An Accelerator for Black and Latino entrepreneurs by Square

An accelerator for Black and Latino entrepreneurs by Square

THE MISSION   For Black and Latino entrepreneurs, there’s only one direction to go — forward. Despite long-standing systemic barriers, they continue to build businesses and impact their communities.

Only 4% of Black-owned businesses survive the start-up stage, even though 20% of Black people in the U.S. start businesses.1person-with-bookdon-t-destroy-black-businessperson-looking-at-camera

Latino-owned businesses are only half as likely as their counterparts to receive the funding they apply for,2 even when Latino entrepreneurs are the fastest-growing segment of entrepreneurs.3person-in-kitchenperson-in-armchairpeople-in-barbershop

It’s time to equalize access to resources and capital, because all businesses should be able to participate and thrive in the economy. -^


What is Forward?

FORWARD is an accelerator program by Square for early-stage,* U.S.-based Black and Latino small businesses in the retail sector.

We’re doing our part to increase access to the necessary capital, products, financial literacy, and coaching to help achieve business success and sustainability.

Because Black businesses bring in $141 billion in revenue and provide 1.3 million jobs. Because Latino-owned businesses create $472 billion in revenue and employ 2.9 million workers.4

The more Black and Latino entrepreneurs receive support, the more their businesses grow, and the more we all move forward.

This program is brought to you in collaboration with Social Change Fund United, 1863 Ventures, and American Express.

* Businesses that have publicly launched and are currently within the first three years of operation with gross revenue between $25K–$500K. See more eligibility guidelines here.

The 2023 Cohort


Developed by 1863 Ventures, with a focus on outcomes over optics.


The details

  • How does the accelerator work?

    Over the course of one month, participants will gain valuable and actionable knowledge to apply to their business, spanning topics like managing finances and scaling growth. Participants will get exclusive access to self-guided training in addition to mentorship and 1:1 coaching sessions with an experienced executive who will work with them throughout the program curriculum.

  • Who can qualify for the accelerator?

    FORWARD is for retail businesses with the following background:

    • Business incorporation is registered under clothing & accessories, health & beauty, home goods & furniture, or food & beverage sectors
    • Owned, operated by, founded by, or have a current CEO who identifies as Black/African American or Latino
    • Based in the U.S.
    • Have publicly launched and currently in the first three years of operation (i.e., cannot be in alpha, beta, or stealth)
    • Reporting gross revenue within $25K – $500K
    • Existing Square sellers or new prospects; new prospects must switch over to Square products within 60 days of completing the accelerator program
  • How much funding will participants receive?

    A total of 25 awardees will receive $20,000 each after completion of the accelerator program. Completion is achieved after participants finish all four lessons of the curriculum, weekly assignments, weekly meetings with coaches, and the final pitch deck competition.

  • How do I apply?

    The deadline for applications was April 1, 2023 and applications are now closed. Accepted participants will be contacted on April 10, 2023.

    Read program and participant terms and conditions ->


From the first little white reader to today’s entire ecosystem of hardware and software, we help businesses run things on their own terms.

That’s our mission — empowering all businesses because we believe everyone should have access to the economy and be able to participate and thrive.

Learn more ->


Social Change Fund

Program partner

Created by philanthropists, entrepreneurs, and NBA superstars Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, and Dwyane Wade to support critical and timely issues impacting the Black community.


AMEXProgram sponsorAmerican Express is committed to backing the success of underrepresented businesses by providing access to funding, resources and tools to help further their impact.LEARN MORE ->636412039b19030710408f0b 1863 with TM-p-500 1Curriculum partner1863 Ventures accelerates Black and Brown entrepreneurs from high potential to high growth through rigorous leadership training and strategic market access.LEARN MORE ->


Open to the public and fellow business owners alike, join us in Miami for a day of celebration, community, and conversation.

Learn more →

1McKinsey & Company “Building supportive ecosystems for Black-owned US businesses” Oct 2020
2Fed Small Business “Small Business Credit Survey: 2021 Report on Firms Owned By People of Color” Jun 2021 “Latino-owned businesses are seeing record growth. Big banks are still not funding them.” Feb 2021
4US Census “Census Bureau Releases New Data on Minority-Owned, Veteran-Owned and Women-Owned Businesses” Nov 2022