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Here's How Monica Wheat Will Lead Techstars' Equitech Accelerator

Techstars tapped Detroit entrepreneurial leader Monica Wheat to lead its Equitech Accelerator as managing director (MD). Wheat is the co-founder and executive director of Venture Catalysts, a nonprofit ecosystem development group focusing on programming, funding, strategy and business development for entrepreneurs. Since its inception in 2016, the nonprofit has been putting on large-scale events and strategic programs. Most notably, Venture Catalysts helped Backstage Capital launch their global accelerator program in Detroit, Los Angeles, and London. Wheat told AfroTech it’s been a challenge running an events nonprofit during the pandemic. While she was grateful for all the new business rolling in, Wheat said her team did get overwhelmed. “We doubled and tripled down on our deal flow and connections and did strategy sessions and programming throughout 2020 and 2021,” Wheat said. “We are mostly a volunteer organization and I must hype the praises for my team who did so much to help...

Michelai Graham

Jul 31, 2021

John Legend is Making Sure Those With Criminal Backgrounds Have Job Opportunities

In 2017, John Legend’s FreeAmerica program partnered with Unlocked Futures to develop a 14-month accelerator program centered around formerly incarcerated social entrepreneurs, according to Forbes. Legend announced the second cohort of participants for the program that also advocates for employers to be more open-minded in their hiring process and include job seekers who have a criminal background. “If we want the full human potential that is contained in our communities to be maximized, we need to include formerly incarcerated people in conversations around hiring, and how we develop the workforce,” Legend said, according to Forbes. “These folks are valuable and they’re worth reintegrating into our society.” Legend’s vision is to end mass incarceration and give a voice to those negatively affected by America’s criminal justice system, according to the FreeAmerica site. Its partnership with Unlocked Futures provides participants with coaching on leadership skills, including board...

Devin Crudup

Nov 19, 2019

Incubators vs. Accelerators for Startups: What’s the Difference?

Incubators and accelerators both offer resources for startups and small businesses to successfully develop and grow. Although the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, incubators and accelerators provide different services and benefits. And not all startup programs can be classified as either, said Ian Hathaway, research director at the Center for American Entrepreneurship. “There is a lot of noise in the early-stage business support market — a lot of different models and inconsistency in terminology,” Hathaway said. Incubators and accelerators both provide mentorship, technical assistance and, in some cases, funding opportunities. Incubators typically offer long-term support (possibly spanning several years), and are available to a broad range of companies. On the other hand, accelerators are generally short-term, industry-specific programs for startups. Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or...

Lending Tree

Sep 13, 2019

Morgan Stanley Announces Its New Multicultural Innovation Lab Cohort Members

Across industries, a lack of funding for women or minority-led startups seems to be a common problem. For example, Project Diane found that Black women founders in tech are consistently underfunded. Investment bank Morgan Stanley aims to combat funding inequity through its Multicultural Innovation Lab. The accelerator program is designed to help women and minority-led companies in the post-seed to Series B funding rounds. On Monday, Morgan Stanley announced the ten startups selected as apart of the Multicultural Innovation Lab’s third cohort. Some of the startups selected include LookLive, SmartGurlz , and Jenzy. It’s a big deal for businesses to be selected, because they receive access to a list of Morgan Stanley resources and networks. Morgan Stanley also invests into each cohort member. In a press release, Co-Head of the Multicultural Innovation Lab Alice Vilma said: “There is a compelling business case for investing in startups led by women and multicultural founders, yet, as...

Arriana McLymore

Apr 30, 2019

Techstars And Target Are Launching a Germany/US Based Accelerator for Retail Startups

Target Retail Accelerator and Techstars are teaming up for another year to help startup companies in retail. The program is usually US based, but this year it’s going international. Target will be working with METRO, a Germany-based wholesale company, to conduct a 14-week program for founders abroad. Each startup in the program receives $120,000 and will split time between Germany and Minneapolis. Target and METRO are sharing the cost of the investments for the companies. The first three weeks of the program will take place in Berlin and the following  three weeks will be in Minneapolis. Founders can choose which location to work from for the remaining weeks of the accelerator. The program is from May until August and application are due February 24. For more on how to apply check out the application here.  

Arriana McLymore

Feb 6, 2019

This San Diego Accelerator Is Looking For Diverse Founders

A new startup accelerator in San Diego is looking for ten diverse tech founders to join its new program. The accelerator will house entrepreneurs in a modern coworking space called Connect All,  where participants will have access to six months of free office space, workshops, and fundraising help. “We saw a need to equalize the economic opportunities across all of San Diego,” said Reginald Jones, the CEO, and president of the Jacobs Center in a statement. Connect All will focus on tech and science-based companies with the potential to quickly scale. “We’re not necessarily looking for solo entrepreneurs or mom and pop small businesses,” said Connect All’s president and CEO Greg McKee in a press release. For companies that aren’t accepted into the accelerator or don’t meet the qualifications, there is access to free or discounted business courses at the incubator. The program is made possible by a $2.5 million grant secured by the city of San Diego. Connect All is now accepting...

Jenna Chambers

Dec 28, 2018

Dark and Lovely Teams Up with She leads Africa For Accelerator Focused On Beauty Startups

The Dark and Lovely/ She leads Africa Beauty Accelerator has applications open for its 2018 cohort. She leads Africa is an online community working to assist women entrepreneurs through events, programs and content. The 10-week entrepreneurship development program selects early-stage companies in the beauty industry and provides access to business coaches and other mentors for the selected companies. Entrepreneurs will also receive intense training in business strategy, branding, growth marketing and finance, and will have the chance to network with beauty influencers. The accelerator is looking for businesses across media, technology, retail and more. Businesses looking to apply must be based in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria or South Africa and must also have at least one female founder. Companies that have received more than $50,000 in funding or have been in business for more than three years are not eligible to apply. Last year’s cohort included companies like FreshMe, a...

Arriana McLymore

Sep 12, 2018

Backstage Capital Launches Four-City Accelerator To Back Diverse Startups

Backstage Capital is no stranger to backing minority companies and supporting great missions — earlier this year we talked to founder Arlan Hamilton after her company announced a $36 million fund focused on investing in black women founders . Now they are turning their attention to accelerators. In Los Angeles, London, Philadelphia and a fourth city (which will be finalized by public vote), Backstage Capital will launch accelerators to uplift companies led by underrepresented founders. The companies chosen (they expect about six per city in the first go-round) will be offered $100,000 for 5% equity in the company. Companies will receive mentorship, education, perks from corporate partners and work space. They will also receive access to Microsoft and MailChimp products. Backstage Capital isn’t your typical accelerator program. Beyond providing opportunities for underrepresented founders, Hamilton said that she expects their approach to Demo Day (a time for startups to show off their...

Christine Cauthen

Sep 11, 2018

Snap Inc. launches 'Yellow,' an accelerator program for media startups

This year, the newly branded Snap Inc. released new versions of their Spectacles and a Snap Map to help you find your friends and events going on around the globe. But their most exciting announcement comes in the form of Yellow, the company’s startup accelerator that aims to uplift people with visions for what mobile storytelling can be. Snap announced that each year they will choose individuals and teams to join their three-month program starting on September 10 where participants will have access to the tools needed to grow their businesses and put their ideas to work. Both established and aspiring storytellers with big ideas should apply to the accelerator. A total of 10 applicants will be accepted in the first go-around of the accelerator. The program will offer $150,000 for equity on “founder-friendly terms,” commercial support and partnerships, mentorship from industry veterans, networking events with other creatives and media luminaries and a creative office space in Venice,...

Christine Cauthen

May 30, 2018