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CEO and founder, Freeman Capital

Recruited at age 17 by the Department of Defense to work on top-secret projects while at college, Calvin Williams Jr. certainly has the bona fides to run a fintech startup. That, plus his passion for helping the underserved, shaped the creation of Freeman Capital, the only Black-owned, automated wealth management platform registered by the SEC. A graduate of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, the nation’s largest historically black college, where he was student body president, Williams has seen many of his former classmates go on to do well yet be ignored by financial firms.

“After college, I couldn’t find an adviser to help me because I didn’t have a million bucks,” he said. To help those like him, and to help overcome the “major distrust of financial institutions” among people of color due to historic mistreatment, Williams created a registered investment advisory firm in 2019 that provides personalized plans and monthly action steps from certified financial planners.

Winning the title “Startup of the Year” in 2020 in a national competition for Black-led companies, Freeman Capital’s goal, says its founder, “is to help millions of people close the wealth gap and improve their quality of life.”

— Evan Cooper