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The Entrepreneurial Roots of Berry Gordy and How He Made and Saved Money

Lessons in Self Financing From the Family Who Started Motown

Berry Gordy

Berry Gordy is known for Motown Records and business sense. We admire him—and his family—for both.  

He started his first record label, Tamla, with an $800 family loan. Rather than rely on outside help for loans, his family set up their own finance system, Ber-Berry Co-operative.  

Each family member made a monthly contribution of $10 to the fund, and loans were distributed by family vote.  

Gordy’s seed money came with a 6% interest rate and a timeline—and, according to Ron Lieber for the NyTimes, a “promissory note that included a scribbled addendum requiring him to turn over future royalties if he couldn’t make the payment within a year.” 


Additional Reading:

Borrowing From Your Family, by Design

Motown: The Sound That Changed America