This is so innovative!
Entrepreneur Alquincia Selolwane just created the first and only Black virtual mall, 21 Ninety reports.
Selolwane is an accomplished entrepreneur who leads various information sessions for others looking to get into the business. Recently, she created the first-ever digital commercial real estate development, engineering an all Black-virtual mall.
During the pandemic, Selolwane stressed to her followers the importance of having a stimulus plan and creating a lane that you can profit from. She's using her projects as proof that there's always room for out-of-the-box innovation in the entrepreneurial space.
The Black virtual mall is set up similar to a commercial brick-and-mortar retail space; this one happens to be digital. There are storefronts, a movie theatre, and food courts, all populated by Black-owned businesses. In the food court, companies with delivery accounts can link their accounts directly to the mall so patrons can order via the app. The theatre showcases content from digital leases, there are music and art shows available from up-and-coming artists, and the platform even offers free classes. Selolwane also uses the mall to showcase her educational e-products.
She first started in the tech space, building community on various social media sites by sharing information. She eventually began working with Edible Arrangements, cutting her teeth with social media management for the company. That's where she learned how powerful internet influence and monetization were.
"When I first got on Instagram, no one knew what this would be. I posted things like my makeup...then I shifted to what was happening to us," said Selolwane.
That's when she began to create products for her community, using trial and error methodologies and applying what she learned to her various projects. The Black virtual mall is the culmination of all of her hard work over the years. She reviews each business to ensure quality control, granting leases only to those businesses that she feels will benefit her consumer base. She has been expanding her offerings, building out the platform to include other cities in the mall eventually. She offers information on grants and business funding, inspired to create the mall after attending a business expo for entrepreneurs.
For Selolwane, it's about building a system that will outlive her. Out of the 1300 applicants who have applied, there is still a vetting process for the mall, the business owners having to meet specific criteria and be at least 50% Black-owned with a functional website.
Selolwane spoke about what she hopes the Black community takes away from this project that she feels can be used from looking at other races' entrepreneurial practices.
"They understand the power of their time and systems. With systems, there is the ability to be scaled. If you can systemize it, you can duplicate it, And if you can duplicate it, the business can grow," she said.
Selolwane is currently focusing on creating more malls, including one for medical practitioners and one for legal practitioners.
Photo Courtesy of Alquincia Selolwane