by Jennifer Sharp
Economic and community developer, Eric Robertson, has a passion for Memphis and building wealth among people of color in areas where he once lived - Whitehaven and South Memphis.
Robertson is the president of River City Capital, a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that aims to increase economic development in underserved neighborhoods. He is also the president of Community LIFT( Leveraging Investments for Transformation), which is an affiliate of River City Capital and a community development organization that accelerates revitalization of disinvested neighborhoods to create a thriving Memphis for all.
Community LIFT revitalizes, builds human capacity, enhances economic and residential vitality in distressed neighborhoods while improving the quality of life.
RCC builds economic empowerment for entrepreneurs by offering loans to small businesses and technical assistance to support with business plans, financials, and other resources. They also work as liaisons and connectors with the Economic Development Growth Engine (EDGE) board.
"I want to fill a void and help communities who are disadvantaged and build wealth among people of color, which can be transformative for their communities," said Robertson.
With over 18 years of experience in economic and community development, Mr. Robertson oversees the day-to-day operations for both organizations and works with the board of directors to help raise capital for small businesses. He has led housing and economic development programs at LeMoyne-Owen College Community Development Corporation in the historic Soulsville USA neighborhood.
He also services on the boards of the Soulsville Foundation and the St. Louis Reserve, Memphis Branch board of directors.
"I want to make a concerted effort to grow wealth among people of color through entrepreneurship and small businesses, "said Robertson. "We should have more wealthy black and brown people in Memphis."
Robertson has two important pieces of advice for entrepreneurs.
"Know your financials, including your expenses, revenue and profit margins, and reconsider always filing a loss on your taxes," said Robertson.
To learn more about River City Capital and Community LIFT, visit https://www.rivercitycapital.org.
This article is a reprint in the 2020 Winter Black Men In Finance Edition.