Introducing RECIPEoakcliff

Happy New Year!  Susu Incubator launches its first property development project January 2017!  Our labor for 2016 has extended our knowledge of all things construction permits, zoning, property tax, and City of Dallas inspections.   We look forward to sharing this knowledge with you in addition to our continued conversation and practice of Susu Economics, Cultural Business Incubation and our New Year’s baby #RECIPEoakcliff!


recipeoc-banner1-2RECIPE OAK CLIFF is a delicious food security business in South Oak Cliff, Dallas, Texas offering plant-based drinks and eats on a rotating menu of cultural dishes and featured chefs.  Check out the website for upcoming tastings, opening events, classes, vending opportunities and more!



Flashback Spring Forward: Susu Partners & Neighborhood Space


Spring is almost here and Susu has BIG NEWS blooming for this season!  A great start in the neighborhood thus far!

Susu has been working with so many great community partners this year and the fruits of the labor have been beautifully rewarding!  Here’s a look back at a short list of the partnerships we are thankful for:

Flashback 1:  This time last year Susu Incubator completed a season of PopUp Markets with a host of incredible local creative and cultural businesses.  We activated vacant spaces throughout Oak Cliff with our unique market style of hand crafted and brand vendors in cultural retail, education and literacy, health/wellness and vegan foods. This popup market model was an effort to prove the economic viability of our ‘low income’ neighborhood.

2015 marked the beginning of partnerships that pushed us forward toward the goal of property ownership and developing a healthy neighborhood business hub.  In January 2015, Susu joined the Small Scale Developers group led by Dallas developer Monte Anderson.  March 2015, Susu vendors gave a presentation to the developers group and answered the question: What would you do with 1000 SF?

The small business owners shared with the developers group their storefront dreams to house jewelry, apparel, home decor and culinary goods.  The vendors talked about the value of space to sell and to teach their craft to others, especially the youth.

Flashback 2: In late 2014, Susu participated in the event Dallas Faces Race (DFR), sponsored in part by the Embrey Family Foundation (EFF) as a forum to address racial equity.  This monumental event introduced Susu to the value of a business coach exemplified through a series of workshops led by Rha Goddess of Move of The Crowd  .  And, most importantly, the DFR sparked a dialogue between Susu and the Embrey Family Foundation about developing space in Susu’s target area of South Oak Cliff to launch a healthy business hub with an initial project focused on food and food security.


This partnership with the Embrey Family Foundation provided Susu with financial support and  technical assistance partnerships with The Real Estate Council Community Fund to access alternate means to traditional loans and capital to fund the initial development project.



Spring Forward: One of Susu’s key partnerships is working with our neighborhood association,’Vermont Village’, named by one of the residents and shared dreamer Mathis Perkins.   We have joined the forces of several of the neighborhood associations to form a ‘super neighborhood association’ called Cedar Haven to work in Vermont Village.  So far, we have planned a 4-part series of neighborhood events for the last Saturday of each month.  We started in January 2016 with a tree planting project in which close to 30 oak trees went in the ground down Vermont Avenue.  (Big shout out to Ryan Behring of Grow South Vista, the neighborhood leaders Mathis Perkins, Lester Houston, Jeff and Audrie Mills, Jan Taylor, Tisha Crear and Wana Smith)

Our second event in February brought over 100 volunteers and the Mayor to the neighborhood for a clean-up and to start the mural project.

We are on the move!  Join us this Saturday March 26 for more neighborhood clean-up and Part 2 of the mural.  And, stay tuned for our big spring market and resource event on April 30, 2016!


Susu is infinitely thankful to the local vendors that we have had the pleasure to popup market with!  Susu is thankful to the neighborhood and community partners for the working collaborations that are building our community stronger! Thank you EFF and TREC Community Fund!


It takes a village.



What is Susu Economics ?


<< Click on the image to view the Susu Economics Intro Video.

Learn a little about Susu Economics while listening to music from the Pan African Orchestra. Read about Susu’s many names and get some ideas for starting a susu circle. Pool your resources! Susu is a ‘small small’ way to make BIG moves. Fund your goals and aspirations. …Want to research more? Click the links below and check it out!

LINKS: Investment Clubs-Black Bank Initiative

ROSCA’s- What’s In A Name

Micro Finance- Credit Lending Models

Ghana Co-op Susu Collectors Association

Ujamaa -Tanzania and Nyerere

Susu Economics: The History of Pan-African (Black) Trade, Commerce, Money and Truth Part 1 (History of Pan-African Trade, Commerce, Money, and Wealth) (Pt. 1)

CBI Definition

‘…introduce yoself, represent yoself….

Defining CBI

The mission of the Cultural Business Incubator & Co-op, CBI, is to launch and support socially responsible business clusters in low-to-mid income neighborhoods that promote community development through supporting local ownership and practicing cooperative economics.  The Cultural Business Incubator and Co-Op is a platform to collectively develop business solutions that revitalize neighborhoods.   CBI’s goals are realized through modules that specifically develop youth entrepreneurship, apprentice programs, start-up and established businesses and community micro finance practices.  

So, what does all of this mean?  Here’s a quick reference guide defining key phrases in CBI’s mission:  


What is a business incubator? 

The idea of a business incubator is to provide resources (office space, training, networks,) that develop businesses.  CBI supports start-up companies and community members with workshops and training, space and equipment and accelerator programs.  CBI supports building the capacity of established businesses by facilitating expansion projects.  CBI also aims to facilitate community susu circles and other cooperative economics initiatives.

What is a co-op?

The co-op model is community working at its finest.  Co-ops allow a space for pooled resources, shared work and shared wealth.  Co-op’s can work a few different ways.  At its core, co-op members are also owners and profits are shared by the members instead of external investors.  Members of the co-op share resources, services and the work.  Members are the voice in business decisions.  CBI will assist in forming local co-ops as a vital part of the Cultural Business Hubs. This will include member and business co-op models.

What is a socially responsible business cluster or hub?

It means businesses with a vested interest in the health of the community in which it exists.  The current strips with the liquor store, pay day loan, food chain, high priced / low quality grocery store is not a socially responsible hub.  A model such as a locally owned juice bar, cultural retail shop, natural hair salon, food co-op and resource center is the hub model option that CBI aims to create.  CBI is committed to nurturing businesses that in turn nurture the community.

Why are socially responsible business clusters important in the hood?

One: low income neighborhoods need and deserve healthy options and settings.  We like smoothies, affordable organic produce and safe places to gather.  Can we take that row of abandoned buildings and put those needs into business there?

Two: low income neighborhoods can build a stronger economic foundation that improves community conditions and positions the people of the neighborhood to assist similar communities to do the same.  This changes ‘underserved’ communities to ‘self-served’ community networks.

Three: businesses clusters or hubs create community ‘strongholds’ or zones of goodness in which the businesses can support each other and serve the neighborhood in a ‘sweet spot’ or active example of the benefits of collective work and responsibility- Ujima.

What do you mean ‘cultural’ business?

The creative and cultural industry… It is our niche.

“…those industries which have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent and which have a potential for wealth and job creation.” If you want to read more about the global dialogue on creative and cultural industry,you will enjoy exploring the work and research from this link: Creative Cities.

The Susu Cultural Business incubator focuses on the following sectors:  Cultural Retail, Crafts, Design(graphic, fashion, interior, landscape), Gastronomy/Ethnic Food/Health Food, Health & Wellness, Performing and Visual Arts, Cultural Aesthetics.   


Questions? Want to get involved?

Leave a comment below or email:

Launching A Launch Pad

Greetings! Welcome to SusuEco blog post!


I am Tisha Crear and I will be posting about the journey of launching projects through the Cultural Business Incubator & Co-op (CBI).  CBI is a community development platform to collectively cultivate business solutions that address economic disparity and poor quality of life in low to mid income neighborhoods.  The mission of CBI is to launch and support socially responsible business hubs in low to mid income neighborhoods that promote community development through local ownership and cooperative economics.

I’m talking building better business in the hood baby!


If we wonder where the jobs are, there is plenty of work to be done in our neighborhoods.  When one reads: “low to mid income neighborhood” What images come to mind? What types of businesses do you think of?  The corner store, liquor store, gas station combo? or the check cashing, pawn shop, dollar store, car wash model? or the beauty supply, chicken chain, tobacco shop, club/bar cluster?

Now, don’t get me wrong, there are some good businesses in our neighborhoods and i’m not knocking the Ma and Paw’s.  However, the current condition of business and access to quality is lacking tremendously. And there is plenty of suffering because of it…

Look at the woes that come with the businesses listed above. Many of our neighborhoods are considered food deserts (Check this food desert locator) meaning there is a shortage of access to fresh food.  That’s not good. One does not need a study to understand the relationship between fresh food access  and diet-related diseases  like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Many can just look at our family members or the child eating hot chips from the local store for breakfast.  And, not only our physical health but, our fiscal health? The ‘Pay Day Loan’ and ‘Title Loan’ option is a money trap!  We would do much better forming susu circles and practicing ujamaa or cooperative economics.  (Thus, the subtitle for this blog susu, ujamaa and nem.  I will post more on these old African systems of collectively building wealth.)


So i know we can create better businesses in our neighborhoods.  I know that these businesses can be quality.  I know that if we owned more of our neighborhood businesses then we could knock a dent in a few severe issues like employment and access to healthy options. The idea is not at all new.   And it is true that there have been systematic events set in place to derail the path to economic participation and stability for the Black and African community

read about Black Wall Street

In a period spanning fewer than 12 hours, a once thriving 36-black business district in northern Tulsa lay smoldering-A model community destroyed, and a major Africa-American economic movement resoundingly defused. 


Here, we will discuss how the Cultural Business Incubator and Co-op will test America in this era of Obama and green thinking and social entrepreneurship. History tells us that there are surely obstacles waiting.  With that being said, there is no choice other than to practice

Kuumba: Do all that we can, in the way that we can, to leave it better than we found it. 

Looking forward to sharing this journey with you!

– Tea