Shortly after bringing his incubator program under the umbrella of a new nonprofit, the founders of the Jackson Ward Collective are launching another new black-owned small business assistance program.
Collective’s Community Business Academy accelerator program is set to launch in September with its first class. The program aims to teach black business owners or aspiring black business owners the basics of running their own show with training on topics such as marketing, financing, and bookkeeping.
“It’s a 12-week program that fills the programming gap to help people understand what it really takes to run a business. This is something that Ecosystem Programming doesn’t cover in great detail. It does,” said co-founder Rashida Creighton.
The business accelerator comes as a new offering from the JWC Foundation, a local nonprofit founded in April by Creighton, Melody Short, and Kelly Lemon, to connect black business owners with professional resources. The nonprofit’s abbreviation is “Jackson Ward Collective,” which is also the name of a trio business incubator that was founded in 2020 and now serves as an arm of the newly formed nonprofit.
Creighton said the Community Business Academy is aimed at black owners of so-called “main street businesses,” which he defined as retail stores, hospitality businesses, professional services and personal services, but in any industry in the Black Entrepreneur Program. can participate.
According to a foundation news release, program fees will be charged on a sliding scale, not exceeding $250 per participant, which the JWC Foundation has been able to do through its sponsorships from Altira, Capital One and Dominion Energy. The plan is that the annual event should not have more than 20 participants at a time.
The program curriculum is licensed by the JWC Foundation from New Jersey-based Rising Tide Capital, a business development nonprofit. The program consists of weekly, individual sessions that will be held at the 1717 Innovation Center in Shockoe Bottom.
Creighton said they were ready to develop an in-house program after identifying the need, but were open to the idea of licensing the existing curriculum as it fit the JWC Foundation’s ethos.
“For our collective piece of programming, we consider ourselves a hub. If there is something that is proven, that is working, that is effective, then instead of reinventing the wheel we will have a partnership, Creighton said.
Short said his group is connected to Rising Tide through the North Carolina nonprofit in its network. It took almost two years of negotiations before the course was licensed.
“We quickly identified the difference,” Short said. “They have partners across the country and they have a history of success.”
The foundation declined to share how much it paid to license the Rising Tide playbook.
Short said the foundation is the only organization in the Richmond area to license the Rising Tide curriculum. The foundation plans to run the program twice a year, starting in September and again in March.
The JWC Foundation plans to hold a series of information sessions about the accelerator program on June 28, June 30 and July 14.
The foundation was created in response to feedback from potential donors and opens the door to an expanding pool of funders to help power the foundation’s growing list of activities.
“Many funders in this area wanted to provide capital support, but in order to do so, some organizations could not proceed with support through our original model, in which we had a financial agent. c) needs to be 3,” said Short, who is the foundation’s director of programs.
Creighton is the executive director of the nonprofit. Lemon is on the board of the nonprofit. The foundation is based in the Gathering Coworking Office in the Arts District.
In addition to the Jackson Ward Collective Incubator and the upcoming Accelerator program, the foundation recently unveiled Black Street, the brand name for the JWC Foundation’s public-facing program programming aimed at black entrepreneurs.
The foundation plans to hold the inaugural Black Street Conference in collaboration with Virginia in early August. The conference will feature panel discussions and breakout sessions aimed at helping entrepreneurs learn how to find investors, how to do succession planning and other topics.
The JWC Foundation’s upcoming accelerator program comes amid a recent wave of new business development programs in Richmond.
Activation Capital recently completed its pilot startup development program aimed at minority entrepreneurs. The Entrepreneurship Development Group announced earlier this month that it and pilot partner Opportunity Hub invested $50,000 in local shoe renewal marketplace Sudy Soles, winning a pitch contest that kicked off the program.
Bon Secours has expanded its decade-old Supporting East End Entrepreneurship Development program to include Manchester-based businesses.