Black women are making moves in the realm of entrepreneurship. Many of their ventures are designed to give back to individuals from disenfranchised groups. Two Black women in Tulsa are aiming to level the property ownership playing field through the creation of their own real estate company, Forbes reported.
Johnetta G. Paye, Esq. and Ernestine Johnson are the women behind the first Black-owned real estate crowdfunding company, the news outlet writes. Dubbed the Tulsa Real Estate Fund (TREF), the platform was created to help individuals in underserved communities overcome the obstacles of gentrification by helping them make low-cost real estate investments. Those who take advantage of the fund can invest in property for less than $1,000.
The two were motivated to start their venture after doing research about the racial wealth gap and the ravaging affects of gentrification. Hearing the stories about people who were pushed out of their neighborhoods because they couldn’t afford to stay there and realizing that there was a lack of resources offered to low-income individuals related to property ownership prompted them to take action.
“I said to myself, ‘I have to use my art and my voice to financially empower low-income, underserved, and urban communities,” said Johnson, who serves as the co-founder and chief communications officer of TREF. Paye, who serves as the company’s vice president of business affairs, says that her personal experiences motivated her to make a change. “My parents struggled and sacrificed to become homeowners. Now I see the pride they have in their home,” Paye told Forbes. “Also, as an attorney, I have facilitated numerous real estate transactions for first-time homebuyers. I have seen the power of real estate to transform people’s lives.”
There are several initiatives that have been launched to give individuals a seat at the table when it comes to the redevelopment of their communities. Last year, the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund—which was specifically designed to give Black entrepreneurs access to capital—grew to $18 million.