Ifi Akpandak ’13CC

Fintech and social enterprise 

Venture Type: 

What is the social or environmental issue being addressed?

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the state of Black-owned businesses in America. 41 percent of Black-owned businesses closed down during the first few months of the pandemic compared to 20 percent of non-Black businesses. Despite this, Black-owned businesses received less than two percent of PPP and other emergency loans. Furthermore there are many studies that suggest Black-owned businesses have received unequal treatment in our lending systems, which are essential for growth. Our country is increasingly acknowledging that this is a structural problem that needs to be corrected, but the truth is that it isn’t necessarily easy to support Black-owned businesses. Brava is determined to change this.


Brava is a digital gift card subscription that makes it easy to support Black-owned businesses. Each month, subscribers receive digital gift cards to Black-owned restaurants in their area. The businesses receive predictable revenues and early cash flows that allow them to reinvest in themselves and their communities.

What’s unique about Brava is that digital gift card subscriptions act as short-term, interest-free loans since gift cards are purchased before they are redeemed. Brava is community-led banking for businesses that have been historically excluded from receiving equal lending opportunities.

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