Your 2022 Humanitarian of the Year!
Benito Lubazibwa is the Chief Executive Officer of ReMix Ideas and Founder and Executive Director of Advancing Black Entrepreneurship (ABE). The mission of ReMix Ideas and ABE is to build an entrepreneurial ecosystem that is rooted in equity and empowers Black entrepreneurs to start, grow, and scale their businesses.
Through ReMix Ideas and ABE, entrepreneurs are provided tools and services including technical assistance, mentorship, business education, consulting, and funding. The primary focus is to offer business development expertise and support organizations focusing on cultivating Black business ownership.
In 2019, Benito established the ReMix Ideas Business Academy (RIBA), a 12-week program designed to teach crucial business skills as well as to provide networking spaces and mentorship. RIBA cohorts are also afforded microgrants and access to lending opportunities.
To date, 6 graduating classes and 90 Black-owned businesses have registered through RIBA, many of which have secured grant funding and low-interest business loans.
Benito has played an integral role in strengthening the library as an entrepreneurial resource. In May 2020, ABE partnered with the Central Arkansas Library System to launch The Rock It! Lab, a start-up hub located in the historic Cox building in downtown Little Rock, that educates and connects underestimated entrepreneurs by providing working space, technical assistance, mentorship, incubator program, and consulting to create pathways for them to achieve economic mobility.
In October 2020, Benito launched the Black Founders Summit, a space for the community to share actionable insights with the purpose of advancing Black entrepreneurship. In August 2021, Benito spearheaded the Imani Fund which provides Black entrepreneurs in Arkansas with microloans between $5,000 and $25,000 and free technical assistance.
The fund uses an uncommon underwriting process that assesses an individual’s character and community engagement rather than collateral to be considered for a loan. An individual’s potential to execute a viable business outweighs past relationships with personal debt. This business model-based microloan aims to minimize the systemic barriers to accessing capital that under-estimated entrepreneurs often face.
Benito has received several awards for his work toward advancing Black economic development and empowerment. In 2020, he was the recipient of the Advancing Equity Award by the Clinton School of
Public Service’s Center of Community Philanthropy in recognition of the ReMix Ideas Business Academy. He was also honored by the Arkansas Democratic Black Caucus with the 2020 Calvin King
Economic Development Award. Most recently, ReMix Ideas was named the Small Business Administration 2020 Entrepreneurial Support Organization of the Year.
Benito is a 2020 Common Future Bridge Fellow, a national program of (8) leaders from the Southern U.S., working toward building more inclusive and resilient economies for their communities. He is a
member of the board of directors of Wesley College Foundation and KABF 88.3FM, a community radio station.
Benito also serves on the advisory board of the Arkansas Baptist College Division of Business, Technology, and Entrepreneurship and the Waldron Center for Entrepreneurship and Family Business at Harding University. He is a Magna cum Laude honors graduate from the University of Central Arkansas in Conway.
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2513 McCain Blvd., Ste 2
North Little Rock, AR 72116