Elevate/Elevar 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 program 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
Koran Bolden shares a few words with Elevate/Elevar applicants as they approach the application finish line.
According to a report by Diversity VC and Rate My Investor, less than 1% of all venture capital funding supports black entrepreneurs and 1.8% of funding backs Latino founders. The St. Louis organization WEPOWER aims to boost those percentages. Recently, the company initiated Elevate/Elevar, an accelerator program for black and Latino entrepreneurs.
Read the Post-Dispatch’s coverage of Elevate/Elevar. “The goal is for each firm in the cohort to receive $30,000 within the first couple of months of the program.”
This is the 5th Annual Vision Symposium. Vision is the region’s largest and ONLY inclusion innovation conference celebrating, educating, and supporting women, people of color, and immigrant emerging entrepreneurs and existing business owners.
Apply to the region’s only accelerator for Black and Latinx entrepreneurs of early-stage companies!
Black and Latinx entrepreneurs receive less than 2% of startup funding. <2%!! And we want to talk about it!
Charli Cooksey and Darren Jackson discuss how to use the Elevate/Elevar application as a tool to improve your business's investment-readiness. During the webinar, they share tips, answer lingering questions, and prepare you to hit submit!
Read the report detailing the design of the regions only accelerator for Black and Latinx founders committed to St. Louis.
Start your application in just two minutes!
Working on your application to Elevate/Elevar? We created a playlist just for you!
Find answers to your application questions and tips on to become more investment-ready here!
With the launch of the Elevate/Elevar accelerator, WEPOWER founder Charli Cooksey calls for all hands on deck in the pursuit of transforming the St. Louis entrepreneurial ecosystem.
The entrepreneurial ecosystem comes with a lot of jargon. Here are a few definitions to help with orientation.