RICE CEO Jay Bailey shares their success story

CEO shares his gratitude and greatest success story during their ribbon-cutting ceremony
RICE CEO Jay Bailey shares their success story
Jay Bailey, CEO of RICE (Photo credit: rolling out)

Jay Bailey’s plan continues to unfold. Just over two years ago, Bailey sat in an empty building with cobweb-occupied corners off Northside Drive in Atlanta. On Sept. 29, 2022, the Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs opened the U.S. Bank/Elavon Entrepreneurial Boardroom, another space for Black entrepreneurs to hold meetings and negotiate business deals moving forward.

Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the boardroom, Bailey spoke with rolling out about the unveiling and corporations like U.S. Bank partnering with RICE.

What does the opening of the U.S. Bank/Elavon Entrepreneurial Boardroom signify?

U.S. Bank believed in [this] vision; when none of this existed. So to see an idea become real, to be able to sit in it, is powerful. it’s a real testament to U.S. Bank’s commitment to the community, not just the dollars that they provide, but they show up.

What do you think that says about the character of their corporation to go above and beyond just a couple of months after the George Floyd tragedy?

I really hope most corporations take this moment and make it more than a movement. To have institutions as large as U.S. Bank and Elavon backing up their dollars by rolling up their sleeves and showing up and doing the work. Beyond just that moment, that was triggered by George Floyd, which hit them pretty significantly, because they were in Minnesota, when it happened, their branches got burned down. So of course, it means something different to them. But to go from Minnesota to Atlanta, to have that same level of commitment to change is powerful.

Over 40 million dollars was raised over the past couple of years here. What is maintaining that Russell family excellence in Atlanta mean to you?

Russell is one of the most prolific entrepreneurs the city ever produced. We’ve accelerated into the highest heights of development and real estate. We’re taking the spirit that’s already been in the foundation of this building, and refreshing it, renewing it for a new generation of dreamers and innovators and entrepreneurs, that can very likely become the next Herman Russell and have an incredible impact on the city.

What is next for RICE?

I have to give myself a tremendous amount of grace with that. You go from that starting with a zero budget. You throw in a global pandemic, I’d even say that at the birth of my daughter, who’s now 14 months old. I wanted to bring the best resources in the world under one roof. I want to create this space of deep belonging where Black companies, Black entrepreneurs, Black dreamers believe that it’s possible, they believe they belong. So be it another 20 million into the building or another 20 million in the programming. What it really boils down to is the access to opportunity and exposure.

Jasmine McClain contributed to this story.

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