Kyrie Irving has started a consulting firm that will provide mentoring and coaching services to Black- and women-owned businesses. On Monday (May 10), the NBA star announced that his KAI Family Foundation has partnered with Lockstep Ventures to create KAI Eleven Counseling. They have raised over $25 million to invest in about 20 businesses.
“We must give our people the proper resources and stewardship for them to win beyond traditional investment vehicles,” said Irving. “This is not only essential to closing the wealth gap, but it also fosters a more unified, empowered and liberated society.”
The first investment of $250,000 will be provided as seed money to Fleeting, an Atlanta-based, Black-owned commercial trucking company that is committed to hiring women and those who were formerly incarcerated. Fleeting will gain additional resources to increase their social impact.
“Traditional business growth opportunities have disproportionately excluded various minorities, tremendously limiting access and creating mistrust,” Irving said in a statement. “KAI Eleven Consulting’s business model seeks to provide a more equitable process that eliminates systemic barriers to entry.”
The Brooklyn Nets star has been very involved with social justice issues. Last summer, he tried to lead a league-wide boycott against the restart of the NBA season in order to keep the focus on the Black Lives Matter protests.
He also donated $1.5 million to WNBA players who opted out of their season — whether it be Coronavirus-related health concerns or for social justice reasons.
Additionally, Irving covered the tuition expenses for nine students at Lincoln University, a historically Black college in Pennsylvania, purchased a home for the family of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed by Minneapolis police officers, and donated $323,000 to feed families in New York City during the height of the pandemic.
The seven-time NBA All-Star also produced a documentary about Breonna Taylor, a Black woman who was killed by Louisville police officers. The TV special highlighted calls of action that people could take to demand justice, such as registering to vote, calling city and state officials and encouraging people to post on social media.