In 2005, Mr. Karim started Banneker Ventures, which today is a successful multi-million-dollar real estate development and general contracting firm. However, on the way to its current success there were many bumps along the road that made the journey a challenge and could have brought the company to an end. Examples of some of the many challenges he faced include: the difficulty of obtaining lines of credit; gaining a bonding program; applying for, being denied and re-applying for various contract vehicles and certifications; hiring and retaining qualified personnel; lacking expert advice in specific contracting and legal cases, etc.
Mr. Karim knows firsthand the challenges that are faced when starting a new company. Because of his experience, he wanted to start a non-profit organization that would help other small minority owned businesses specifically in the construction industry to navigate these challenges. His biggest priority for The Banneker Foundation was one that would invest in and establish world-class Centers for Entrepreneurship and Service in select cities throughout the United States. These centers would focus on supporting entrepreneurs by expanding their technical, human capital and financial capacities while investing in the communities in which these entrepreneurs work.
Through Banneker Ventures, Mr. Karim has also donated to numerous educational and religious charities and supported individuals in immediate crisis. Through the Banneker Foundation he wanted to formalize those giving efforts.
Board of Directors
Omar Karim, President Banneker Ventures, LLC
Rosallah Karim, General Counsel, Banneker Ventures, LLC
Sinclair Skinner, CEO, Bitmari Inc.
Ralph Smith, President, Global Solutions Consulting
Shay-La Romney obtained her Master of Education in Research Methodology from the University of Pittsburgh and her Bachelor of Science of Degree in Psychology from Howard University.
Ms. Romney started in the position of Executive Director in January 2017. She is responsible for overseeing the administration, programs and strategic plan of the organization, including fundraising, marketing, and community outreach. Prior to her current role, she served seven years as the Vice President of Operations for Banneker Ventures where she was responsible for leading all company operations, human resources, capture management and maximized growth and profitability. Her non-profit experience includes significant international experience having served two-years in Peace Corps Paraguay and one year in Peace Corps Dominican Republic. After her Peace Corps experience she worked for ChildFund International providing emergency relief work in devastated communities impacted by natural and man-made disasters and conducting staff trainings internationally for country programs in Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America.
Supporters of the 2017 Minority Small Business Construction Conference