Syracuse University Engineering and Computer Science alumnus and LaunchPad entrepreneur Caleb Obiagwu ’19 actively supports the Black Lives Matter movement across the country, but he also noticed something alarming in some cities during the early days of protests. Black-owned businesses were vandalized or harmed. Many of those businesses had already faced hardships from the pandemic, and were struggling to sustain and re-open. The damage during the protests was a double blow, and for many business owners without resources to rebuild, it meant that dreams they spent years building through hard work were extinguished. As an entrepreneur, he empathized with that heartbreak. He knew he wanted to do something positive to both protect and support them.
Together, with friends Brandon Elliott and John-Paul Besong, they created a new tech platform to showcase Black-owned businesses in cities across the U.S. with a goal of signaling protesters to protect them. To date, the team has been working with businesses in Albany, Brooklyn, Buffalo, Manhattan, Queens and Syracuse. Over the past month, the platform has quickly gained momentum and attention from the media. As it has evolved, the larger goal is to expand it as a broader platform to create visibility and support for Black-owned businesses as part of a national movement to support equality and social justice.
See a great recent Daily Orange story here about Obiagwu and his new venture.
Last year, as a senior, he created the award-winning venture AttendPro, which won the Impact Prize competition sponsored by the LaunchPad. He remains an engaged alumnus entrepreneur and mentor for the LaunchPad, very focused on building mission-driven ventures with meaningful social impact. His voice has helped shape the LaunchPad’s perspective on diversity, inclusion, equity and social justice, and he is an impressive thought leader on these topics.