After attending Florida A&M University for four years, Tunji Fadiora decided to drop out to launch Creative Culture Media in Jacksonville, FL.
While working to provide support for small businesses, Fadiora was compelled to enhance his efforts to help entrepreneurs. Designed to cater to Black and brown founders, Elev8 Ventures was launched in 2018. The entrepreneurial community is committed to providing substantial resources to spur development for minority founders. Fadiora wanted to ensure individuals had access to competitive programs not contingent upon their economic status or geographical location.
“We are evening the playing field. Resources are very accessible to certain groups of people in certain economic groups but Black and brown founders, people who look like us, are not used to having resources,” Fadiora told AfroTech. “So, we want to focus on the people who need these services more.”
The tech incubator encourages “high growth potential startups” to apply for the fully remote BUILDBOLD Pre accelerator program. The tech incubator partners with HubSpot to provide instruction-led workshops, capital relief, pitch feedback, mentorship and consultations. The program will match corresponding startups to other tech ecosystems for expertise and support.
According to Fadiora, startups have a six-month evaluation period broken into two periods reserved for workshops and follow-ups. Upon considering marketing ideas and market validation, select startups are chosen for the incubator period to evaluate company growth. Success stories for the tech incubator include Be An Ally, Mumda and Loop You In.
When Loop You In founder Frank Adamo joined the incubator cohort in 2020, the startup was still working on a prototype. The company gathers contextual data points to determine customer needs. Adamo credits their success and beta clients to the benefits received within the BUILDBOLD program.
“They were essential in advising me through the process and helping me identify what our company needed to do to be successful,” Adamo said.
Elev8 also provides resources for startups to propel their businesses including a three-day event providing networking opportunities for attendees.
Elev8 will partner with TechStar to offer a weekend dedicating 54 hours of tools and approaches to elevate business practices. Attendees will have an opportunity to work collectively on an idea and pitch to judges who will select a winner. The event is presented by Google for Startups and will begin on Nov. 12.
Support For Startups
Currently, the company is already making moves to provide more resources for its startups. It has hopes of acquiring a 30,000-square-foot building in Florida for the company and startups to reside in conjunction by early next year.
To provide direct financial support for Black and brown founders, the company also received its 501(c)(3) status in January for their non-profit Elev8Labs.
“With the non-profit, we will be able to help startups with a focus on creating capital resources primarily for Black and brown founders to help grow their companies,” Tunji said.