This Group Mentors African American Entrepreneurs in Seattle The cofounders of Black Dot, a startup resource center, discuss their plans for the future.
Black Dot, a startup resource center nestled in Seattle's historically black Central District, aims to mentor and connect the city's African-American entrepreneurs. Three of the organization's cofounders talk us through their plans.
How did Black Dot get started?
K. Wyking Garrett: We grew out of Seattle's Africatown Community Development Initiative and Hack the Central District Startup Weekend. We asked, "How does the African-American community reinvent itself in the face of displacement with gentrification?" After the startup weekend, aspiring entrepreneurs really wanted to continue building their ventures, and they needed consistent community, access to resources, networking and a space.
Why was the Central District an important location to you?
Garrett: Twenty-third and Union has been an epicenter of the African-American neighborhood. My grandfather was a cofounder of one of the first black banks west of the Mississippi, and it was right there on that commercial strip. It's also ground zero for a lot of new development, which has been displacing historic African-American small businesses. We're on one of the last large full-block tracts of undeveloped land, so we're part of efforts to acquire, purchase and redevelop that block in a way that is inclusive of our community.