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 http://vmccequity.org.

Contacts

Media Contact
Conscious Communications

Leland Radovanovic

Leland@ConsciousComs.com
845-200-5249

Sirita Wright

sirita.wright@gmail.com
347-469-8807

Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator Announces Partnership With Commonwealth to Drive Change for Women Entrepreneurs in 54 Countries OutBuro lgbt professional entreprenuer networking online

Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator Announces Partnership With Commonwealth to Drive Change for Women Entrepreneurs in 54 Countries

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator (WEA), a strategic multi-partnership convening five UN agencies and Mary Kay Inc., is today joining forces with the Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Network (CBWN) to empower and support underserved women entrepreneurs across the 54 countries of the Commonwealth.

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WEA is designed to maximize the development impact of women entrepreneurship in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by creating an enabling ecosystem for women entrepreneurs that fosters growth, sustainability, and resilience. In June 2021, WEA joined the Generation Equality Forum in Paris and committed to empower five million women around the world by 2030 to accelerate progress for gender equality.

WEA recently announced the launch of a series of impactful initiatives and knowledge products, all shaped through a gender lens, as the joint outcome of the collaboration between the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Trade Centre (ITC), UN Global Compact (UNGC), UN Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Women with the strategic support and funding of Mary Kay. WEA’s impact work includes digital capacity building tools and training; entrepreneurship research; and gender-responsive procurement (GRP) advocacy and training.

CBWN works with women in business by connecting governments and the private sector to encourage, enable and embed women’s economic empowerment and women in leadership. Originating in May 2021, the Commonwealth Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator (CWEA) is a strategic multi-stakeholder partnership from the CBWN, the Global Entrepreneurship Network UK (GEN UK) and Oxentia. It is a direct response to three developments: the agreement by all Commonwealth Heads of Government in London in 2018 “to work towards an increase in the number and enhancement of the success rate of women-owned businesses, break down gender barriers in all sectors, and increase opportunities for women to trade internationally”; the recognition by the G20 in 2020 that “there is a missed opportunity – to tackle the gap that needs immediate action, which is the representation of women in emerging fields”; and the UN Global Acceleration Plan to advance gender equality by 2026 and its Action Coalitions on Economic Justice and Rights and Technology and Innovation launched in 2021.

The new partnership with CBWN in support of CWEA further solidifies WEA’s geographic scope of action across the 54 Commonwealth diverse country members in Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe, and the Pacific, with 32 countries classified as “small states.” Small states are especially vulnerable to climate change and developmental challenges including gender inequalities.

Beyond scaling WEA and CBWN’s foundational areas of work, the partnership will also significantly focus on policy and advocacy to advance systemic change engaging Commonwealth member states and leveraging its networks of organizations and key stakeholders in support of women in business or aspiring women entrepreneurs in and across the Commonwealth.

“We know that multi-stakeholder partnerships and collective engagement is crucial to drive the change that women entrepreneurs need across sectors around the world,” said Deborah Gibbins, Chief Operating Officer of Mary Kay Inc. “WEA is thrilled to join forces with the Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Network and the Commonwealth Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator. Our collaboration will focus on augmenting, amplifying and accelerating impact. We’re more powerful together, and I look forward to our collective action journey in support of the SDGs.”

“The Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Network is delighted to partner with the United Nations Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator in this landmark initiative so we can unlock and unleash the power and potential for more women of diverse backgrounds,” said Freda Miriklis, Chair, Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Network. “Through this partnership, we’ll be able to more quickly harness our collective assets – for women, their communities and every girl that can and will be inspired by their stories.”

To learn more about the Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator, visit we-accelerate.com.

About the Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator

The Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator (WEA) is a multi-partnership initiative on women’s entrepreneurship convening 5 UN agencies, International Labour Organization (ILO), International Trade Centre (ITC), UN Global Compact (UNGC), UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN Women and Mary Kay Inc. to empower 5 million women entrepreneurs by 2030.

The ultimate goal of the initiative is to maximize the development impact of women entrepreneurship in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by creating an enabling ecosystem for women entrepreneurs around the world. The Accelerator exemplifies the transformational power of a multi-partnership of unique magnitude to harness the potential of women entrepreneurs.

Learn more at we-accelerate. Follow us: Twitter (@We_Accelerator), Instagram (@we_accelerator), Facebook (@womensentrepreneurshipaccelerator), LinkedIn (@womensentrepreneurshipaccelerator)

About the Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Network

The Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Network (CBWN) works with women in business by connecting Governments and the private sector to encourage, enable and embed women’s economic empowerment. This is achieved through delivering activities, initiatives, products, and services focused on trade, talent, and training. It is the only accredited organisation focused on women’s economic empowerment and directly recognized by 54 governments across six continents. Learn more at www.cbwn.org

About the Commonwealth Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator

The Commonwealth Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator is a strategic multi stakeholder partnership on women’s entrepreneurship established as an outcome of the inaugural Commonwealth Women’s Entrepreneurship Summit (CWES) in May 2021, the first global event to focus on women in emerging tech sectors. CWES was convened by the Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Network; the Global Entrepreneurship Network; the UK Government (Women in Innovation Network, a programme of Innovation UK); and Africa’s largest network of women entrepreneurs (AWEP: African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program). The Commonwealth Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator is a partnership between the Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Network, Global Entrepreneurship Network-UK and Oxentia. Learn more at www.thecwea.org

About Mary Kay

One of the original glass ceiling breakers, Mary Kay Ash founded her beauty company more than 58 years ago with three goals: develop rewarding opportunities for women, offer irresistible products, and make the world a better place. That dream has blossomed into a multibillion-dollar company with millions of independent sales force members in nearly 40 countries. Mary Kay is dedicated to investing in the science behind beauty and manufacturing cutting-edge skin care, color cosmetics, nutritional supplements, and fragrances. Mary Kay is committed to empowering women and their families by partnering with organizations from around the world, focusing on supporting cancer research, protecting survivors from domestic abuse, beautifying our communities, and encouraging children to follow their dreams. Mary Kay Ash’s original vision continues to shine—one lipstick at a time. Learn more at marykayglobal.com

Contacts

Mary Kay Inc. Corporate Communications

marykay.com/newsroom
(+1) 972.687.5332 or   media@mkcorp.com

Cross River and TechUnited Join Forces Propel Entrepreneurs and Empower More Small Businesses OutBuro lgbt professional entreprenuer networking online community gay lesbian transgender queer bisexual

Cross River and TechUnited Join Forces to Propel Entrepreneurs and Empower More Small Businesses in New Jersey

Cross River and TechUnited launch Women & Minority Business Owners Mentorship Cohort

Cross River is investing in its backyard by continuing to cultivate the NJ ecosystem through job creation, community partnerships and empowering the next generation of entrepreneurs

FORT LEE, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Cross River Bank (“Cross River”), a technology-driven financial services organization that provides core infrastructure and embedded financial solutions and TechUnited:NJ, a membership-driven, non-profit organization that offers opportunities for tech-enabled companies and entrepreneurs to collaborate, today announced a groundbreaking partnership to propel the future of New Jersey by increasing support for small businesses and entrepreneurs in the state, particularly by providing additional resources to women and minority business owners.

“Our success at Cross River is emblematic of the growth of the New Jersey technology ecosystem, and we are humbled to play a part in cultivating, hiring, and investing in our backyard,” said Phil Goldfeder, SVP of Global Public Affairs at Cross River. “As one of the largest lenders in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), we safely and securely supported the smallest businesses who needed access to capital and this partnership with TechUnited demonstrates our continued commitment to our mission of serving the smallest businesses and entrepreneurs leading the next generation.”

As said by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy in his welcome remarks at Propelify Innovation Festival: “This event reflects and amplifies the innovative spirit to which New Jersey is responding to a multitude of major challenges. As entrepreneurs and innovators, you continue to reinvent the industry and are critical to the New Jersey economy. Supporting women and minority small businesses through mentorship programs with Cross River… will both transform our state and maintain our commitment to creating a stronger and fairer New Jersey for every family.”

Cross River merges the forward-thinking offerings of a technology company with the established expertise of a bank, while maintaining a strong focus on regulatory compliance and consumer protection. As a New Jersey state-chartered community bank, Cross River has demonstrated firsthand how the state’s structure and support has played an integral role in propelling economic advancement, innovation, and increased investment opportunities. Cross River and TechUnited have been community partners for years, but this partnership is the first of its kind, encompassing a Women & Minority Business Owners Mentorship Cohort, resources for startups and emerging investors, community events, thought leadership and more to propel the greater New Jersey technology and business ecosystems.

The specialized mentorship cohort focuses on providing underrepresented founders and owners with new advantages, resources, and information. The cohort will provide mentorship from executives at Cross River, Amazon, RSM, Deloitte, EY, and more. Within the business community, where startups and small businesses are faced with immeasurable challenges, mentorship, guidance, and community visibility are crucial to provide lasting support. Beyond the 1:1 mentorship, the program also provided four cohort members with grants, subsidized by Cross River, to enable them to present at the Propelify Innovation Festival, on October 6, 2021 in Hoboken, New Jersey.

“Leveraging the TechUnited community and board, as well as our massive annual festival, Propelify, to truly support women and minority founders via this mentorship cohort is critical to the region’s success,” said Aaron Price, CEO of TechUnited. “For entrepreneurs who want to build their companies faster and smarter, this program is for you. We encourage anyone looking for guidance to ensure their business thrives to apply.”

In September of 2021, coming off the success of its 2020-2021 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Cross River launched Making Waves with Cross River, a campaign dedicated to small businesses and entrepreneurs. The campaign is specifically focused on supporting diverse small businesses who are serving their communities and creating jobs and encompasses a number of initiatives in conjunction with community partners including grant programs and small business support.

To learn more, and to get involved, please visit www.crossriver.com/making-waves.

About Cross River

Cross River is a fast-growing financial services organization that merges the forward-thinking offerings of a technology company with the established expertise and traditional services of a bank. Since its founding in 2008, Cross River has developed strategic partnerships with leading technology companies, marketplace lenders and payment providers, while maintaining a strong focus on regulatory compliance and consumer protection. Cross River provides a highly secure, API-based banking platform and comprehensive suite of products encompassing lending, payments, risk management and Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) offerings to deliver responsible financial solutions that empower businesses and consumers anytime, anywhere. Cross River Bank is a New Jersey state-chartered FDIC insured bank. For more information, please visit Cross River’s website at www.crossriver.com or Twitter @crossriverbank.

About TechUnited

TechUnited:NJ (techunited.co) is a membership-driven, non-profit organization with over 500,000 innovator members that offers opportunities for tech-enabled companies and entrepreneurs to propel the future of New Jersey and beyond through events, mentorship, content creation, and more. Founded in 1996 as the NJ Technology Council (NJTC), the organization has established itself as the premiere advocate for the technology community in the region. In 2005, the NJTC helped start a successful venture fund in Tech Council Ventures. In 2019, the NJTC acquired the Propelify Innovation Festival to cast a wider net in the region’s startup community. In 2020, the organization rebranded as TechUnited:NJ and redefined its mission to empower innovators and entrepreneurs who build a better future for all.

Contacts

Cross River

Eden Hoffman

Phone: 201-808-7000 x538

ehoffman@crossriver.com

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Davis Wright Tremaine’s Project W Completes Inaugural Tech Equity Hub Virtual Accelerator Program

Impressive nationwide cohort featured 10 Black and Latinx female entrepreneurs

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Davis Wright Tremaine LLP is pleased to announce the completion of Project W’s inaugural Tech Equity Hub virtual accelerator program, which provided 10 Black and Latinx female founders the tools, resources and connections they need to build successful companies.

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“Tech Equity Hub is our newest initiative to unlock the power of pre-revenue tech companies founded by Black and Latinx women,” said Project W founder Lynn Loacker, partner-in-charge of DWT’s New York office. “These talented founders are innovating in education, healthcare and commerce to address some of the most intractable problems that underrepresented communities are facing. Without a doubt, these remarkable women will leave the world in a better place.”

The program’s full cohort included:

  • Tiffany Hosey – BuilDATAnalytics: Streamlining complex construction projects.
  • Laura Thomas – Effective to Great Education: Social emotional learning technology for underserved school communities.
  • Emily Brown – Free-From Market: Healthy food solutions to improve health and equity outcomes.
  • Sheena Franklin – K’ept Health: Virtual dermatological clinic providing culturally competent care.
  • Aireka Harvell – Nodat: Artificial intelligence to help small businesses drive sales.
  • Noelle Acosta – Noula: Affordable, at-home maternal wellness test kit and personalized pre- and postnatal care plans.
  • Mandy Bowman – Official Black Wall Street: Connecting consumers to Black-owned businesses.
  • Tope Mitchell – Reflekt Me: Personalizing ecommerce by size, body type, skin tone and hair texture.
  • Ashley Williams – RIZZARR, Inc.: Promoting brands through millennial- and Gen Z-created content.
  • Danielle Allen – Si · La · Bul: Video platform for cultural language learning.

During the 12-week program, which ended Sept. 30, the group engaged in workshops, one-on-one mentoring sessions, individualized coaching and tech deep dives, as well as community-building events. The expert faculty and accomplished mentors covered product design and evolution, marketing and sales, business strategy and finance, growth, legal, fundraising and personal development. All of the experts, investors and mentors were committed to help the founders build successful companies. Partners that generously shared their expertise and resources included Coalition Venture Studio, M12 (Microsoft’s venture capital fund), R/GA Ventures, Stripe and U.S. Bank.

“Tech Equity Hub was immensely helpful in solidifying my team’s growth. I love how the program focused on the development of every single department within a company,” said Ashley Williams, founder and CEO of RIZZARR, a tech-enabled content marketplace in which brands can find and work with over 5,000 millennial and Gen Z content creators worldwide. “I really think it’s so wonderful that these programs are being created to help women of color. There’s a lot of conversation going around about what women of color go through with startups, funding, and more, and until now, it’s been a lot of talk: Project W actually put it into action.”

Noula founder and CEO Noelle Acosta added: “As a founder, my background has mainly been in business development and go-to-market strategy, so getting exposure to so many different components of the startup journey has been really helpful. The most helpful part, for me, of Tech Equity Hub has been the fact that the faculty and mentors took the time to understand where I’m at in my startup journey as well as what I do well. I was paired with an investor and a mentor in my field who taught me practical and tangible skills.”

BuilDATAnalytics founder and CEO Tiffany Hosey said: “Tech Equity Hub was organized in a way that I never felt we were being shorted on any programming. For the entire program to focus on women of color, specifically Black and brown, and for Project W to pour all of the resources into the programming, it really felt like there was a sincere commitment to see all of us succeed. No other program in which I’ve been involved – from start to finish – has been comparable.”

About Project W

Project W is Davis Wright Tremaine’s commitment to help women build great companies, advance their careers and achieve parity in the boardroom and the workplace. Through its programming, partnerships with like-minded organizations and national network of over 2,500 founders, investors and executives, Project W is moving the needle in closing the gender equality gap and in advancing the careers and lives of women. For more information, visit https://www.dwt.com/about/project-w.

About Davis Wright Tremaine

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP is an AmLaw 100 firm with more than 600 lawyers representing clients based throughout the United States and around the world. For more information, visit www.dwt.com.

Contacts

Leora Goldfarb

Baretz+Brunelle

Lgoldfarb@baretzbrunelle.com

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Isobar Public Sector Launches Minority-Owned Business Incubator

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#DEI–Isobar Public Sector, a dentsu international company, announced today the launch of a new minority-owned business incubator with Maryland-based firms. The goal of the partnership is to provide black-owned, 8a and minority-owned small businesses with technical support and resources to accelerate their operations, growth and go-to-market efforts in the public sector.

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The program is part of Isobar Public Sector / Merkle and dentsu’s Economic Empowerment initiative. The firm has partnered with Maryland Black Businesses Matter organization, founded by Gregory Holmes, to identify black businesses currently working with U.S. federal, state and local governments. Following an initial matchmaking session, participating firms determine the type and level of support required. This may include business development, capacity building, proposal support, marketing efforts and/or administrative support.

“With this program, our goal is to make a difference for these firms and collectively improve not only their bottom line but also the careers and opportunities for both existing and prospective employees,” said Larry Gillespie, president, Isobar Public Sector. “Although we’ve just started, I’ve been amazed at the talent and creativity of all the firms. We are extremely fortunate to be working with Gregory, who brings a ton of passion and energy to the growth of black businesses in Maryland. This isn’t a typical mentor-protégé arrangement but a true collaboration. In fact, I find that it’s the larger firms in the relationship, like Isobar, that often learn the most.”

Collectively, the companies share a common focus and mission in delivering digital transformation, IT modernization and program management for government agencies. The collaboration often includes support of business development activities, proposals, white paper development and other activities. These efforts are supported by dentsu’s Global Technology Alliance partners, including Qualtrics, Salesforce, Adobe, Amazon, Google Global Technology practice and others.

Read the full press release here.

About dentsu:

Part of the dentsu group, dentsu international is made up of six leadership brands – Carat, dentsuX, iProspect, Isobar, dentsumcgarrybowen, Merkle and supported by its specialist brands. dentsu international helps clients to win, keep and grow their best customers and achieve meaningful progress for their businesses. With best-in-class services and solutions in media, CXM, and creative, dentsu international operates in over 145 markets worldwide with more than 45,000 dedicated specialists. Visit www.dentsu.com.

Contacts

Press:
Jennifer Ferguson

Chief Communications Officer, dentsu Americas

Jennifer.fergsuon@dentsu.com

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Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator Celebrates Second Anniversary by Announcing Impactful Initiatives to Drive Change for Women Entrepreneurs

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator (WEA), a strategic multi-partnership initiative established by five UN agencies and Mary Kay Inc., is today celebrating its second-year anniversary by announcing progress on several programmes designed to impact 5 million women around the world by 2030. The programmes and knowledge products, which further demonstrate WEA’s commitment to maximizing the development impact of women’s entrepreneurship in achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), will be rolled out in the fourth quarter of this year.

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“Two years ago, the Accelerator committed to enabling women entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses as a means to accelerate progress towards women’s equality,” said Deborah Gibbins, Chief Operating Officer of Mary Kay Inc. “Today, we’re thrilled to report progress on that promise and demonstrate the unique impact five UN agencies and the private sector can have when working together. These programs represent concrete steps toward the systemic transformation needed to foster an environment of growth, sustainability, and resilience for women entrepreneurs.”

The strategic programmes, all shaped with a unique focus on gender, are the joint outcome of the collaboration between the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Trade Centre (ITC) UN Global Compact (UNGC), UN Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Women with the strategic support and funding of Mary Kay.

  • Digital Capacity Building Tools & Training

In collaboration with ITC SheTrades, the Accelerator will offer a guided curriculum supplemented by on-the-ground training for women from developing countries interested in entrepreneurship and/or planning to integrate into regional and global value chains. The 2021 in-country training sessions will take place virtually in Brazil, Colombia, India, and Mexico.

The online curriculum on Entrepreneurship aims to teach women entrepreneurs the skills to design and set up businesses that have potential to be economically viable. Through 27 interactive modules covering seven key stages of business development and enriched with over 200 videos, participants will learn how to adopt an entrepreneurship culture, develop ideas through design thinking and lean start-up methodologies, prepare a business model canvas, design a pitch, identify sources of funding, find the right partners, arrange for mentorship, build a team, and set up their businesses.

The curriculum is free for all users with no barrier to entry, and participants will receive a certificate upon completion.

The Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator ITC SheTrades curriculum will be gradually released between October and December 2021 in English, Spanish, and French, with Arabic, Russian and Mandarin coming in 2022. It will be accessible on the Accelerator website and directly on the ITC SheTrades virtual learning space and mobile app starting October 2021.

  • Entrepreneurship Research

As part of WEA’s objectives for 2020-2021, the ILO is focusing on strengthening advocacy for women’s entrepreneurship development in Mexico and Brazil. In Mexico, WEA and ILO will be releasing findings from an assessment on framework conditions that impact women’s entrepreneurship development.

The study is sector specific to trade and industry in Mexico City and touches upon the impact of COVID-19. The assessment includes a series of actionable recommendations for a more conducive environment, developed in close collaboration with national partners, including employers’ associations, chambers of commerce and associations of women entrepreneurs to ensure national ownership and sustainability.

In Brazil, through WEA, ILO is collaborating with SENAI, a national leader in technical and vocational training, to advocate for women’s entrepreneurship development and foster dialogue based on the findings of a WED Assessment conducted in the framework of the EU-funded Win-Win project. A programme of national and regional conferences, seminars, trainings, and communication campaigns has been put together to generate and consolidate momentum in favor of women’s entrepreneurship development.

  • Gender-Responsive Procurement (GRP) Advocacy and Training

Gender-responsive procurement (GRP) can have a transformational impact on domestic and international economies and contribute to women’s economic empowerment. Globally, one in three small, medium, and large businesses are owned by women1, yet women win only 1% of the procurement spend of large corporations and governments2.

The Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator participated in the Generation Equality Forum in Paris (June 30-July 2) through the “Drivers of Change” Programming, hosting a panel titled “Building a Transformative Strategy for Gender-Responsive Procurement,” which aimed to create awareness around the complex and interconnected barriers of women’s entrepreneurship and to promote GRP.

UN Women’s main contributions to the Accelerator’s GRP line of work in 2021 include establishing the Business Case for GRP through the launch of a community of practice (CoP) in July in collaboration with UN Global Compact to engage stakeholders from the private sector.

UN Women, with the support of the UN Global Compact, is also conducting a global survey across sectors on GRP. UN Women is then interviewing more than 50 companies and organizations, which, together with the survey responses, will result in case studies and an evidence-based advocacy tool to highlight the business case of GRP. The advocacy tool will be published by December 2021, and will be a contribution to WEA in support of UN Women’s Flagship Programme Initiative “Stimulating Equal Opportunities for Women Entrepreneurs.”

In December, UN Women Europe and Central Asia (ECA) will launch an inaugural Pilot programme to increase the capacities of both women entrepreneurs and private sector with an aim to boost women’s entrepreneurship: (1) Building procurement capacities of women entrepreneurs to compete for bidding opportunities with public and private sectors; (2) Strengthening capacities of the private sector entities from all the sectors to establish policies and practices and design initiatives on gender responsive procurement and investment.

The Accelerator’s announcement of these programmes’ milestones is just the latest in a series of steps taken by the multi-partnership to raise awareness on entrepreneurship as a critical lever to advance women’s equality in 2021 and beyond.

At the Generation Equality Forum in Paris, the Accelerator announced its commitment to empower 5 million women by the end of 2030 and to build an ecosystem for women’s economic empowerment that fosters growth, sustainability, and resilience for women entrepreneurs.

On September 28th, the Accelerator will hold a virtual event titled “Joining Forces to Drive Change,” convening the senior management of ILO, ITC, UNDP, UNGC, and UN Women with introductory remarks from Mary Kay. Organized during UNGA 76 for WEA’s 2nd anniversary, the high-level event will provide an opportunity for the stakeholders within the women’s entrepreneurship ecosystem to hear from the leading experts on the following topics: gender equality and women’s empowerment, the economic and social contributions of women entrepreneurship; emerging policies and practices that could be applied and replicated globally to support women’s leadership in businesses. For registration and other enquiries click here.

To learn more about the Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator, and the work performed since its inception two years ago, visit we-accelerate.com.

About the Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator

The Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator (WEA) is a multi-partnership initiative on women’s entrepreneurship established during UNGA 74 by five UN agencies, International Labour Organization (ILO), International Trade Centre (ITC), UN Global Compact (UNGC), UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN Women and Mary Kay Inc. to empower 5 million women entrepreneurs by 2030.

The ultimate goal of the initiative is to maximize the development impact of women entrepreneurship in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by creating an enabling ecosystem for women entrepreneurs around the world. The Accelerator exemplifies the transformational power of a multi-partnership of unique magnitude to harness the potential of women entrepreneurs.

Learn more at we-accelerate. Follow us: Twitter (We_Accelerator), Instagram (@we_accelerator), Facebook (@womensentrepreneurshipaccelerator), LinkedIn (@womensentrepreneurshipaccelerator)

About the International Labour Organization

The International Labour Organization (ILO) is a specialized UN agency created in 1919, in the wake of a destructive war, to pursue a vision based on the premise that universal, lasting peace can be established only if it is based on social justice. The main aims of the ILO are to promote rights at work, encourage decent employment opportunities, enhance social protection and strengthen dialogue on work-related issues. The unique tripartite structure of the ILO gives an equal voice to workers, employers, and governments to ensure that the views of the social partners are closely reflected in labour standards and in shaping policies and programmes.

The ILO’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Development programme (ILO-WED) is part of the Small and Medium Enterprises Unit (SME) and has been running for close to two decades. ILO-WED works on enhancing economic opportunities for women by carrying out affirmative actions in support of women starting, formalizing and growing their enterprises, and by mainstreaming gender equality issues into the ILO’s work in enterprise development. Website: www.ilo.org | Twitter – @ILOWED | Facebook – ILO WED (@International Labour Organization)

About the International Trade Centre

The International Trade Centre (ITC) is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets to contribute to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

ITC’s SheTrades Initiative aims to connect three million women entrepreneurs and women-owned businesses to international markets by 2021. SheTrades works with governments, corporations and business support organizations to undertake research, shape enabling trade policies and regulations, facilitate financing, and expand access to public tenders and corporate supply chains. It provides women entrepreneurs with a varied learning environment and flexible curriculum on its www.shetrades.com platform. For more information, visit www.intracen.org and follow ITC on Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Instagram | Flickr

About the United Nations Global Compact

As a special initiative of the UN Secretary-General, the United Nations Global Compact is a call to companies everywhere to align their operations and strategies with ten universal principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment, and anti-corruption. Launched in 2000, the mandate of the UN Global Compact is to guide and support the global business community in advancing UN goals and values through responsible corporate practices. With more than 10,000 companies and 3,000 non-business signatories based in over 160 countries, and more than 60 Local Networks, it is the largest corporate sustainability initiative in the world.

For more information, follow @globalcompact on social media and visit our website at unglobalcompact.org.

About UN Women

UN Women is the UN organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide.

UN Women supports UN Member States as they set global standards for achieving gender equality, and works with governments and civil society to design laws, policies, programmes and services needed to ensure that the standards are effectively implemented and truly benefit women and girls worldwide. It works globally to make the vision of the Sustainable Development Goals a reality for women and girls and stands behind women’s equal participation in all aspects of life, focusing on four strategic priorities: Women lead, participate in and benefit equally from governance systems; Women have income security, decent work and economic autonomy; All women and girls live a life free from all forms of violence; Women and girls contribute to and have greater influence in building sustainable peace and resilience, and benefit equally from the prevention of natural disasters and conflicts and humanitarian action. UN Women also coordinates and promotes the UN system’s work in advancing gender equality.

About Mary Kay

One of the original glass ceiling breakers, Mary Kay Ash founded her beauty company more than 58 years ago with three goals: develop rewarding opportunities for women, offer irresistible products, and make the world a better place. That dream has blossomed into a multibillion-dollar company with millions of independent sales force members in nearly 40 countries. Mary Kay is dedicated to investing in the science behind beauty and manufacturing cutting-edge skin care, color cosmetics, nutritional supplements, and fragrances. Mary Kay is committed to empowering women and their families by partnering with organizations from around the world, focusing on supporting cancer research, protecting survivors from domestic abuse, beautifying our communities, and encouraging children to follow their dreams. Mary Kay Ash’s original vision continues to shine—one lipstick at a time. Learn more at marykayglobal.com

1 World Bank (2020). Enterprise Surveys, World Bank Gender Data Portal cited by World Bank Blogs (2020) Women entrepreneurs needed – stat!
2 Vazquez and Sherman (2014). Cited by UN Women (2017) The Power of Procurement: How to source from women-owned businesses.

Contacts

Mary Kay Inc. Corporate Communications

marykay.com/newsroom
(+1) 972.687.5332 or  media@mkcorp.com

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Fiverr Announces Inaugural Future Collective, a Business Accelerator Fellowship for Black Entrepreneurs

Future Collective fellows to receive funding as well as access to a free 6-month training and mentorship program for startups

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Fiverr, the company that is changing how the world works together, is announcing its inaugural Future Collective Fellowship Program as well as the five fellows who have been selected to receive funding, training and mentorship. Fiverr’s Future Collective was created alongside 1863 Ventures, an independent, Black-led nonprofit organization that delivers business development programs designed to bridge the gap between entrepreneurship and equality, and maestra, a business strategy firm building a more socially conscious and equitable world. The program aims to support Black entrepreneurs that have used Fiverr’s platform to get started and are already a part of Fiverr’s growing community of small businesses.

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Research shows that Black entrepreneurs face financial hurdles not only when beginning their businesses, but as they attempt to navigate spaces that often don’t look like them and to which they have had little access historically. The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland found that Black entrepreneurs were 10% more likely to apply for financial startup assistance than their white counterparts, yet they were 19% less likely to be approved. White entrepreneurs have an edge over their Black counterparts because, for every $100 in white family wealth, Black families hold just $5.04. That same sentiment is what drives many Black sellers on Fiverr. 54% come to the platform hoping to make a sustainable, permanent living primarily on Fiverr – more likely than their White and Latinx seller counterparts. Fiverr hopes to be a part of helping to close that gap and countless others.

“Fiverr’s purpose is to provide anyone, no matter their race, religion, background or beliefs, the opportunity to build their business, brand or dreams. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to use our platform and resources in pursuit of this purpose,” said Micha Kaufman, CEO of Fiverr. “Yes, the world has seen an outpouring of support for Black owned businesses in the past year, however, there is still so much work to be done. We are thrilled to be able to support these incredible five businesses with the funding, mentoring, and training that they deserve and can’t wait to watch them continue to grow and succeed through this program.”

The five businesses that have been selected as Fiverr’s inaugural class of Future Collective fellows are:

  • Appdrop – software for empowering non-technical teams to build mobile apps without writing a single line of code.
  • Budget Collector – provides an artificial intelligence (AI) art adviser as a mobile app. The company supports the development of private art collections as well as galleries and provides resources for potential and current art collectors.
  • De L’or Cakery – a 5-star artisan cake catering company using top notch ingredients, many imported directly from the Caribbean to provide outstanding flavors.
  • Hey Girl Hey – a social bonding game created by sisters, Seanice and Sharina Clarke, Hey Girl Hey is a card game built to foster community connections among black women, featuring unexpected and entertaining prompts and challenges.
  • Keeyahri – a luxury women’s shoe brand inspired by founder and artistic director Keya Martin’s favorite architecture around the world. Keeyahri aims to help women feel confident through unique designs.

Each of the Future Collective fellows will receive $24K in funding from Fiverr, guaranteed placement in an accelerator program organized and orchestrated by 1863 Ventures and regular mentorship and guidance from Fiverr’s senior management team. The structure of the program will consist of monthly cohort sessions, assigned online materials to review and complete coupled with regular coaching sessions. The fellows will also have access to 1863 Ventures’ weekly entrepreneur webinar sessions, allowing them to participate in sessions they find relevant to their business and growth.

“Now, more than ever, it is time to double down on our support of Black entrepreneurs. Over the past few years, roughly 20% of Black Americans have engaged in early-stage entrepreneurship, but their businesses struggle to advance along the entrepreneurial pathway,” said Melissa Bradley, Managing Director of 1863 Ventures. “If Black businesses reached economic parity with non-black businesses, their revenues would increase by approximately $5.9 trillion and create more than 19 million more jobs. 1863 Ventures is proud to be leading the charge in providing the necessary resources, capital, and programmatic support to break down barriers for Black businesses. We are excited to be working with Fiverr and maestra to make this new fellowship one of a kind and accomplish economic parity for these businesses.”

“While white adults have 13 times the wealth that Black adults do, when we compare median wealth of Black and white business owners, the median wealth gap decreases to a multiplier of three,” said De’Ara Balenger, Co-Founder of maestra. “Through this effort and more like it, we believe that we can work towards building Black generational wealth and supporting Black entrepreneurship.”

About Fiverr

Fiverr’s mission is to change how the world works together. Since 2010, the Fiverr platform has been at the forefront of the future of work connecting businesses of all sizes with skilled freelancers offering digital services in more than 500 categories, across 9 verticals including graphic design, digital marketing, programming, video and animation. In the twelve months ended June 30, 2021, 4.0 million customers bought a wide range of services from freelancers across more than 160 countries. We invite you to become part of the future of work by visiting us at fiverr.com, read our blog and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Contacts

Abby Forman

press@fiverr.com

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Morgan Stanley Selects 8 Startups for 6th Cohort of Multicultural Innovation Lab Supporting Diverse Founders

  • The Summer 2021 Multicultural Innovation Lab (MCIL) Cohort includes the following companies that have innovative strategies across sectors such as fintech, healthcare, media, marketplace, retail tech and enterprise software: Cognicor, Fyt Personal Training, Lifesaver, MedTrans Go, Playlister Club, Productions.com, Sozie and Stimulus
  • MCIL portfolio companies reach a $450M+ combined valuation and have raised $80M+ in additional funding to date after participating in the Lab

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Morgan Stanley today announced the sixth cohort of the Multicultural Innovation Lab, an accelerator program for technology and technology-enabled startups in the post‐seed to Series B funding rounds. The program, now in its fifth year and with 51 total participating companies to date, targets startups with a multicultural or woman founder, co‐founder, CTO or other C-suite member that is developing innovative solutions across sectors. Through the Lab, Morgan Stanley makes investments in these early stage, high-growth companies and will support each founder’s growth and development through its ecosystem of internal and external partners.

“Welcoming another cohort to our growing portfolio of companies is another step forward in the effort to close the funding gap for diverse founders that exists in the marketplace today,” said Carla Harris, Vice Chairman of Morgan Stanley and Co-Head of the Multicultural Client Strategy Group. “I am excited to hit the ground running to work with these talented founders, having witnessed first-hand the tremendous success of the program in bringing these businesses to scale.”

The companies participating in the program began on August 16 and are operating in a hybrid environment, using online video platforms to facilitate the Lab curriculum and convening in-person to foster community. The entrepreneurs receive support from a dedicated Morgan Stanley team delivering tailored experiences to help each company grow. The program will run through January 2022, culminating in the sixth Multicultural Innovation Lab Showcase and Demo Day that will present the companies to potential investors.

The Lab has had four successful years with six cohorts and continues to expand in the fifth year with the goal of increasing access to capital for diverse entrepreneurs, which has proven successful as evidenced by resulting company acquisitions and additional funding rounds following participation in the program. Some notable examples include:

  • AptDeco, a peer to peer marketplace for buying and selling furniture, has expanded to two additional geographical markets and secured partnerships with brands such as West Elm and Pottery Barn.
  • Virtual-reality-based (VR) diversity and inclusion platform, Praxis Labs raised $3.2 million in seed funding earlier this year, making founder Elise Smith one of 93 Black women to raise more than $1 million for a venture-backed business as of 2020.
  • With the support of the MCIL team, BaseCap Analytics, an AI-enabled software company that empowers organizations to efficiently improve their data quality, grew their team by 25 percent, increased their product (vs. service) client threefold, and raised a series seed round.

“We look forward to welcoming our next cohort of founders to provide the tools, resources and connections they need to grow and scale their sector-disrupting businesses,” said Alice Vilma, Managing Director and Co-Head of the Multicultural Innovation Lab. “Highlighting these great companies with diverse founders and leveraging our expansive and global networks and resources will hopefully widen their universe and attract the capital needed to scale”

The companies that have been selected for the Summer 2021 cohort include the following:

  • Cognicor is an AI-powered digital assistant platform for the financial industry, automating and augmenting the efficiency of advisors and support teams of IBDs, Wirehouses, RIAs and insurance firms, enabling scalable operations and accelerating growth.
  • Fyt Personal Training is an online platform that connects consumers who need help achieving their goals with the country’s largest network of certified fitness professionals
  • Lifesaver is a fintech company that provides a universal mobile banking application for financial institutions that lack cutting-edge digital solutions.
  • MedTrans Go is a tech-enabled patient optimization platform that aims to reduce medical appointment cancellations by providing patients access to medical transportation, interpretation services, Rx delivery and telemedicine services.
  • Playlister Club is a music discovery platform that provides artists and labels with access to a community of “playlisters” (creators of music playlists) seeking to discover new songs and artists.
  • Productions.com is an online marketplace that connects pre-vetted production industry talent to employers in the entertainment and media industry.
  • Sozie is a leading on-demand user-generated content (UGC) platform for brands and retailers to engage their employee and shopper communities to create rich product content.
  • Stimulus is a relationship intelligence SaaS platform that uses data and analytics to simplify how companies make purchasing decisions by offering vendor search, evaluation, selection and management tools.

The Lab has launched a series of MCIL portfolio company profiles in partnership with The Plug to raise their visibility and drive attention to the market inefficiency when it comes to funding women and multicultural founders.

About the Multicultural Innovation Lab

The Multicultural Innovation Lab (MCIL) is an intensive five-month accelerator designed to help further develop and scale startups, culminating in a Demo Day and showcase presentation to the investor community. Morgan Stanley launched the MCIL in 2017 in order to address inequities in funding of multicultural and women-led startups, which our research shows equals over four trillion dollars in unrealized returns. The team is led by Morgan Stanley Vice Chairman and Managing Director Carla Harris and Managing Director Alice Vilma. Together, they have had over 50 years of equity syndicate, investment banking, capital markets and structured finance experience. The Multicultural Innovation Lab, part of our Multicultural Client Strategy Group, was launched to promote financial inclusion and decrease the funding gap for diverse entrepreneurs.

Listen to the Access & Opportunity with Carla Harris podcast on your platform of choice to learn about the players driving change among diverse entrepreneurs, the Investor community, and the world.

Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) is a leading global financial services firm providing investment banking, securities, wealth management and investment management services. With offices in more than 41 countries, the Firm’s employees serve clients worldwide including corporations, governments, institutions and individuals. For more information about Morgan Stanley, please visit https://www.morganstanley.com/.

Contacts

Media Relations: Katherine Stueber, katherine.stueber@morganstanley.com

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Bloomfire Announces Major Growth Investment from Primus Capital

Investment will accelerate Bloomfire’s growth and product innovation

AUSTIN, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Bloomfire, the leader in knowledge engagement software, today announced that Primus Capital (“Primus”) has made a significant growth equity investment in the company. Primus will partner with the Bloomfire management team to drive the company’s next phase of growth.

“Partnering with Primus on this significant investment is a real opportunity for Bloomfire to accelerate our growth and innovation while continuing the dedicated support we provide our customers,” said Mark Hammer, Bloomfire CEO. “We intend to use this funding to advance our platform to push the boundaries of what an intelligent knowledge engagement platform can do for today’s enterprise. Our success is due to the smart and efficient work of the entire Bloomfire team, as well as our deep base of enterprise and mid-market customers. By leveraging Primus’ experience with great SaaS companies, we now have the opportunity to invest in the team and look for M&A opportunities to expand our footprint.”

Aaron Davis, director of Primus, said, “Bloomfire has an industry-leading product, a strong leadership team, and a proven track record for growth. The company’s leading position in the knowledge management space, combined with this investment, will create a new growth trajectory for the business. There is significant momentum in market demand for knowledge management solutions, and we are excited about the opportunity to support the team to build on their success to date and continue to innovate in this category.”

As part of this recapitalization, Aaron Davis and Chandler Watlington of Primus Capital will join Bloomfire’s board of directors, along with Bloomfire CEO Mark Hammer.

About Bloomfire

Bloomfire is a knowledge engagement platform that enables and empowers teams to tap into their organization’s collective intelligence. Bloomfire gives organizations one centralized, searchable place to collect, find and democratize knowledge and insights. Its purpose-built knowledge solution makes it simple for brands like Burberry, Capital One, Conagra, Jackson Hewitt, Metlife and Lubrizol, to find, contribute to, and manage company knowledge so that employees have the information they need to do their jobs. For more information or to schedule a demo, visit http://www.bloomfire.com.

About Primus Capital

Primus Capital is a growth-oriented private equity firm focused on investing in leading software, healthcare and technology-enabled services companies. Primus partners with exceptional management teams to accelerate growth, improve operating performance, and increase the value of the companies in which they invest. Primus pursues buyouts, control and minority recapitalizations, secondary share purchases and expansion financings; this flexible approach enables them to engage with business owners and design tailored investment structures to meet the particular needs of the transaction. For more information, visit https://primuscapital.com.

Contacts

Libba Letton

libba@libbaletton.com
512-949-9491

Kanbrick Opens Applications for Fall 2021 Build with Kanbrick Cohort

After Successful Program Launch, Kanbrick Launches Second Wave of Business Program

CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Kanbrick, the long-term investment partnership co-founded by Tracy Britt Cool and Brian Humphrey, announced that it is accepting applications for its second Build with Kanbrick business program. The free three-month program is designed to help midsize companies create lasting value and growth.

Kanbrick

Kanbrick will select a class of up to five owners and CEOs of midsize companies for the fall 2021 cohort. Participants will receive one-on-one sessions with the Kanbrick team and collaborative group sessions with guest experts, as well as templates, tools, and resources focused on growing their businesses.

“There are a number of resources for start-up businesses, but there aren’t as many options for midsize businesses,” said Britt Cool. “The strong demand we experienced for our first Build with Kanbrick cohort reaffirmed the need for this business program, and our commitment to helping organizations and people reach their full potential.”

Kanbrick launched the program January 2021, and selected five companies out of more than 45 applicants to participate in the inaugural cohort. The spring 2021 cohort included family- and founder-owned companies: Cotopaxi, SET Environmental, Three Ships, Truck Centers, and Woodbine Manufacturing.

“I would pay six figures to do this all over again,” said program alum Zach Clayton, Founder and CEO of Three Ships. “Build with Kanbrick is like an advanced MBA course but 10 times better. It’s facilitated by proven, successful leaders, the cohort includes CEOs you want to learn from, and the curriculum is customized to your needs.”

Build with Kanbrick is accepting applications for the fall 2021 cohort through July 31, 2021. The three-month program will run virtually beginning August 16, 2021. Owners and CEOs interested in participating in the Build with Kanbrick program are encouraged to learn more by visiting Kanbrick.com/Build.

About Kanbrick

Kanbrick is a long-term investment partnership founded by Tracy Britt Cool and Brian Humphrey based in Chicago, Illinois. Kanbrick is focused on buying, building, and growing great businesses for the long term. Kanbrick partners closely with owners and executives, taking a hands-on approach to empower people and companies to reach their full potential. For more information visit Kanbrick.com.

Contacts

MEDIA CONTACT:

Rochelle Mangold

rochelle@mangoldconsultingpr.com
847.707.8224