Personality: Rasheeda N. Creighton
Spotlight on co-founder of the Jackson Ward Collective
3/4/2021, 6 p.m.
As Black-owned businesses braced for the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new organization emerged in the Richmond region with the goal of ensuring these local businesses don’t just survive during this period, but thrive.
That organization is the Jackson Ward Collective, offering a virtual platform that connects Black business owners to each other and to resources for education, growth and ownership that can improve their place in the city and the region and create generational wealth.
Co-founder Rasheeda N. Creighton believes the Jackson Ward Collective is a necessary solution to the “double pandemic” Black businesses are facing.
“The extra hardships, ranging from racism to lack of financial support, coupled with the racial wealth gap make it increasingly difficult for Black-owned businesses to keep the doors open,” says Ms. Creighton.
“We want Black businesses to own not just their businesses, but, for those that are brick and mortar businesses, to own the buildings where they’re located to help create generational wealth.”
With a name based on the district shaped by the legacy of figures like Maggie L. Walker, John Mitchell Jr., Giles B. Jackson and others, the Jackson Ward Collective has a simple strategy: Meet member businesses where they are with customized approaches, and identify and attract what’s needed to ensure those businesses can move forward, no matter how new or seasoned they may be.
Ms. Creighton developed the Jackson Ward Collective with Kelli S. Lemon, owner of Urban Hang Suite and co-founder of the Richmond Black Restaurant Experience, and Melody Joy Short, co-founder of The Richmond Night Market. Ms. Creighton says their expertise and history in Richmond is what enabled the organization’s creation.
“We understood, through our career and entrepreneurial experiences, that Black business owners have less access to resources and support, and are in need of that and community,” Ms. Creighton says. “We also understood the unique experiences we have in the Black community that sometimes only we can understand, and the value that brings when we come together to help each other.”
The Jackson Ward Collective is focused on businesses based in or related to the Richmond area, but is ready and able to expand because of its virtual platform and as resources grow.
For now though, the organization’s virtual door is open to any Black-owned business in the region looking for ways to establish themselves or to stay afloat.
“You can be at any stage, even if you’re starting with an idea,” Ms. Creighton says. “We have resources and partners that can support all stages, and we want to come alongside you to help you reach your business goals, while also taking care of the whole business owner.”
Meet a Black business advocate and this week’s Personality, Rasheeda N. Creighton:
Position: Co-founder, The Jackson Ward Collective; Founder, Killing SuperwomanTM
Date and place of birth: Nov. 22 in Richmond.
Current residence: Richmond.
Occupation: Lawyer by training; entrepreneur by day.
Education: Bachelor’s in English, Spelman College; and J.D., University of Michigan Law School.
Family: Daughter, Zoe, 6; and bonus daughters, Akilah, 16, and Saván, 23.
The Jackson Ward Collective is: A hub that connects Black business owners to each other through a communal platform and to programmatic, technical and financial resources to help them learn, grow and own in the Black community.
When and why founded: We were founded in 2020 because we understood, through our career and entrepreneurial experiences, that Black business owners have less access to resources and support, and are in need of that and community.
Location: We are based in Richmond, but operate off a virtual platform that enables us to scale and serve members anywhere.
Mission of Jackson Ward Collective: To learn, grow and own in the Black community. We want Black businesses to own not just their businesses, but, for those that are brick and mortar
businesses, to own the buildings where they’re located to help create generational wealth.
Values: Black. Authentic. Excellence. We are un-apologetically Black. We are genuine and purposeful in all we do. We operate with the highest quality and caliber at every step in the process.
How we decided on the name: We originally were going with “The Collective,” but there are many organizations utilizing that name, so we went back to the drawing board. Jackson Ward is one of the Black Wall Streets in America, and one of its monikers is “The Birthplace of Black Capitalism.” The legacy of Maggie Lena Walker, John Mitchell Jr., Giles B. Jackson and many others is what fuels us. Our goal is to pay homage to that legacy and use it to inspire ourselves and our members.
Memberships of The Jackson Ward Collective: 175.
Who joins: Any Black business owner. We are currently focused on businesses either based in the Richmond region or with ties to the Richmond region, but have plans to scale nationally as time and resources permit.
How to become a member, sponsor or partner: To join, sign up at our website, www.jacksonwardcollective. com under “membership.” Those interested in sponsoring members should complete our contact form on the website. Sponsorships are directed to new businesses that apply for a scholarship. We have a lot of ways to partner with us, and partner dollars help provide grants to members that directly enable them to make progress toward short- and long-term business goals.
No. 1 goal: Help Black business owners not just meet their business goals, but also build generational wealth through real estate ownership. We want to “Buy the Block!”
Strategy for achieving goals: We keep it simple: Meet our member businesses where they are, customize their experience and identify/attract the necessary resources to ensure their ability to move their business forward where they are in the ideation phase of their journey or positioned to scale their business. The details of how we do that, however, are our “secret sauce.”
The Collective partners with: Service partners – Black owned businesses that provide services to small businesses; Community partners — organizations and businesses that offer programming, technical support and funding to small businesses; and Strategic partners — typically larger businesses, corporations and foundations that want to provide funds and technical assistance to directly support Black-owned businesses.
How I start the day: With gratitude and optimism. It’s a new day I have the privilege of being a part of, which means a fresh start and a clean slate. Always giving thanks to God for the opportunity to make an impact, whether that be personal or professional.
Three words that best describe me: Grounded, joyful and undaunted.
Best late-night snack: No judgment, right? Utz Plain Rippled Potato Chips with Dean’s French Onion Dip.