They will offer business networking and education, helping people seeking to start businesses or expand them through a variety of services. They’ll also have pop-up space where small businesses can launch and introduce themselves to the community.
The Barneys and Williamses are collaborating with John and Wende Kotouc, executive co-chairs of American National Bank in Omaha. Through a partnership with American National, the center will offer people a way to invest in African American businesses and North Omaha through what they will call Carver Legacy accounts.
Deposits in the accounts will be committed to go toward loans that boost African American community development, including businesses, individual home purchases and home construction, as well as for-profit and nonprofit real estate development. The accounts will be fully FDIC insured and governed by banking rules and regulations, John Kotouc said.
People will be able to open Carver Legacy accounts at the center on Lake Street or at any American National Bank location.
The entrepreneurs hope to open the Carver Legacy Center at the end of September. People will be able to make deposits then. Loans will be made in the future after deposits build up enough, Barney said. Ernest White, an American National Bank vice president with a long history of business and community involvement in North Omaha, will manage the accounts.
American National is the founding bank partner, but Barney expects — and the Kotoucs are inviting — other financial institutions to become involved as well. The Kotoucs have known the Williamses for decades, and have been involved with the Barneys and the Empowerment Network for many years as well.
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