The results are unbelievable - now, I’m helping many different women business owners with their crowdfunding campaign pages and helping them find success in the program.
Salimata Bangoura, the founder of Yamacu, a West African fusion beverage company known for its locally handcrafted ginger drinks, immigrated to the United States from Mali at the age of 14. What started as pushing carts full of the ginger drink made with her mother's recipe through the streets of the Bronx until it sold out has grown into a business that continues to sell out at more than 13 weekly farmer’s markets throughout New England as she and her team connect people to her culture.
After COVID regulations led to the shutdown in March 2019 of Yamacu’s first brick-and-mortar location, which offered healthy, diverse food and drink, customers began reaching out because they couldn’t get the desired ginger drinks anywhere else. This began the business’s partnership with CommonWealth Kitchen, a non-profit food-business incubator in Dorchester. Demand continued to outpace Yamacu's ability to provide food and drink at the farmer’s markets.
“To get our hands on the right equipment would be a game changer," Salimata said. "Sometimes we would sell out in one hour."
Salimata heard about the Biz-M-Power Crowdfunding Matching Grant Program through CommonWealth Kitchen, which was aware of Yamacu’s need to purchase juicing equipment. After launching her campaign with the help of the program’s crowdfunding platform coach from Patronicity, it took off.
“I was shocked by how quickly we reached our goal,” Salimata said.
Yamacu closed out its $10,000 campaign goal with the support of 91 patrons and a total of $10,986 raised through community funding. Included in the 91 were family members, friends, loyal customers, and those she met along the way through business support programs. She was able to promote her campaign at an event where she was a speaker and found the process to be “easy,” from getting MGCC approval to the campaign launch.
Salimata expressed how the campaign helped her discover her team and where each of their strengths lay.
“We had to think about how to tell our story and what impact supporting this business makes.” Salimata said.
She found the crowdfunding experience to be something she recommends “100%,” as it helped her raise funding for much needed equipment and brought her community of supporters together for a positive impact.
“The results are unbelievable," she said. "Now, I’m helping many different women business owners with their crowdfunding campaign pages and helping them find success in the program.”
Yamacu continues to grow. In April 2022, it opened its new brick-and-mortar location at the Haley House Bakery Café at 12 Dade Street in Nubian Square in Boston.