January 28, 2021

Ira Wayne Crayton Founder and CEO GRNWD The App

When communities experience trauma or severe stressors, it is not uncommon for that community to unravel. Ira Crayton’s passion is bringing healing to his unraveled community by focusing on bridging the racial wealth gap to alleviate the stress brought about by constantly being economically disadvantaged in a country where the only color that matters second to skin color is green. We can’t change being black, and wouldn’t want to but we can definitely change being broke!!Ira has seen this hardship first hand with his work with students experiencing systemic racism and poverty through teaching and mentoring.

He is most proud of his work within STEM education where he sponsored an all black robotics team who has won 6 awards in its first year and half of existence, including BEST Robotics Rookie Team of the year in 2020.As a first time entrepreneur, Ira Crayton is a brother, son, father of two wonderful children and founder and CEO of GRNWD The App, an app designed to help consumers find and support black owned and anti-racist businesses. In it’s pre launch stage, GRNWD (derived from N. Greenwood Ave the location of Black Wall Street) has already amassed over 500 black owned businesses and is projected to surpass 100,000 black owned and anti-racist businesses by the end of 2021. In addition to being an advocate for re-positioning the black communities economic landscape, Ira is an avid traveler and has lived on both sides of the world, visited over 30 countries and has seen the world from all angles.

What inspired your entrepreneurial journey

I don’t think anyone gets inspired to be an entrepreneur: they simply reach a point where they can no longer not be an entrepreneur, where they can no longer be told when to come to work, when to get lunch, when to leave work and when to go to sleep because the cycle continues the next day. And I finally reached that point, simply led by my desire to not have to set a weekly alarm clock. Now that I’m on this journey, I’m inspired by a lot of things. I’m inspired by creating a new digital Black Wall Street, I’m inspired by changing the trajectory of my family’s life. I’m inspired by helping my community. We have 1.4 trillion dollars in spending power, yet we only spend 2% of that money within the black community. If we can increase spending in the black community to just 10% we can create 1 million new jobs for our people. I want to be the catalyst for that change. Being an entrepreneur means the removal of limitations and that inspires me.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?

It’s been extremely hard. My background is in science, I wanted to go to medical school so I majored in pre-med. I am self taught with everything I do with GRNWD. I am CTO, head of marketing and social media, lead strategist, front end designer, back end designer, I do everything. And my biggest competitor is a $4.9 billion giant called Yelp. The challenges that I had to overcome is a challenge that most people deal with and that’s being guilty of just saying things. Just saying that I want to make a difference in my community, just saying that I’m tired of being told when to report to work, and most of just saying that I want to build an app. I just said that I wanted to build my own app for over 10 years until I stopped just saying things, and did it.

Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the motivation to continue through your challenges? What sustains your drive?

Giving up has never been an option. My inspirations also serve as my motivation. And unfortunately I get constant reminders of how important this journey is when a black man is asked to leave a restaurant because he has on Air Force One’s when a white woman in sneakers sits casually at the bar. Or I look at how we build platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and now Clubhouse, yet none of them have a minority hiring rate of black and indigenous people of color higher than 4%. Or when during a congressional hearing of racist practices in banks. Representative Al Green of Texas asks a panel of white male bank CEO’s to raise their hand if they believe their successor will be a woman or person of color and no one raises their hand, my drive to continue is sustained.

what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?

Everyone is passionate in their own way, everyone works hard in their own way. But what sets me apart from the rest is my consistency, once I got past the just saying things stage of my life, I have consistently gotten the job done. I started GRNWD with a dream and zero skills to make it reality, but I YouTubed and googled my way to a working app that does exactly what I wanted it to do. And that’s what I do best, I figure it out and get it done. That’s what sets me apart from the competition on a personal level. As it relates to my app, GRNWD is the only app that features black owned businesses as well as non black owned businesses that follow an anti racist agenda. I made the decision to not limit it to black owned businesses because our community needs allies in this equity work. Most cities don’t even have an adequate black owned grocery store for us to get the most basic of needs. So if we must spend our money at establishments that are not black owned then we will choose the ones that respect our dollars, respect our culture, respect our people and give back to the community they operate in. GRNWD makes it easy for us to identify those businesses.

When did you realize entrepreneurship was right for you

I realized entrepreneurship was right for me when I was working with my dads’ concrete business. I enjoyed every aspect of it and it came close to giving me everything I was looking for in business. However, I was still working on a schedule and felt that it was a situation of golden handcuffs, meaning it was taking a lot of time, not very enjoyable and taking away my freedom. I had to physically work to get paid. And that’s not what I was looking for. That showed me that entrepreneurship was right for me but I needed to do it in a way that would give me 3 types of freedom. Time freedom, location freedom and financial freedom and GRNWD has the potential to give me all three.

What advice do you have for entrepreneurs and small business owners who may not be achieving their goals.

I would say to entrepreneurs and small business owners who may not be achieving their goals, GET A MENTOR OR COACH. I didn’t have that luxury because of how rare the skillset of what I’m doing is but if I had the opportunity and money (tech coaches costs thousands) I would have found a coach. It would have saved me months, and when you are trying to go from idea to income saving time is essential, the sooner you can monetize your business the better. Absolutely, GET A COACH OR MENTOR.

What are your future business goals

My future business goals are creating more social media platforms for the BIPOC community. Hire our people. Also when I do have the time, taking on some mentees and helping them more quickly get from idea to income. Lastly, position GRNWD to be the go to resource for those individuals looking to support the BIPOC and anti racist business community. If a business is not on GRNWD don’t break bread with them.

Generating new business, increasing your profits, or at least maintaining your financial stability can be challenging during good times, even more so during turbulent times. Can you share some of the strategies you use to keep forging ahead and not lose growth traction during a difficult economy?

Profits aren’t currently a challenge for me since I’m a couple weeks away from entering the monetization stage. The only issue I’ve had with growth traction is not being able to accommodate everyone that wanted to be on the pre-release version. There were about 200 businesses that I couldn't accommodate but that’s a good problem, it shows proof of concept. The biggest strategy I’ve had to date was leveraging the 60th anniversary of the Montgomery bus boycotts that lasted 381 days. To commemorate the boycotts I offered free business pages for 381 hours and created a Facebook buy black 381 challenge, where I challenged the community to buy black for the next 381 days. From that 381 hour period (15 days) I secured over 500 businesses.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

My favorite life lesson quote that has been relevant to me in life has been “See rejection as a redirection”. That’s something that I struggled with for the longest but as literally every rejection in my life redirected to a greater purpose, I began to see that my life steps are ordered and when one door closes and a bigger one opens. Before I started this journey I was living in the UAE, I lived in a country that people dreamed of visiting. I would post a routine night out in Dubai and likes, and heart emojis would quickly follow. That door closed abruptly, I moved back to the states and creating an app was the furthest thing from my mind. Less than one year later I had a working version of what I believe to be the next million dollar app and here I am today doing my first interview. Thank you!

How can our readers further follow your work?

For more of my work you can visit the app at grnwd.app, like and follow Rejoicing Rise on facebook, instagram and twitter or email me at info@grnwd.app

January 28, 2021

Ira Wayne Crayton Founder and CEO GRNWD The App

When communities experience trauma or severe stressors, it is not uncommon for that community to unravel. Ira Crayton’s passion is bringing healing to his unraveled community by focusing on bridging the racial wealth gap to alleviate the stress brought about by constantly being economically disadvantaged in a country where the only color that matters second to skin color is green. We can’t change being black, and wouldn’t want to but we can definitely change being broke!!Ira has seen this hardship first hand with his work with students experiencing systemic racism and poverty through teaching and mentoring.

He is most proud of his work within STEM education where he sponsored an all black robotics team who has won 6 awards in its first year and half of existence, including BEST Robotics Rookie Team of the year in 2020.As a first time entrepreneur, Ira Crayton is a brother, son, father of two wonderful children and founder and CEO of GRNWD The App, an app designed to help consumers find and support black owned and anti-racist businesses. In it’s pre launch stage, GRNWD (derived from N. Greenwood Ave the location of Black Wall Street) has already amassed over 500 black owned businesses and is projected to surpass 100,000 black owned and anti-racist businesses by the end of 2021. In addition to being an advocate for re-positioning the black communities economic landscape, Ira is an avid traveler and has lived on both sides of the world, visited over 30 countries and has seen the world from all angles.

What inspired your entrepreneurial journey

I don’t think anyone gets inspired to be an entrepreneur: they simply reach a point where they can no longer not be an entrepreneur, where they can no longer be told when to come to work, when to get lunch, when to leave work and when to go to sleep because the cycle continues the next day. And I finally reached that point, simply led by my desire to not have to set a weekly alarm clock. Now that I’m on this journey, I’m inspired by a lot of things. I’m inspired by creating a new digital Black Wall Street, I’m inspired by changing the trajectory of my family’s life. I’m inspired by helping my community. We have 1.4 trillion dollars in spending power, yet we only spend 2% of that money within the black community. If we can increase spending in the black community to just 10% we can create 1 million new jobs for our people. I want to be the catalyst for that change. Being an entrepreneur means the removal of limitations and that inspires me.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?

It’s been extremely hard. My background is in science, I wanted to go to medical school so I majored in pre-med. I am self taught with everything I do with GRNWD. I am CTO, head of marketing and social media, lead strategist, front end designer, back end designer, I do everything. And my biggest competitor is a $4.9 billion giant called Yelp. The challenges that I had to overcome is a challenge that most people deal with and that’s being guilty of just saying things. Just saying that I want to make a difference in my community, just saying that I’m tired of being told when to report to work, and most of just saying that I want to build an app. I just said that I wanted to build my own app for over 10 years until I stopped just saying things, and did it.

Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the motivation to continue through your challenges? What sustains your drive?

Giving up has never been an option. My inspirations also serve as my motivation. And unfortunately I get constant reminders of how important this journey is when a black man is asked to leave a restaurant because he has on Air Force One’s when a white woman in sneakers sits casually at the bar. Or I look at how we build platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and now Clubhouse, yet none of them have a minority hiring rate of black and indigenous people of color higher than 4%. Or when during a congressional hearing of racist practices in banks. Representative Al Green of Texas asks a panel of white male bank CEO’s to raise their hand if they believe their successor will be a woman or person of color and no one raises their hand, my drive to continue is sustained.

what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?

Everyone is passionate in their own way, everyone works hard in their own way. But what sets me apart from the rest is my consistency, once I got past the just saying things stage of my life, I have consistently gotten the job done. I started GRNWD with a dream and zero skills to make it reality, but I YouTubed and googled my way to a working app that does exactly what I wanted it to do. And that’s what I do best, I figure it out and get it done. That’s what sets me apart from the competition on a personal level. As it relates to my app, GRNWD is the only app that features black owned businesses as well as non black owned businesses that follow an anti racist agenda. I made the decision to not limit it to black owned businesses because our community needs allies in this equity work. Most cities don’t even have an adequate black owned grocery store for us to get the most basic of needs. So if we must spend our money at establishments that are not black owned then we will choose the ones that respect our dollars, respect our culture, respect our people and give back to the community they operate in. GRNWD makes it easy for us to identify those businesses.

When did you realize entrepreneurship was right for you

I realized entrepreneurship was right for me when I was working with my dads’ concrete business. I enjoyed every aspect of it and it came close to giving me everything I was looking for in business. However, I was still working on a schedule and felt that it was a situation of golden handcuffs, meaning it was taking a lot of time, not very enjoyable and taking away my freedom. I had to physically work to get paid. And that’s not what I was looking for. That showed me that entrepreneurship was right for me but I needed to do it in a way that would give me 3 types of freedom. Time freedom, location freedom and financial freedom and GRNWD has the potential to give me all three.

What advice do you have for entrepreneurs and small business owners who may not be achieving their goals.

I would say to entrepreneurs and small business owners who may not be achieving their goals, GET A MENTOR OR COACH. I didn’t have that luxury because of how rare the skillset of what I’m doing is but if I had the opportunity and money (tech coaches costs thousands) I would have found a coach. It would have saved me months, and when you are trying to go from idea to income saving time is essential, the sooner you can monetize your business the better. Absolutely, GET A COACH OR MENTOR.

What are your future business goals

My future business goals are creating more social media platforms for the BIPOC community. Hire our people. Also when I do have the time, taking on some mentees and helping them more quickly get from idea to income. Lastly, position GRNWD to be the go to resource for those individuals looking to support the BIPOC and anti racist business community. If a business is not on GRNWD don’t break bread with them.

Generating new business, increasing your profits, or at least maintaining your financial stability can be challenging during good times, even more so during turbulent times. Can you share some of the strategies you use to keep forging ahead and not lose growth traction during a difficult economy?

Profits aren’t currently a challenge for me since I’m a couple weeks away from entering the monetization stage. The only issue I’ve had with growth traction is not being able to accommodate everyone that wanted to be on the pre-release version. There were about 200 businesses that I couldn't accommodate but that’s a good problem, it shows proof of concept. The biggest strategy I’ve had to date was leveraging the 60th anniversary of the Montgomery bus boycotts that lasted 381 days. To commemorate the boycotts I offered free business pages for 381 hours and created a Facebook buy black 381 challenge, where I challenged the community to buy black for the next 381 days. From that 381 hour period (15 days) I secured over 500 businesses.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

My favorite life lesson quote that has been relevant to me in life has been “See rejection as a redirection”. That’s something that I struggled with for the longest but as literally every rejection in my life redirected to a greater purpose, I began to see that my life steps are ordered and when one door closes and a bigger one opens. Before I started this journey I was living in the UAE, I lived in a country that people dreamed of visiting. I would post a routine night out in Dubai and likes, and heart emojis would quickly follow. That door closed abruptly, I moved back to the states and creating an app was the furthest thing from my mind. Less than one year later I had a working version of what I believe to be the next million dollar app and here I am today doing my first interview. Thank you!

How can our readers further follow your work?

For more of my work you can visit the app at grnwd.app, like and follow Rejoicing Rise on facebook, instagram and twitter or email me at info@grnwd.app

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