Venture Noire — a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting Black and minority entrepreneurs — has just announced that its received a multi-year grant from the Walton Family Foundation for the second year in a row, totaling to $1.3 million. 

According to a press release, the organization will now be using funds from the grant to power the launch of “In The Black” — a new eight-week cohort program that aims to advance the overall health of Black-owned businesses across consumer technology, healthcare and fintech.

In The Black will also be looking to tackle the issue of income inequality through enhanced minority workforce creation and development in an effort to close the racial wealth gap in America.

In addition to offering courses within the new program, In The Black will host a showcase for participants to showcase their business ideas to industry leaders and investors in Northwest Arkansas.

Moreover, a press release reports that Venture Noire also plans to launch a series of educational networking events as well as a podcast through its Cafe Noire program that’s creating a space for aspiring entrepreneurs to explore the world of business.

“Venture Noire is making significant strides in advancing inclusive entrepreneurship in Northwest Arkansas,” Yee Lin Lai — program officer with the Walton Family Foundation — shared in a statement. “Through innovative programming, the organization will support local Black-owned businesses and draw minority talent to the region.”

A huge issue facing many Black businesses and entrepreneurs today is a lack of access to venture capital investment — a problem that some corporate funds are aiming to resolve.

However, the process of securing those investments takes too much time and requires attention that’s taken off of other core business areas such as operations and growth. This is why Venture Noire’s In The Black is stepping in to offer courses to help educate Black entrepreneurs on how to improve the status of their businesses.

“I see a lot of entrepreneurs lose confidence when they’re not able to pull in millions of dollars in VC investment like we constantly see of some startups in the news. Seeing this pains me because too many entrepreneurs believe that VC capital is the only way to be successful, or to prove that your business is successful,” Venture Noire founder Keenan Beasley shared in a statement.

“It’s my goal to teach aspiring entrepreneurs that there are other, often more attainable ways to scale a business and I hope that by doing so we will create healthier and longer lasting Black-owned businesses. I am extremely grateful to the Walton Family Foundation for continuing their belief in Venture Noire and the change we’re looking to create,” he added.

As far as future plans go, Venture Noire hopes to create an Entrepreneur Village summit series where both current and future business leaders will be able to connect and network through immersive experiences while also sharpening their business tactics.

Venture Noire is now recruiting qualified entrepreneurs across the country to join In The Black’s inaugural program. Candidates interested in applying can do so here. 

For more information about Venture Noire, visit its website.