Community Conversation with Lanre Ajakaiye

Lanre Ajakaiye is president and CEO of 25 Bough Street Development. He is also the first person in Rhode Island to do a Regulation CF crowdfunding campaign, a fundraising strategy made possible by the JOBS Act of 2012 which allows non-accredited investors to contribute. 

“It’s a pathway for unlocking the community and the network, and your community and your zealous advocates,” said Lanre about Regulation CF.

25 Bough is a 22,000 square feet commercial building that takes up a corner city block in the Olneyville neighborhood of Providence. Lanre’s vision is to host a Futures Hub to provide youth grades 3 through high school with financial literacy, career awareness, and more. Nonprofit partners will locate in the building, which will also house a cultural experience museum and event space. Lanre is in discussions to bring a local bank to 25 Bough; there’s currently no locally-owned financial institution within the neighborhood. 

A Rhode Island native born to parents who immigrated to Providence from Nigeria, he purchased this building a mile from where he grew up. Within just a few months, Lanre raised $206,000 from “188 investors from the community who want to see this come to fruition.” As he pointed out, the crowdfunding campaign gave people an outlet to express their support for his vision. 

“I’m way past community engagement,” said Lanre, “and I’m all about community activation.”