On March 16, 2023, Square launched FORWARD, an accelerator program in partnership with Social Change Fund United to support Black and Latino entrepreneurs with retail businesses.
Business owners of color are leading America’s entrepreneurship boom. More than 5 million new business applications were filed in 2022, and Black and Latino Americans are opening more businesses than any other group. Despite these successes, Black and Latino business owners still face systemic barriers to achieving long-term sustainability, which result in higher closure rates. The accelerator aims to help reduce premature closures of these businesses by providing education, mentorship, coaching, and capital, because all businesses should be able to participate and thrive in the economy.
American Express, which is supporting and amplifying small businesses to help communities thrive across the U.S. through their Shop Small initiative, is proud to support this program through the funding and coaching opportunities for participants. 1863 Ventures will provide programmatic support and each participant will receive small business checking and savings accounts and a reader for contactless and chip payments from Square.
Over the course of one month, 25 participants will gain valuable and actionable knowledge to apply to their business with self-guided training developed by 1863 Ventures, spanning topics like leadership, customer development, scaling operations, and scenario planning. Throughout the curriculum, participants will also engage in 1:1 coaching sessions with an experienced executive.
Mentors include social activist, serial entrepreneur, and NBA All-Star Dwyane Wade; actress, activist, designer, and businesswoman Rosario Dawson; restaurateur, chef and bestselling author Ayesha Curry and financial advisors and podcast hosts of Earn Your Leisure, Rashad Bilal and Troy Millings.
After completion of the program, all 25 participants will receive $20,000 each.
An accelerator for Black and Latino entrepreneurs by Square
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Apply to FORWARD
Learn more about the program qualifications for FORWARD, a business accelerator for Black and Latino entrepreneurs by Square. Use this application to apply to FORWARD and have your financials, business plan, and incorporation papers on hand. The deadline for applications is April 1, 2023, and accepted participants will be announced on April 10, 2023.