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Salimata Bangoura, the founder of Yamacu, stands in front of a stand-up banner for her business.

Success Stories: Salimata Bangoura

"I’m helping many different women business owners with their crowdfunding campaign pages and helping them find success in the program."

This story was originally published by Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation, our partner for the Biz-M-Power crowdgranting program that offers small businesses in Massachusetts financial assistance with their acquisition, expansion, improvement or lease of a facility, purchase or lease of equipment, or with meeting other capital needs for the business.

Salimata Bangoura, the founder of Yamacu, a West African fusion beverage company known for their locally handcrafted ginger drinks, immigrated to the United States from Mali at the age of 14. What started as pushing carts full of her mother’s ginger drink recipe through the streets of the Bronx until it sold out, has grown into a business that continues to sell out at over 13 weekly farmer’s markets throughout New England, as she connects people to her culture alongside her team. After COVID regulations led to the shutdown of Yamacu’s first brick and mortar location in March of 2019, which offered both healthy, diverse food and drink, customers began reaching out because they couldn’t get the desired ginger drinks anywhere else. This began the business’s partnership with CommonWealth Kitchen, a non-profit food-business incubator in Dorchester. Demand continued to outpace their ability to provide at the farmer’s markets. “To get our hands on the right equipment would be a game changer. Sometimes we would sell out in one hour,” Salimata said. Salimata heard about the Biz-M-Power Crowdfunding Matching Grant Program through CommonWealth Kitchen, who was aware of Yamacu’s need to purchase juicing equipment. After launching her campaign with the help of the program’s crowdfunding platform coach from Patronicity, it took off. “I was shocked by how quickly we reached our goal,” Salimata said, as they closed out their $10,000 campaign goal with the support of 91 patrons and a total of $10,986 raised through community funding. Included in the 91 were family members, friends, loyal customers, and those she met along the way through business support programs. She was able to promote her campaign at an event she spoke at, and found the process to be “easy,” from getting MGCC approval to campaign launch. Salimata expressed how the campaign helped her discover her team and where each of their strengths lay. “We had to think about how to tell our story and what impact supporting this business makes.” Salimata found the crowdfunding experience to be something she recommends, “100%,” as it helped her raise funding for much needed equipment and brought her community of supporters together for a positive impact. “The results are unbelievable - now, I’m helping many different women business owners with their crowdfunding campaign pages and helping them find success in the program.” As Yamacu continues to grow, it is opened its new brick and mortar location at the Haley House Bakery Café at 12 Dade Street in Nubian Square in April 2022.