GREENSBORO — Launch Greensboro alumnus Calvin Williams won a national competition for black-led companies on Thursday. Williams is the founder and CEO of Freeman Capital, a wealth management company for everyday people.
On Thursday, Williams participated in the Celebrating Black Founders Semifinals Challenge, a pitch event for the global Startup of the Year competition — and won.
Williams was one of five early-stage startups chosen to pitch for a panel of expert judges. He received a golden microphone trophy, a $1,000 cash prize and an automatic spot as a Top Semifinalist at the Startup of the Year 2020 Summit .
“We are so excited to win the semifinals competition,” he said. “But we won’t stop until we win the whole competition and shed the light on the important work of closing the racial wealth gap.”
Brent Christensen, the Chamber’s president and CEO, said that Freeman Capital’s laser-focus on closing the wealth gap for women and people of color is what sets it apart from other wealth management companies.
“Calvin is a passionate entrepreneur,” Christensen said. “He’s not just leveling the playing field. He’s providing tools and education that will increase their capacity for financial success.”
Williams is a Greensboro native, an alumnus of North Carolina A&T State University and an active member of the Greensboro entrepreneurial community. He is also a member of the Chamber’s Connections Cohort, a group of women- and minority-owned businesses.
Launch Greensboro, a program of the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce, has been instrumental in Williams’ entrepreneurial journey. He has participated in many of its programs, including LaunchLab in 2016, and pitched his company at the organization’s annual Capital Connects events.
He is also a member at Launch’s co//ab coworking space and hosted an intern through Launch’s partnership with the Campus Greensboro program in 2019.
Lou Anne Flanders-Stec, the Chamber’s executive vice president for entrepreneurship, said Williams already had a deep understanding of business when he started working with Launch. But the organization helped him figure out how to package his ideas.
“He gained the language to talk about fundraising,” she said. “We talked about how to pitch the business in a concise manner that a potential investor could understand.”
Since launching Freeman Capital in 2015, Williams has raised over $400,000 to grow his business.
Thanks to this week’s win, he has a chance to win up to $20,000 more in the Startup of the Year competition this November.