LegacyShift, a Connecticut-based mentorship and coaching tech platform, has entered into a partnership with CTNext to support startups and entrepreneurs in the state of Connecticut.

Partnership With CTNext

CTNext is a state agency responsible for fostering the growth of startups and businesses.

According to a press release shared exclusively with AfroTech, the alliance was birthed out of a shared mission to guide underrepresented members toward a promising future through resources that include mentorship and coaching.

What’s more, there will be a 12-month pilot program, funded by CTNext, to benefit local accelerators and incubators.

“This partnership indicates a critical shift at CTNext that emphasizes the importance of supporting Black and Brown entrepreneurs in Connecticut,” said Onyeka Obiocha, Executive Director at CTNext, in a statement provided to AfroTech. “Not only are we excited about the opportunity to help improve access to mentoring and coaching in our home state with the support of LegacyShift’s platform. But even more so, we’re passionate about generating stronger relationships and resources to help propel local Black and Brown-founded companies. This initiative is one of many to come this year and the hope is that with the greater support of our local ecosystem – the state of Connecticut will be able to showcase the great success that is possible when there is robust support for Black and Brown founders.”

The partnership marks a significant milestone for LegacyShift founder and CEO Sandra Appiah. The resources being provided through the platform reflect what she wasn’t afforded while working in corporate America. She desired to climb the corporate ladder and worked rigorously. However, it left her feeling “invisible.”

“When I started my job, I worked really hard and was hungry to learn, grow, and advance quickly,” Appiah said in an email interview with us. “But, hard work alone was not enough to get me noticed. I felt completely invisible. I was alone, didn’t know how to network, and had no way to find mentors or coaches, particularly [those] who looked like me to help me navigate my unique challenges. So, after 12 months, I left my job and turned my back on corporate America. I just couldn’t see a pathway there for my growth and success.”

A decade after her brave decision, Appiah believes the job market is still missing a sense of community. In fact, she argues remote work has only made it more difficult to fulfill one’s desires to network organically, become educated by mentors, and gain the exposure necessary to grow. When you add on the layer of being a minority, these pillars become even less accessible.

“For most workers, gone are the days when they could run into a senior leader in the work cafeteria or the CEO in the elevator, strike up a conversation, and get a lunch or dinner invitation that could set their career on a completely different path. Sadly, underrepresented groups are the ones who tend to be most impacted because they don’t have a traditional network. And let’s be honest, DEI efforts are failing these groups, particularly Black and Brown professionals,” she explained.

Appiah’s sentiments prove why platforms like LegacyShift — created alongside co-founder Isaac Babu-Boateng — are pivotal.

The platform is designed to connect individuals with the right members within their organizations, so they can be equipped with training, mentorship, and career support. This is accomplished through smart-matching, scheduling, conferencing, and video courses, which aim to reshape organizations for the better.

Additionally, LegacyShift’s efforts are now widened through their partnership with CTNext

“Through this partnership, CTNext aims to demonstrate how this innovative tool can help reduce the barriers to mentorship and coaching for entrepreneurs, which is a particularly pronounced need for entrepreneurs from underrepresented communities. As we build our insights with this initial effort, we’ll look to generate greater engagement and ultimately buy in from other funders – public or private – to continue to invest in this endeavor and further this work,” Obiocha told AfroTech.