(Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

It's amazing that in the year 2020 we can still say, “The first black” anything. That alone should let anyone know the damage systemic racism has played in the Black community and beyond. Rather than focus on that, let's focus forward as the first Black-owned Stock Exchange will soon be a reality and not just an elaborate vision.

As a 25 year securities lawyer, Joe Cecala, the founder of The Dream Exchange, discovered that the structure of the US capital markets and current stock exchanges favored only the largest transactions with celebrity companies. This research revealed that prior to Archipelago, the overwhelming majority of IPO’s were $50.0 million and under! By 2004, small capital IPO’s had all but disappeared. In addition, After decades of working with minority businesses, he realized as well that minority businesses were nearly absent from all IPO and public company listings.

As a result, in 2018 Mr. Cecala founded the Dream Exchange to solve these long-standing market problems by creating a stock exchange to become completely inclusive and expand access to capital markets for companies with great imagination and foresight into the future as well as make an impact on the lacking diversity in the capital markets.

The Dream Exchange has partnered with Cadiz Capital Holding L.L.C., a black and minority-owned private equity firm, led by William H. Ellison, who holds majority ownership of the exchange. Slated to become operational in 2021, they plan to change the paradigm by evening the playing field and catering to underserved communities. We will be watching this one closely.

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