A recent report for the University of Chicago’s GenForward project shows that Black millennials are suffering from worse financial burdens than their white and Asian counterparts because of comparatively lower rates of employment.
The survey also shows that while a majority of millennials had checking and savings accounts, white and Asian millennials are more likely to have essential economic tools such as checking and savings accounts, while their Black and Hispanic counterparts are likely to use other types of banking and loan options that carry high fees, widening these financial disparities.
Three Morehouse graduates are working to turn that around for Black millennials with BREAUX Capital, a financial technology company meant to improve the financial welfare of Generation Y’s and young Black entrepreneurs.
Brian Williams met Derrius Quarles and Ras Asan at Morehouse College, and after their graduation from the school (Quarles and Asan in 2013 and Brian in 2014) they decided to stay in touch. Their discussions about improving economic mobility for all Black people led to the birth of BREAUX Capital, a financial savings and education platform.
“We thought about how we could merge wealth building and the black male, millennial community. In our conversations we figured there didn’t exist a space where Black millennials could build wealth in real time,” Williams said. “Banks such as Chase [and] TD, they don’t really teach you the fundamentals. They don’t teach you why it’s important [to save].”
Williams and his fellow co-founders believe the first step to financial wellness is through saving. BREAUX Capital offers an online automated savings platform, which essentially functions as a savings account where users can decide how much money they would like to be set aside every two weeks and allows members to build their savings over time, without interest. The company also offers an investment education.
“Normally banks pay “interest”, but at a 0.03 percent interest rate, meaning for every $100 that’s 3 cents of interest, the consumer isn’t served optimally. On top of that, banks are charging to use their service. With that being said, BREAUX Capital is not a bank. Our aim is to increase financial wellness for black millennials, enhancing Black millennials relationship with the current banking system,” Williams said.
There are three tiers in the BREAUX community: BREAUX 20, BREAUX 50 and BREAUX 100 all of which gives members access to automated savings as well as access to the “wealth building forum,” which allows members to connect online.
“We initially started as an online investment club where initially you would buy at your stake and each month you would contribute to it. Through that process, each member of the investment club learned the importance of and beginnings of vetting,” Williams said. “We also built relationships nationwide through doing so.”
“We learned during that process that a lot of us are seeking that knowledge bridged with cultural competency.”
But most importantly, the company creates a community for Black, male millennials with similar financial aspirations and provides them with a platform to connect with one another.
How did the co-founders think up of a community-based forum for Black men to connect? From Black women.
“We were inspired by the myriad collectives of Black women in various spaces. From groups such as Black Girls in Om, Black Girls Yoga or Black Girls Swimming” Williams said. “It was never for means of exclusion it was for the betterment of establishing the Black male collective.”
Although the company does focus on Black men, they don’t bar anybody from the company and welcome all people.
Besides just their online forum, members are able to connect at BREAUX Capital official events like BREAUXComing, which is put on annually during the Morehouse Homecoming week in October. Here, the company is able to interact and engage directly with their target demographic of young, black males.
They’re currently working on their second annual event TechGroove, which will start in mid-2018.
Techgroove is a tech-infused, job symposium that allowed Morehouse students to network amongst companies like Jiffy, Mozilla Firefox and LinkedIn while using cultural competency to make students more comfortable in being themselves. They’ll also be launching Little BREAUX, a mentorship program that incorporates principles of wealth building and entrepreneurship for young black men.
Since the company’s launch in 2016, the company has seen a steady rise in membership, with numbers going up on a weekly basis, Williams said. But they plan on taking it further, by expanding the number of people who decide to join BREAUX on their financial journey.