After Lawrence Watkins helped his brother Boyce Watkins, Ph.D., a leading financial scholar and economist, launch a successful speaking career, the two joined forces again to create The Black Business School.
“We combined the best parts and removed the worst parts of our collective business school experience as both a professor and student,” said Lawrence Watkins. Our goal is to help African Americans obtain a culturally relevant, yet practical education in all things wealth building at a price they can afford. As of today, we’ve had over 56,000 students who have either registered for our free or paid courses on the platform.”
Black Enterprise caught up with Watkins to learn more.
In comparison to attending a traditional college, what’s the value that the Black Business School offers participants?
- Cultural relevance – Unless a person attended an HBCU or was in the Africana Studies department of a predominately white institution, they probably have had very little interaction with black instructors, especially in business. We solve this problem as the large majority of our instructors are black. We are especially proud to have brought on Dr. Claud Anderson, author of PowerNomics, to teach a course on community economic development. He has already done two public lectures with Boyce that has been popular with our audience.
- Practical education – A fundamental fallacy of college education for black people is that the universities teach you how to work for someone else, but not yourself. If we owned the majority of institutions that control our day-to-day lives, then this would be OK. Unfortunately, we don’t. Therefore, we need to deploy a different strategy to gain wealth as a community. Our courses focus on the subjects that are practically applicable to teach our students how to make money now. We conclude some theory, but practicality is the focus. We also focus our attention on the subject areas where black people can make their money without having many institutional gatekeepers. These areas of focus are small business & entrepreneurship, securities investing, real estate investing, marketing & sales, personal finance, data & technology, and leadership & personal development. The first three paths already exist in our organization but will be expanding to the other four over the next several months.
- Low cost – Traditional college is putting a lot of students in debt. I know as I also have a couple of those fancy degrees. I ask myself if it was worth it often. I don’t want the rest of our community to have to make the same choice. I want them to be able to get an education and also buy the real estate that will help them attain generational wealth. We price our programs at a rate to where most students can pay out of pocket instead of taking out $100,000 in student loans. We are very proud of this fact.
What are your most popular courses?
The course that initially kicked off the acceleration of the BBS was Black Money 102: How to Invest in the Stock Market by Dr. Boyce Watkins. We noticed from social media there were many people in our community that did not know the basics of stock market investing. So, Boyce took the financial concepts that he taught at Syracuse University and shared that knowledge with the black community. Currently, we’ve had about 4,000 current & past students in this one class alone.
We launched a crypto-currency and blockchain investing initiative because we believe that Blockchain technology represents the next frontier of technological innovation. Part of this initiative involved creating the world’s largest African & African-American focused investing community at 60,000+ members. In December, we had over 22,000 people register to attend our online Crypto Investing Summit. Our premium blockchain mastermind, the Digital Underground, has had over 1,400 enrollments. The first token that has come out from the Digital Underground mastermind is LUV. LUV is an immutable Ethereum smart contract, an ERC-20 backed blockchain token that focuses on spreading awareness, education, and adoption of blockchain technology usage. LUV is priceless and cannot be bought. Authentic LUV is only given away for free.