Black Owned Business Accelerators for Business Success
Not every business owner needs to join an accelerator, but for some business owners it is a must. If you have a business that is a first, or one that disrupts an industry, joining an accelerator is integral. For lifestyle businesses such as retail, dining, & other industries, contacting a consulting agency such as BLKStreet would be the best route.
The most vigorous accelerators among the startup ecosystem only accept businesses that have made some traction so many black entrepreneurs have found success by contacting BLKStreet first, then joining an accelerator program. There are many specific black owned business accelerators, either founded by black entrepreneurs or targeting black entrepreneurs.
When You Should Join A Black Owned Business Accelerator
- You think you will need investment (venture capital, angel investors, etc.). – Not every business requires outside investment to startup. With a good business model, an entrepreneur can start and run a business by bootstrapping, using savings, crowdfunding, or borrowing from friends and family. This way, the investors and small business lenders will come to you. Accelerators connect participants with these investors and lenders. Many accelerators also award graduates with grants or other investment. Additionally, some accelerators require equity from participant businesses.
- You think your app or website idea is a business on its own. – Many aspiring and new entrepreneurs incorrectly believe their platform will be successful from advertising revenue alone. Accelerators provide great information on business models and guidance to ensure startup entrepreneurs have a business with a tested business model that is primed for success.
- You are seeking mentorship within your industry. – Accelerators are led by CEO’s and other executives that are there specifically to equip new entrepreneurs. In fact, many accelerators pair participants with industry mentors, in addition to course instructors. Mentors are great for startup entrepreneurs and provide knowledge, first-hand accounts, feedback, constructive criticism, and much more.
Black Owned Business Accelerators Specifically For Black Entrepreneurs
- Hillman Accelerator – Cincinnati, Ohio
Founded by a group of black entrepreneurs, including an ex-NFL player, the Hillman Accelerator invests $100,000 in participant companies in exchange for equity, also providing mentoring, entrepreneurship education, leadership assessments, social activities, & more. The 4-month program is committed to discovering & launching innovative ventures from minority & women founders.
More information: hill7.org
- New ME – Miami, Florida
Founded in Silicon Valley by a black woman, New ME seeks entrepreneurs that don’t fit the typical Silicon Valley mold for their accelerator, now located in Miami. This accelerator provides participants with information that has been proven to work, helping past program participants raise more than $25 million in funding.
More information: newme.in
- Bantunium Labs Accelerate – Atlanta, GA
Though Bantunium Labs prefers Accelerate program participants to be based in the Atlanta area, virtual sessions are also available. Participants benefit from mentoring, capital, & long term business assistance, in addition to the support system. The goal of the Accelerate program is for all graduates to have a business that has been launched & is ready for funding rounds.
More information: bantunium.com/accelerate/
- BIG – Atlanta, GA
Housed in an innovation center specifically geared towards the success of black & Latinx women entrepreneurs, the 26 week BIG program accepts female black & Latinx founders of tech enabled startups. This enables the program to provide women of color with a direct pathway to the tech industry. BIG teaches participants the various aspects of customer, product, & company development.
More information: digitalundivided.com/incubator
- City Startup Labs – Charlotte, NC
Specifically for black millennial men entrepreneurs, City Startup Labs’ Center of Excellence takes aspiring & early stage entrepreneurs through the research, planning, launch & operation of their own ventures. This accelerator focuses on identifying & cultivating the entrepreneurial mindset, planning & crafting an actionable business model, team-building and much more, in addition to providing a $20,000 investment.
More information: citystartuplabs.com
Check below for more black owned business accelerators & accelerators that aren’t necessarily black-owned, but are targeted to black entrepreneurs:
Ascend Capital Accelerator: http://wacif.org/ascend/
Power Moves USA: http://www.powermovesusa.org
Start Up Now: http://www.careersourcebroward.com/CareerServices/StartUpNow.aspx
Have you & your business gone through an accelerator program, whether it was one geared toward black entrepreneurs or not? Do you know of any others that we haven’t listed? Leave us a comment & share your experiences!