Virginia Minority Cannabis Coalition Launches Bootcamp for Entrepreneurial Hopefuls Nations Birthplace OutBuro lgbt professional entreprenuer networking online community gay lesbian queer

Virginia Minority Cannabis Coalition Launches Bootcamp for Entrepreneurial Hopefuls in the Nation’s Birthplace

Training to Prepare Those Most Impacted by Cannabis Prohibition Pursue Opportunities in the Newest Industry Coming to Virginia

RICHMOND, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#BIPOCVirginia Minority Cannabis Coalition (VMCC), a Virginia-based nonprofit organization that empowers Black and Brown communities to become shareholders in the cannabis industry, has opened applications for its virtual ‘Fall 2021 Cannabis Entrepreneur Boot Camp.’ The four-week boot camp will start on Saturday, November 6, 2021, and provides entrepreneurs an accelerated leg-up in what will be one of the newest and most exciting industries in Virginia.

“The cannabis industry has made a lot of promises of righting the wrongs of past for communities of color, and with this boot camp, we are helping ensure those promises come to fruition,” said VMCC Founder Paul McLean. “VMCC is made up of small business owners in Virginia who want to see people, families, and communities of color create generational wealth with cannabis. We think we can help entrepreneurs turn their ideas and dreams into real cannabis businesses that can create positive change in their communities.”

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The boot camp provides:

  • a step-by-step playbook to create a successful business plan,
  • connections to help run your business,
  • support to finance your new business, and most importantly
  • a community support network of like-minded people.

The boot camp is meant for someone who:

  • has been impacted by a cannabis arrest or conviction,
  • is directly related to someone who has had cannabis-related justice involvement,
  • has spent 3 of the last 5 years in an area with high unemployment levels, low-income levels, and/or high poverty,
  • has graduated from a historically black college or university (HBCU) located in the Commonwealth,
  • has been in the legacy market and wants a legal business, or
  • wants to start their own business.

Applications can be submitted on a rolling basis at Fall 2021 Cannabis Entrepreneur Boot Camp.

About Virginia Minority Cannabis Coalition (VMCC)

The Virginia Minority Cannabis Coalition (VMCC), headquartered in Newport News, is a pioneering 501(c)4 nonprofit organization founded in 2021 that empowers Black and Brown communities to become shareholders in the cannabis industry. The company promotes economic empowerment through equitable ownership, employment, and purposeful reallocation of tax revenue in all sectors of Virginia’s regulated cannabis industry. The Virginia Minority Cannabis Coalition offers cannabis industry educational boot camps for entrepreneurs most impacted by the war on drugs. For more information, visit


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Influencer Marketing Leader, Captiv8, Aims to Help Diversify Industry by Launching DEI Initiatives Including Grant Which Offers Pro-Bono Services to BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ Small Businesses

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 30, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Today, leading influencer marketing company, Captiv8, is announcing its public pledge to help Cr8 Change through programs such as a grant for minority-owned SMBs as well as mindful product updates with the goal of taking concrete, small steps to help lead greater DEI momentum and progress within the influencer marketing industry.

Influence Change Grant: applications are now open for Captiv8’s inaugural Influence Change Grant, which is designed to be a twice-yearly SaaS grant to support BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ owned small- to mid-sized businesses who are positively impacting their communities. Those selected will be provided free access to Captiv8’s SaaS influencer marketing platform, including discovery, workflow, intelligence, insights and measurement capabilities, as well as dedicated hours for strategic consulting with a team of in-house experts. In order to qualify, applicants must also meet the following criteria: be located in the United States, be non-for-profit or be a for-profit business with less than $10 million in annual revenue. The first deadline to submit is October 29, 2021, with the first recipients to be announced in December of this year. Captiv8 is currently dedicating over a half of a million dollars of value to this program to help support 10 companies in 2022.

Mindful Product Mapping: Captiv8 is also building features directly into its platform to encourage creator representation through expanded gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation identification options. This will allow creators to self-identify in the most representative manner, and allow brands to partner with creators to diversify initiatives.

“The last few years have made it apparent that there is a need now more than ever for a culturally diverse and representative landscape in the influencer marketing industry. We know this change cannot happen overnight, but we want to make sure we’re dedicating ourselves to taking the right steps to ensure we’re making a positive impact for both creators, and the brands we work with,” said Krishna Subramanian, CEO, Captiv8. “Ultimately, we know that small steps lead to significant progress over time. As a minority-owned company ourselves, we have built our own foundation upon the diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, genders and excellence of our employees, and we want to help lay a similar, inclusive, foundation in others.”

Captiv8, itself, is a minority-owned company, with nearly 70 percent of the team identifying as BIPOC. Diversity extends to the highest levels, with 1 in 2 of its leadership team also identifying as BIPOC.

Those interested in learning more or applying for the Influence Change grant can visit here.

About Captiv8:
Captiv8 is a full service influencer marketing solution that redefines end-to-end, inspiring you to think bigger, enabling you to plan smarter and empowering you to execute better. Through our intuitive workflow, brands can uncover actionable insights on trends, discover and vet influencers, seamlessly activate campaigns at scale, amplify branded content across the digital ecosystem, and prove business impact through our measurement dashboard. Our platform gives you the tools you need to build relationships and effective content, while our teams lend experiences and strategic services to steer you clear of common influencer marketing pitfalls.

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Western Union Powers Black Education and Business Opportunities

Awards Scholarships to College Students in the U.S.; Funds Expert Help for Black, Female-Owned Businesses

DENVER–(BUSINESS WIRE)–As communities around the nation prepare to celebrate the Juneteenth holiday, Western Union (NYSE: WU), in partnership with the Western Union Foundation, announced two new initiatives aimed at supporting future and current business leaders from the Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) community. Project Finish Line, an extension of the Foundation’s WU Scholars program, funds scholarships to BIPOC students working to complete their higher education, many of whom are attending historically black colleges and universities in the United States. Additionally, the Foundation took part in helping to fund business and leadership development support for Black, female-owned businesses through the Foundation for Black Entrepreneurship’s program, Sistahbiz. Both initiatives were created in partnership with Western Union’s Black Advisory Council, which drives access, progress, and opportunity within the Black community inside and outside of Western Union.

“Social exclusion, particularly concerning Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) in the United States, remains among one of the largest and most troubling problems for economic mobility1,” said Elizabeth Roscoe, Executive Director, The Western Union Foundation. “Our Foundation works with partners around the world to address these inequalities as part of a broader mission to prepare and connect young people to viable economic opportunities. We are proud to help enable opportunity for the BIPOC community as they carve out their unique and essential roles in today’s economy.”

According to the U.S. Department of Education2, 60% of Black students who enter college do not finish their degree program. Those who do carry on average $7,400 more in student loan debt than white graduates when they leave school.

Project Finish Line helps address barriers that may prevent BIPOC and other minority students from completing their degree programs. In addition to offering 15 scholarships, the Western Union Foundation connects the students to Western Union employees around the world to build mentorships, an additional support system, and a professional network.

“Whether they realize it or not, these students are at a pivotal moment in their lives,” said Kanika Wilkerson, Western Union Black Advisory Council Lead. “There is so much data that shows higher education can be a bridge to opportunity, acting as a catalyst to close the wealth gap for so many deserving individuals—they just need an opportunity. Our goal is to remove the barrier and help them clear one of the most important hurdles, getting that degree.”

Sistahbiz’ Unstoppable Business Grant program aims to address the dichotomy of Black women owning 42% of new women-owned businesses – three times their share of the female population – yet suffering from unequal access to capital, skills development, and training. The Foundation’s support came at a critical time during the COVID-19 pandemic, when small businesses were hit hard. The 20 grant winners will receive key business development coaching including leadership development, network building, marketing, and accounting services.

This year, Western Union joins other companies officially observing Juneteenth as a paid holiday for employees in the United States.

About Western Union

The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) is a global leader in cross-border, cross-currency money movement and payments. Western Union’s platform provides seamless cross-border flows and its leading global financial network bridges more than 200 countries and territories and over 130 currencies. We connect businesses, financial institutions, governments, and consumers through one of the world’s widest reaching networks, accessing billions of bank accounts, millions of digital wallets and cards, and over half a million-retail locations. Western Union connects the world to bring boundless possibilities within reach. For more information, visit

About the Western Union Foundation

The Western Union Foundation believes that by enabling young people to access and compete within the global economy, economic growth can be achieved. Through Opportunity Beyond Borders we collaborate with nonprofits around the world to provide young migrants and other vulnerable populations, including youth not enrolled in school or work, with the skills needed for better jobs and a chance at a better life. We also respond in times of disaster or humanitarian crises to aid in the rebuilding of communities. To date, we have funded more than $133 million for projects and scholarships. The Western Union Foundation is a separate, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) charitable corporation and receives support from The Western Union Company, its employees, agents, and business partners. Contributions to the Foundation are tax-deductible for U.S. income tax purposes. To learn more, visit or follow us on Twitter @TheWUFoundation.


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Media Relations:

Western Union Global Communications: Claire Treacy;

Western Union Foundation: Emily Larson;