Imagine being in an audience and waiting to hear from your favorite speakers. The house lights go dim, the spotlight cranks up and from the silence emerges the sounds from “This is Me,” the inspirational and audacious track from the 2017 film, “The Greatest Showman.”
This setup is the dream of the COO and co-founder of StartupStarter, Lorel Scott. Scott has unapologetically busted into the business sector to change the narrative around business education and level the playing field for people of color seeking to advance their businesses.
Proudly representing the intersectionality of being a Black gay man, Scott understands the nuances and challenges that exist for business leaders of historically underrepresented communities. This is where StartupStarter enters the chat.
A Haven For Business Owners Scott and his co-founder Jose Barrera created a space that is beyond crowdfunding for businesses. In fact, the organization focused on being a destination for founders to have a starting point when establishing its business plan, model, strategy, and operations.
As a company founded by people of color, Scott admits that while it has resources specifically for the communities they represent, it also serves as a highway with on-ramps for anyone to take advantage of the resources they provide.
Although StartupStarter is not a crowdfunding platform, it is not lost upon them that businesses need funds to move forward successfully. And Equity Crowdfunding Week is its way of making sure business leaders are not only informed but have access to the necessary capital needed to meet their goals.
“Our conference, however, Equity Crowdfunding Week, is at the center of the equity crowdfunding world and allows us to market the industry as a whole,” Scott explained. “Rather than focusing on one particular platform, company, or industry, we’re able to educate a much broader audience on what we believe is the most democratic way to fund companies and help companies raise capital along the way.”
Supporting Black Founders For Scott and Barrera, the importance of crowdfunding is an opportunity to get more capital to support Black founders. They believe their job is to make sure the messaging gets to a broader network that includes Black and Latinx retail investors in an effort to make equity crowdfunding investing mainstream.
“As a minority founder, I always felt we were left out. Not only do we have to overcome barriers to seek funding, but the same goes for investing. There’s a defined target audience that these companies market to and support. We’re changing that by driving the message to a mainstream audience, one that stays up to date on culture shifts, so that we can create more opportunities and help drive more investment into Black founders while being a place they can come learn how to be a successful entrepreneur,” Scott pointed out.
This year’s Equity Crowdfunding Week was held in Los Angeles, CA, from Nov. 11–13.
In terms of what’s next for StartupStarter, it definitely includes leveling up the conference for next year, expanding its offerings, and building out its core.
“At the pace [that] we’ve been moving, we aim to have a fully robust business education streaming platform paired with a large fundraising equity crowdfunding conference. That’s how we envision being able to help founders at scale while transforming the way we see business education in the future,” Scott said.
About Josh Rodgers
Lover of Culture. Curator of Motivation. Advocate for Equity. Josh Rodgers is a writer and content creator originally from Memphis, TN. Along with AfroTech, Josh's work can be seen on Blavity News, Travel Noir, Shadow & Act, and Buzzfeed. When he isn't writing, he can be found on the mic as the co-host and founder of The Jigsaw Podcast - a platform dedicated to helping Black millennials attempt to navigate the craziest puzzle piece ever created, life.