline and economies around the world pointed towards recession, Reuters Events' Investment Summit (Dec. 3-4) unites financial institutions and investors to tackle the future of investment at this unprecedented moment. Combining onstage inspiration with intimate peer-to-peer networking, the two-day flagship will cover four key themes: Market Drivers and Outlook: Learn how macroeconomics, geopolitics,

What is Investment Research And Why Is It Broken?

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What is Investment Research And Why Is It Broken? Investment research studies of the performance of stocks, bonds, metals, mutual funds, and other assets. This is done, most often, to influence investment decision making. It seeks to "produce a guide to what investments to make.” With the capture of regulatory authorities (who are, supposedly, looking out of the public interest) by financial institutions, the number of investment "assets" has increased. There are now more than 5,000,000 different types of investment vehicles. Many have little actual value. A new investment class with actual value may be cryptocurrencies. A cryptocurrency is a  digital program or asset designed to work like currency .  Bitcoin  is a  cryptocurrency. What is Investment Research? As we note in our online class , investing is "the process of spending money in order to increase the original dollar amount." Investment research provides timely information that, combined

Impact Investing: What is it? Who does it? Why?

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For many majority-owned institutions, the concepts of "monetary gain" and "social good" have long been regarded as mutually exclusive. We see this most directly in the recent attempt by the Labor Department to shut down Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing : “Private employer-sponsored retirement plans are not vehicles for furthering social goals or policy objectives that are not in the financial interest of the plan,” said Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia. But this ignores the facts: investing has always been used to further social goals. Claims that it is difficult to determine the worth of "ESG" or "Social Investments" have not prevented majority-owned institutions from using these factors while making decidedly "anti-social" investments. For example, on July 24, 2020, major "investment" bank Goldman Sachs was fined $3.9 billion by the country of Malaysia to settle criminal charges that the bank conducte
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The Emerging Managers Summit , to be held virtually on September 24th, highlights the benefits and opportunities for institutional and private wealth investors to invest in new, small, diverse, women owned, emerging, and boutique fund managers. The program seeks bring smaller diverse managers into the limelight as they have historically outperformed their larger peers. This event will take place entirely on Opal Group’s custom Virtual Event Platform , giving an opportunity for delegates from around the world to connect online. Key decision makers from family offices, endowments, foundations, and pension funds will be able to virtually interact with emerging managers, as well as share best practice ideas with peers. Hear from our panel of experts to stay up to date on the ever-changing emerging manager market.  https://opalgroup.net/conference/emerging-managers-summit-virtual-2020/

Response to Proposed Department of Labor ESG Rule

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On June 23, 2020, "the U.S. Department of Labor proposed a rule that would 'update and clarify' the Department of Labor's investment duties regulation. According to the news release issued announcing this proposed rule, "Private employer-sponsored retirement plans are not vehicles for furthering social goals or policy objectives that are not in the financial interest of the plan," said Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia. "Rather, ERISA plans should be managed with unwavering focus on a single, very important social goal: providing for the retirement security of American workers." Our 135 page response, filed on July 26, 2020, concerned the social impact of the proposed rule, and stated that: "With this proposal, we believe the Administration and, by extension, the Secretary, have violated their oath to protect the public and should resign or be removed. Of course, we understand how committed these specific individuals are to self-promot

The largest Black-Led (but not Black-owned) bank in the U.S.

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Black-Owned Broadway Financial Corporation and “Black-Led” CFBanc Corporation announced a merger of equals that may lead to the creation of the largest Black-led (but not Black-owned) bank in the U.S. The resulting institution will have more than $1 billion in combined assets and approximately $850 million in total depository institution assets (as of June 30, 2020). (Also see: BLACK BANKS MERGE TO CREATE NATION’S FIRST BLACK-LED BANK WITH OVER $1 BILLION IN ASSETS.  https://www.blackenterprise.com/black-banks-merge-to-create-nations-first-black-led-bank-with-over-1-billion-in-assets/ Black-Owned Banks in LA, DC Announce Merger. https://mynewsla.com/business/2020/08/27/two-black-banks-merge/ Merger of two Black-led banks aims to help break a painful cycle https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2020-08-27/black-banks-broadway-federal-bank-city-first-merger ) Broadway is one of the best Black banking institutions in the US, based on their longevity and positive impact on Bl

BlackEcon101 Economic news and opinions of interest to African Americans.

Link to interview: https://drive.google.com/file/d/11yR9RGTdY5ccp5PyEhbjkRqgiKQJm34-/view?usp=sharing

MINORITY FIRMS AND COVID2019 - KEY IMPACTS

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 MINORITY FIRMS AND  COVID2019 | KEY IMPACTS https://drive.google.com/file/d/1JLHqG9q4Hq7sep_aePzmLbiX__qnRMnU/view?usp=sharing

Six (6) Companies Are 70% of Black Lives Matter Pledges

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According to a new report issued by Creative Investment Research, as of August 3, 2020, $7.854 billion in corporate pledges have been made to facilitate efforts that support racial justice. Just six companies account for 70% of that total. For the summary report, see: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/six-companies-account-70-corporate-black-lives-matter/   Also see: https://youtu.be/t7aqn7oGGj0 via @YouTube  Creative Investment has launched a crowdfunding campaign to pay for the development of a BLM Corporate tracker:  https://www.gofundme.com/f/tracking-corporate-donations-to-blm?rcid=r01-159828617213-f92f83fc925f4b9a&pc=tw_co_campmgmt_w&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=p_lico+share-sheet To donate directly, please contribute at paypal.me/cirm  

CRUZN COZY has started a kickstarter campaign

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During quarantine, CRUZN COZY has started a kickstarter campaign in high hopes of getting business adjusted to the new norm for all of us worldwide. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cruzncozy/the-next-big-thing-0 www.cruzncozy.com Here at CRUZN COZY, we understand that everybody has been affected in some way by this quarantine period. Whether that be emotionally, physically, mentally, or socially. It's been hard for all us, but if you can find in your heart to give just a small token, that will be greatly appreciated. Any amount helps. No amount is too small or too big. A percentage of generated sales from merchandise or the campaign will be given to organizations who help people that are in need of shelter, food and clothes during quarantine. Any backer who gives $100 dollars or more will receive free merchandise from our new collection, and backers who give $200 or more will receive 2 VIP tickets to the SBFW New York Fashion Show Tour 2021.  Thank you so much for your time. O

Media Partner for Reuters' Free "Delivering Net Zero Virtual Week" (4th – 5th August 2020)

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We are pleased to be the Media Partner for Reuters' Free "Delivering Net Zero Virtual Week" (4th – 5th August 2020) https://www.prlog.org/12832098-media-partner-for-reuters-free-delivering-net-zero-virtual-week-4th-5th-august-2020.html

How to Use Crowdfunding in 2020

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With the attention placed on financing small (especially Black) businesses during the current crisis, and with the problems identified in government-run business financing programs like the PPP, (see * below) we are presenting updated information on crowdfunding. We draw on what we have learned since we issued, in 2012, our book on the subject. (This was, as far as we know, the first one published.) Crowdfunding works by allowing an entrepreneur with an idea for a company or product to post the details of the idea or product on a web site such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo. The crowdfunding provisions of the JOBS Act allow start-up and other companies to sell up to $1 million in equity, or ownership shares, in their business. Our company has been facilitating this type of business financing since July 1998, and. most recently, in June of 2020 . We still believe this is a viable option for minority firms, as we stated in 2012. How to be successful at crowdfunding Crowdfunding

Black Lives Matter and ESG

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https://blmesg.eventbrite.com

Black communities need more help from the Federal Reserve Board

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An estimated  $7 billion in corporate  pledges have been made to facilitate efforts that support racial justice, and help activities  that seek immediate solutions  to the crisis affecting Black people. We are very familiar with these types of promises, having launched the first website focusing on financial support for minority communities in 1995 and a new website to monitor such corporate pledges. Yet it appears that only $188 million of that $7 billion is money someone can reasonably expect to get their hands on. Further, in certain sections of the Black community, there is concern about the effectiveness of the traditional organizations identified as recipients of the pledges. And there appears to be less  concern with newer, trending  organizations. Our recent survey of  customers banking at black-owned banks  suggests most consumers who do not use Black banks are concerned about their financial stability, and have not been able to leverage financial resources from th