Entrepreneur Profile: Rashaun Williams of The Kemet Institute

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend an event hosted by Villanova’s Black Cultural Society.  The guest speaker for the event was an entrepreneur by the name of Rashaun Williams.  Rashaun was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the United States.  From an early age, Rashaun was determined to not become a product of his environment, but instead he was hungry for success.  He worked diligently throughout his high school years and he was awarded a full scholarship to Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia.  During his time at Morehouse, Rashaun was a leader both in and outside of the classroom.  He took his academics extremely seriously because he understood that he would be the first member of his family to graduate and attend college.  With that being said, Rashaun had to remain focused and not allow the exuberant, Atlanta atmosphere to impede his goals. 

Rashaun eventually graduated from Morehouse College with Summa Cum Laude honors and he began his career on Wall Street, where he worked for Goldman Sachs.  While at Goldman, Rashaun worked as a Fixed Income Analyst and he also conducted sales/trading tasks.  He spent a few years making an impact, networking, and learning how to effectively run a business while at the firm.  Following his time on Wall Street, Rashaun landed leadership positions with Wells Fargo and Deustche Bank.  He became a director and vice president at both of these firms at the age of 26.  Rashaun was wise beyond his years and he had an incredible work ethic that allowed him to thrive in these roles.

Most individuals would have been perfectly satisfied with executive roles at two prestigious banks, but Rashaun wanted more.  This resulted in him founding The Kemet Institute, which creates workshops to educate low income communities about financial literacy and entrepreneurship.  Rashaun’s organization has done an incredible job giving back to the community and spreading knowledge to help uplift those who are less fortunate.  In addition, Rashaun is currently a Managing Partner at VCAP Investment Group and General Partner of Queensbridge Venture Partners.  Both of these firms invest capital into early stage ventures, conduct advisory services, and investment banking capabilities for their clients.  As a result, these opportunities have allowed Rashaun to invest and become a part of a variety of ventures to help change the world in a positive fashion.

Life can be difficult no matter where one comes from, but Rashaun’s story embodies how important it is to embrace and chase dreams.  He didn’t allow drugs, gang violence, and other negative factors to sway him from his long-term goals.  The will to win, determination, and courage are three aspects that stood out to me when I initially heard Rashaun’s story.  As a result, his accomplishments are motivation to continue to strive for excellence no matter the circumstances.