Black Woman
Economic Development

IFEL Program Will Support Women of Color Entrepreneurs

The Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership (IFEL) announced the IFEL Adopt-A-Business program to address the challenges faced by Women of Color entrepreneurs in accessing financial capital.

“We are ready to address the access to capital challenge looking through a different lens. The IFEL community of supporters has an extraordinary network of talent and resources that if properly channeled can help propel historically under-resourced entrepreneurs to new heights,” says Jill Johnson, IFEL Co-Founder and CEO. “This is a movement to change the way we think about building the capacity of Women of Color Entrepreneurs to grow and scale given limited access to capital.”

The IFEL Adopt-A-Business Program will engage business professionals, service providers and corporate employees as volunteers to help Women of Color entrepreneurs, with high-growth or scalable businesses, fill knowledge and capacity gaps, and create connections that open doors to opportunity. With growth and scale, these businesses will have a broader range of options for accessing financial capital.

“Access to capital is a legacy challenge with roots deep in our American history,” explains Johnson. “While there have been innovative capital solutions in recent years, capital constraint remains a defining problem for the majority of Women of Color entrepreneurs. It’s time we take a new approach to addressing this problem.”

Women of Color are starting businesses at higher rates than anyone else; yet they receive less capital, have fewer successful exits, produce less revenue and fewer jobs, and provide less income for owners. Access to both start-up and growth capital continues to be a fundamental barrier to the growth of Women of Color owned businesses. According to the 2017 State of Women-Owned Business Report Commissioned by American Express, if revenues generated by minority women-owned firms matched those currently generated by other women-owned businesses, they would add $1.1 trillion in revenues and 3.8 million new jobs to the U.S. economy.

The IFEL Adopt-A-Business Program is being launched in conjunction with a broader initiative to help Women of Color entrepreneurs build capacity and scale. The initiative, Women of Color Connecting, will hold a convening summit January 31 – February 1, 2019 at the Newark Liberty International Airport Marriott Hotel.

Up to ten (10) entrepreneurs will be selected for the Success Circles Cohort to share in $1 million worth of capacity building support resources. Preference will be given to Women of Color entrepreneurs who are in business for at least five years and have revenues exceeding $100,000. The deadline for application is January 3, 2019.

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