Louisiana-based social network hopes to spur urban economic growth

    A Louisiana entrepreneur has set out to raise $1 million in capital investment to launch an app-based social network dedicated to the economic advancement of urban, black communities.
    BEAN—or Building Economic Advancement Network—is a social and economic network based in New Orleans and founded by real estate investor and DIY Network personality Darren Walker.
    The platform aims to connect users with businesses and professionals making an economic impact in urban communities. BEAN will leverage the latest in blockchain technology, Walker says, to incentivize business transactions among users, who will earn BEAN Coin tokens for those purchases. The tokens will be used as cryptocurrency on the social network.
    “African-Americans have $1.2 trillion in buying power in the U.S. but very little of that goes back into their own businesses,” Walker says. “BEAN is a solution to recognize and reward the behavior we want to see.”
    In order to raise money for the buildout of the app, BEAN has set aside 16% of its shares for private investment, Walker says.
    From now through the end of 2018, investors can purchase BEAN shares with equity in accordance with the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission’s rules under the JOBS Act’s Title III Regulation Crowdfunding.
    BEAN is offering shares for a minimum investment or $250 and maximum of $107,000. TruCrowd, an SEC-authorized crowdfunding portal, will facilitate BEAN’s crowdfunding campaign.
    “I see BEAN as a solution for African-Americans to use their financial power to change the status quo and enrich themselves and their communities in the process,” says truCrowd CEO Vincent Petrescu in a news release.
    BEAN has been years in the making, Walker says. He came up with the concept around 2011, launching a trial run and spending time working with universities and businesses to flesh out the idea. Through that process he realized any hope of launching on a national scale would require additional investment.
    Walker and his team hope to launch the BEAN app in the fall. He adds that although the platform’s focus is on supporting black communities, it is not exclusive.
    “BEAN isn’t anti-any group—not anti-white or Hispanic,” he says “I saw a real need in my community, and there are solutions that can be provided. I’m inviting all people to join and help.”

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