Elevate is a direct response to both need and opportunity. From 1983 to 2013, our nation’s median wealth decreased nearly 20 percent. While White wealth increased during this period, Black and Latinx wealth decreased significantly. This has left our communities in states of extreme disinvestment, perpetuating the cycle of poverty. We can bridge the racial wealth gap by elevating Black and Latinx founders, who are too often overlooked and underestimated. Investment in their success is estimated to generate 1.1 million more businesses and 9 million more jobs. It would boost our national income by 300 billion dollars.
Elevate Accelerator, as a Village Capital Community, is part of an international network that supports ready-to-scale companies. Our six-month model offers St. Louis-based founders:
Access to capital
Training, using Village Capital’s research-based investment-readiness curriculum
Advising from a business coach and mentors
Office hours with attorneys, accountants, HR and marketing professionals
Co-working space and community
+ Target Founder
Elevate engages entrepreneurs who:
- Identify as Black or Latinx
- Run a company with demonstrated traction
- Work in industries that create living wage jobs for community-members living in poverty
- Commit to their company full time or agree to make the leap if accepted into the cohort
+ About Village Capital
Village Capital is a global venture capital firm that finds, trains, and invests in entrepreneurs solving real-world problems. Since 2009 we have been one of the world’s most active early-stage investors, investing in over 70 ventures across 15 countries and supporting hundreds more through our collaborative venture development programs. Village Capital graduates have leveraged initial capital 25:1, created over 10,000 jobs, and served over 6 million customers.
“The stronger families are, the stronger their communities can and will be. Entrepreneurship can help build individual and community wealth, but only if we are intentional in our efforts.”
Lisa Hamilton, President & CEO of Annie E. Casey Foundation
Apply. Elevate engages with Black and Latinx founders of early-stage companies based in the St. Louis region. Founders commit to a six-month curriculum that connects them to mentorship and resources. By the end of the program, companies exit with an expanded network, a developed portfolio, and secured investment.
Advise an early-stage entrepreneur. Whether you’re an investor, industry executive, attorney, policymaker, or have other expertise, company teams can use your experiences and networks to help them and their ventures become better. An advisor is a seasoned professional or entrepreneur with a variety of skills and backgrounds.
Share Expertise. Volunteer for office hours with our early stage entrepreneurs. If you’re a lawyer, accountant, marketing or HR professional, help our founders problem solve, game plan, and learn ways to integrate strong practices into their models.
Add your voice. Share your Dream of Change. Vote on which businesses Elevate accepts and how the Community Managed Fund spends its returns in your area.
Fund the accelerator. This work requires the support of people, foundations, and corporations who believe in the power for all entrepreneurs to thrive and grow our region’s economy.
Investors partner with our organization to fund the education and acceleration of our ventures. They’re committed to empowering our ventures to create systemic change through innovation.
Help Elevate recruit from your network of entrepreneurs by nominating founders and co-hosting events.