How Seed At The Table's Suzen Baraka And Morgan Means Are Helping BIPOC Entrepreneurs Widen Their Capital Pool
Photo Credit: Corey Gibson
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How Seed At The Table's Suzen Baraka And Morgan Means Are Helping BIPOC Entrepreneurs Widen Their Capital Pool

What oftentimes stands between an entrepreneur’s innovative idea and the act of them starting a business is the lack of funding — especially for Black and brown communities. Seed At The Table is an equity crowdfunding platform that’s working to bridge such funding gaps while empowering Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) entrepreneurs.

As previously reported by AfroTech, the initiative not only helps provide Black and brown entrepreneurs with access to capital, but also allows non-accredited investors to invest in businesses that are founded by those who look like them.  

“Prior to the pandemic, BIPOC-owned businesses were already the least likely to receive access to capital,” Seed At The Table co-founder Suzen Baraka told AfroTech. “When they went out for funding, they were either denied or they received less than what they needed in order to start up. I think that’s why Seed At The Table is necessary because we are a team of subject matter experts in our respective industries and we’ve all come together to serve and empower our community. We do that by providing access to capital for these small businesses and BIPOC-owned companies. And we give them time to sort of rightsize their business and I think that’s so important during times like these.”

The Seed Family

Ahead of Seed At The Table’s launch earlier this year, the team’s overarching vision for their platform came to a consensus. While led by Black professionals, who are all successful in their respective fields, they took the motto of building up with your circle to the next level to fulfill their community-driven mission.

While Baraka comes from a legal and compliance background and fellow co-founder Morgan Means works in the tech industry, what makes Seed At The Table thrive cohesively across all sectors is that each member of the Seed Family utilizes their 9-to-5s to mold their roles within the platform. What unifies each team member even further is their shared purpose of serving and empowering their communities by helping them establish successful businesses. 

“We were all kind of wondering, how can we impact our community and help people get to that level where they feel like their businesses are being funded? And that they feel comfortable and have resources that they need too,” Means said. 

Resources For BIPOC Entrepreneurs

Along with access to funding, BIPOC entrepreneurs are provided mentorship and financial literacy resources to further ensure their businesses stay on the right track.

While BIPOC entrepreneurs overall are who the platform is dedicated to serving, BIPOC women are a prime focus for Baraka and Means. The two are a part of the movement in providing them opportunities to make financial decisions and investments that pay off.

“At the end of the day historically we are a large percentage of entrepreneurs and breadwinners, but we’re not necessarily the most funded,” Means shared. “Helping to close that funding gap is so impactful to us and just our communities in general. Even if we impact 20 women, then we kind of have that grassroots impact where we’re now impacting a community. Or, someone reaches out to us and says they want to start a business.”

Keeping Seed At The Table's Mission At The Forefront

As their platform is still in its infancy stage, Seed At The Table is already reaching triumphant milestones. Within just their first six months of being fully operational, they have crossed the threshold of over $300,000 raised across their first five campaigns. Reaching such an accomplishment early on speaks volumes to the platform’s community impact and the trajectory for what is to come. 

“We’re just highly focused at being great at what we’re doing,” Baraka said. “Especially with so many partners, everything we do is mission driven. If we’re not forwarding the mission, then we’re not doing what we set out to do. I think the focus first and foremost is moving the mission forward. We’ve already hit so many milestones in just our first six months, but it’s because we’re a team of people who are capable, smart and our heart is really in what we do. The relationships that we’re building — particularly with our issuers — they’re so important to us and we want to make sure that our issuers have successful campaigns. That’s where a majority of our focus goes.”

For more information on Seed At The Table’s equity crowdfunding, you can contact the team here.