James Lindsay, the Founder of Rap Snacks, is a foodie and a music lover who combined the two in a business and is now looking for ways to increase the financial empowerment of African Americans. He, in partnership with Wise Intelligent, has founded the Rap Snacks Foundation, located in Miami.
Lindsay, a Philadelphia native and graduate of Cheyney University, launched the Rap Snacks Foundation, or BOSSUP, as a 501c3 nonprofit to provide an enhanced, real world experiential entrepreneurship program to teach young men, women and youth from under-resourced communities financial literacy, how to start a profitable businesses, ownership, and investments.
The foundation recently released the StockBossUp App to empower more Black lives with financial tools to thrive.
Stock Boss Up is a free digital stock market simulation that allows users to see what it’s like to invest in the stock market without using their own money. Users can track the market in real time as they invest as much as $1 million in simulated funds into publicly traded companies.
We asked James Lindsay about Rap Snacks and his mission to teach financial empowerment.
Grit Daily: Rap Snacks is nearing its 30th anniversary in business. What motivated you in 1994 to found Rap Snacks?
James Lindsay: My passion has always been music and food, and with a strong foundation I was able to combine the two in a unique way. Additionally, Rap Snacks was started as a way to create additional revenue streams for some of the world’s most recognizable hip hop artists. Today, we have seen unprecedented success through our strategic partnerships, and have become one of the most visible snack product brands over the last few decades.
Grit Daily: You, in partnership with Wise Intelligent, are the Founders of the Rap Snacks Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit organization that provides experiential entrepreneurship programs that teaches young financial literacy to men and women and youth from under-resourced communities. How great is the need for financial literacy and business skills in the communities where the Rap Snacks Foundation is working?
James Lindsay: Our research as a foundation finds that “Financial empowerment” may be a more fitting term. The African American community has launched more businesses than any other group per capita. The issue isn’t always a problem of a lack of financial education. Rather, we’ve come to realize the problem for many enterprises launching in the communities we serve is a lack of institutional support and an abundance of indifference. The institutions American businesses depend on for support, i.e., banks, venture capital firms, government (SBA, etc.), have historically neglected these businesses, and have continued to do so in many regards.
Grit Daily: The Rap Snacks Foundation recently released the StockBossUp App. Please tell me about the purpose of the app.
James Lindsay: StockBossUp was created as a tool to solve the problem of inclusion in the equities market – a sector wherein Black America represents less than 2%. Our aim was to create a platform that would educate, empower and build community while demystifying a generational wealth building investment tool, historically perceived as gambling and a scam by the African American community. Although, not without justification.
Grit Daily: African Americans lag by nearly every economic measure, and there is no honest dispute that is because of systemic discrimination. How important and viable is entrepreneurship as a way to work around that discrimination?
James Lindsay: The full potential of entrepreneurship is best realized when an enterprise is driven by the inherent spirit of entrepreneurship, which is solving problems. When viewed this way, it becomes less of an attempt to work around discrimination, and more so about creating institutions, companies, platforms and organizations that form fair, equitable and just systems.
Grit Daily: Is there anything you want to mention that I haven’t asked about?
James Lindsay: Yes. Download StockBossUp app on Google Play for Android, and the Apple Store for iPhone. Follow us on social media: @stockbossup and check out our website.