Benito Lubazibwa wants to do more than encourage African-American entrepreneurship, though that is the primary focus of his own startup, Remix Ideas. “Integrating capital with humanity” is what the native of Tanzania and University of Central Arkansas alumnus says is the ultimate goal: to make Little Rock a more connected, integrated place to live, to break down barriers not just to capital — an entrepreneur’s biggest challenge — but between people.
That’s what Remix’s Night Market in the Bernice Garden has been able to achieve on a small scale. The Night Market’s slogan is “One City, One Love,” and serves as both a platform for startups — 40 vendors were at the September event — and a place to mingle, listen to music, dine and dance. Nearly all the vendors were women, a fact that pleased Lubazibwa mightily, and established businesses on Main Street indirectly benefited. The event, which Lubazibwa and chief creative officer Angel Burt organized, featured not just African-American women starting out in business, but food trucks featuring the cuisine of many nationalities: Venezuelan, Mexican, Colombian and African. It also had a broader mission than to help create
Remix seeks to inspire would-be entrepreneurs with its radio show “Remix Ideas.” Creative officer Burt interviews business people on the half-hour show on KABF-FM, 88.3, which airs at 11:30 a.m. Wednesdays.
Lubazibwa is also working to introduce the Impactor card, which for $10 will give
Lubazibwa said he worked in Africa after graduating from UCA in 2001, but realized that Arkansas was as much in need of the same “ecosystem” — a favorite word of startup promoters — to address similar barriers to economic success as were the places in Africa he worked.
It was his parents who instilled in him the notion that the important thing in life was to help others. “They believe that you are judged not by your harvest, but by the seed you are planting. … That’s been in my life since the beginning.”
The next movement among people of color will be an economic movement, Lubazibwa believes. “Martin Luther King did an excellent job on civil rights. Now it’s time for this generation to fight for economic mobility,” not just for African Americans, but “women, Latinos, everybody.” He believes Remix is part of that movement.
For information on Remix workshops and events, go to remixideas.com.