When Dr. Kelly Burton thinks about social issues impacting communities of color, such as food deserts or lack of access to quality education, the entrepreneur believes those things happen to people who are not “proximate to wealth.”
“Entrepreneurship is the greatest potential solution for closing the racial wealth gap. If we can help people get proximate to wealth,” she said, “then we can change the trajectory of an entire community of people.”
To that end, Kelly co-founded the nonprofit Black Innovation Alliance in 2020. BIA is a coalition that currently boasts 116 members in 33 cities serving Black entrepreneurs and innovators in the pursuit of closing the racial wealth gap.
The coalition works to encourage systemic change through strengthening support organizations for founders of color, changing the narrative of what innovation looks like beyond stereotypes and advocating for generational change at the highest levels of government.
“We have carried out approximately two dozen distinct projects, events, activations over the last two years” said Kelly. “Two of them have been historic, helping to launch the Congressional Caucus on Black Innovation, and our activation at Web Summit, which is arguably the largest tech conference in the world.”
Dr. Burton attributes much of BIA’s recent success to a general operating grant from the eBay Foundation that allowed BIA to use the resource with flexibility to ideate..
“Entrepreneurship,” she said, “is the greatest potential solution for closing the racial wealth gap.”
eBay Foundation supports organizations that are addressing and removing ongoing systemic barriers to entrepreneurship around the world. Learn more about the Black Innovation Alliance and its work here.