By Zac Cornell
Like many other superstar athletes who are using their platform and financial power to help traditionally underserved communities, Kyrie Irving has announced the launch of his new consulting firm, KAI Eleven Consulting, that will coach and mentor black and women-owned businesses. Partnering with the co-founders of venture capital firm Lockstep Ventures Michael Loeb, Bonin Bough, and Marcus Glover, the firm has raised $25 million to invest and support 20 businesses.
KAI Eleven Consulting will offer mentoring and programs by experienced development coaches, growth groups and area managers to help independent business owners improve and scale their businesses. “Traditional business growth opportunities have disproportionately excluded various minorities, tremendously limiting access and creating mistrust,” Irving said in a statement. “KAI Eleven Consulting’s business model seeks to provide a more equitable process that eliminates systemic barriers to entry.”
KAI Eleven Consulting is the first of many planned initiatives by Irving’s KAI Family Foundation, which is committed to support social justice and equality through building self-sustaining communities, education opportunities, and food and water security. “We must give our people the proper resources and stewardship for them to win beyond traditional investment vehicles,” said Irving’s announcement. “This is not only essential to closing the wealth gap, but it also fosters a more unified, empowered, and liberated society.”
The new venture has invested $500,000 in seed money for Fleeting, a black-owned commercial trucking company in Atlanta which has made a commitment to hire women and people who were incarcerated. The company is offering a variety of services to embrace a diverse community such as a three-month training program to gain a commercial drivers license, flexible hours, and the option of signing on for shorter trips.
Lockstep Ventures’ co-founder Clover said of their partnership, “At Lockstep, we are committed and passionate about finding solutions to reimagine equity for Black and women-led companies.”
Irving has shown strong commitment to social issues, and this dedication will be directed towards this new venture.