Dr. Tim Lampkin and his team have created a connected network of businesses and support services, have built relationships and are helping to close the wealth gap for Black business owners in Mississippi.
“When we first started Higher Purpose Co. in 2016, it was really to fill the void that I saw in the community to support Black-owned businesses. And as we evolved, I recognized that there was a huge racial wealth gap,” said Dr. Tim Lampkin founder and CEO of Higher Purpose Co.
Lampkin has over a decade of community development and entrepreneurship experience. He previously managed the Racial Equity Program for the Mississippi Humanities Council, which won the national 2018 Schwartz Prize. Lampkin also worked for Southern Bancorp Community Partners to implement multi-million community initiatives and has advised rural entrepreneurs in several counties served by Delta State University. Knowing that business ownership is a direct path to wealth creation, Lampkin knew this was the best area for them to focus their efforts.
Higher Purpose Co, is an economic justice nonprofit building community wealth with Black business owners across Mississippi by supporting the ownership of financial, cultural and political power. Located in Clarksdale, Mississippi, in the Mississippi Delta region, Higher Purpose Co. is making a major impact throughout the state.
“We focus in on for-profit Black-owned businesses. Majority of the businesses that we work with are kind of in that early stage or growth stage of their business," said Lampkin. They must be a resident of Mississippi and their business must be located in Mississippi.
To date, the Higher Purpose Co. serves 200 business owners across the state through a business collaboration created to work together to keep businesses in their community growing. Members receive access to one-on-one business advising, monthly business education meetings and courses, and are able to take advantage of trusted referrals for credit counseling, marketing, accounting, legal and more. Additionally, members receive access to grants and other funding sources through the Higher Purpose Funding Network & Fellowship Program.
“Since November of 2019, we've deployed $1.3 million in capital to support black-owned businesses here in the state of Mississippi,” said Lampkin. “And we're currently in the process of rebooting and relaunching the funding network here in the next quarter to really make sure that we're continuing to get capital in the hands of people that truly need it to help them elevate their businesses.”
The company has grown quickly and is working to expand its breadth and reach. The Higher Purpose Hub is currently in development for a multi-generational 14,000 sq ft regional community wealth hub designed to support community business endeavors in Clarksdale.
“It's a $3 million project that we're working on here in Clarksdale, MS,“ said Lampkin. “It is going to be amazing. We purchased the building in November 2019 with some support from one of our anonymous donors and we just started to really build out the concept.”
The facility will have a multi-purpose theater, food hall, creative learning lab, business incubator space, and a civil rights museum in house. "This is something that this area has never seen before,” said Lampkin. “This is going to be a huge economic driver to the area, it's going to attract so many people and create so many different jobs for people locally.”
In light of their work, The Higher Purpose Co. continues to garner support from their community. “City and the county officials absolutely support our work and also when we do events and they show up and they get the word out because of the work that we do," said Lampkin.
The Higher Purpose Co. is building community wealth, more than just capital. It's a network of successful businesses, services and people that can grow and support themselves and the local economy while creating relationships, which Lampkin believes is paramount.
“A lot of people don't understand that building relationships is a form of currency. And if you're able to, do that in a very authentic way you will always be in a position to get what you need and get what you want, in business or even just in life.”