“I want to encourage”: a black real estate developer innovates on the SE Raleigh entrepreneurial hub
“Raleigh is growing up so fast. It’s not the same Raleigh we had five years ago or last year for that matter. So there’s no time to play, no time to waste,” James Montague told ABC 11 ahead of the opening ceremony. on the 2700 block of Rock Quarry Road.
Montague is a veteran black real estate developer who grew up in poverty in Raleigh’s social housing. Now he has the ear of the city’s mayor and has inaugurated this $ 4 million entrepreneurial hub bearing his name; just two minutes from his family’s former apartment project.
“What I would say I would do when I was an adult was to be the guy I needed at that age,” Montague said. “And that’s what I’m striving for now.”
When construction is complete on Montague Plaza, an abandoned gas station on Rock Quarry will be replaced with new 16,000 square foot space for local businesses; entrepreneurship education programs; and teaching technology to students next door at Southeast Raleigh Magnet High.
In a year where tech giants like Apple and Google have announced new hubs here in the Triangle, Montague Plaza is being touted as a space to ensure black and brown talent can be part of the growth.
Raleigh-based software company GlobalXperts is partnering with the project to teach cybersecurity and cloud computing.
“Our plan is not just to give the training and then go. We will be with them all the way,” said Neil Kumar, CTO at GlobalXperts.
Montague Plaza • Real estate developer Black Raleigh inaugurates entrepreneurial hub in South East Raleigh
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“If people don’t see people like us doing these kinds of projects, they don’t believe it. We have to show and prove. • AT 11 O’CLOCK • # abc11 pic.twitter.com/EHMqyOTsvi
– Joel Brown (@ JoelBrownABC11) June 18, 2021
Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin spoke at the ceremony, applauding Montague for bringing new jobs, services and retail to a historically underserved part of the city.
“You take risks in doing what you do. And you do it for the community,” Baldwin said.
For Denise Wiggins, this is an opportunity. Here she will be opening her first physical store for her all-natural, black-owned beauty brand, Einnaf Cosmetics. She won’t just sell her glowing lipsticks. She’s planning a junior Einnaf program – teaching girls about financial literacy, budgeting and the importance of credit.
“If I had had this opportunity when I was younger, I would be a lot further away than I am today,” said Wiggins. “So giving them this opportunity will change their lives on so many levels.”
Wiggins’ cosmetics business is just one of at least ten local companies that have committed to opening stores. Construction is expected to be completed early next year.
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