Lanre Ajakaiye is a Rhode Island entrepreneur who is the son of Nigerian immigrants and is ready to create a cultural revolution in his home state.
According to Black News, Ajakaiye has just bought a whole city block — totalling 15,000 square feet — to make his dream come true. Titled 25 Bough Street, this state-of-the-art facility is located in the heart of Providence and features 3-D Black history exhibits, a new-age financial literacy and career center, a world-class multi-purpose function hall, and innovative co-working entrepreneurial spaces.
“The mission for the 25 Bough Street Initiative spans education, career awareness, health & wellness and financial empowerment for youth and the community at large,” reads the mission statement on the 25 Bough Street website. “The 25 Bough Street development will transform and re-develop a currently blighted property –in what was once a thriving jewelry manufacturing hub in the historic Olneyville section of Providence, Rhode Island -into a multi-purpose, community-anchored facility providing spaces for youth education and empowerment, entrepreneurship, and celebration of life events.”
The Rhode Island entrepreneur took a unique approach to funding efforts. Rather than pitch “deep-pocket” investors or corporations, Ajakaiye took advantage of something called the Title III of the JOBS Act which outlines Regulation CF (Crowdfunding), a type of offering allowing private companies to raise up to $5 million from community investors.
In addition to working on the 25 Bough Street project, the Rhode Island entrepreneur is behind some other culturally relevant events in the greater Rhode Island area, including The New England Family Fun Festival (a yearly event that takes up 50,000 square feet of property in the area) and the R.I.S.E. Women’s Leadership Conference (where he serves as the brand architect, web and social lead; his wife, Hilina, is the head of operations and the executive director of the conference).
When the 25 Bough Street project is complete, the R.I.S.E. Women’s Leadership Conference will move to that address as its central location, as well.