WHAT IS ELEVATE/ELEVAR?
The Elevate/Elevar Accelerator is a 6-month entrepreneurship development program for Black & Latinx entrepreneurs. Through the Accelerator, we support founders with curriculum, connections, community, and access to capital through grants. We also support founders with interest-free loans in partnership with Kiva and a founder-focused investment fund.
ELEVATE/ELEVAR ACCELERATOR TIMELINE
- 1/18 - 2/5: Applications open
- 2/12: All entrepreneurs notified if they made it to the next round
- 2/15-2/217: Semi-finalists' interviewed
- 2/19: Finalists announced
- 2/19 - 2/24: Community vote
- 2/26 - Cohort of ten entrepreneurs announced
- 3/2 & 3/4: Entrepreneur onboarding begins (additional dates in March tbd)
- 4/1: Accelerator & curriculum begins
Elevate/Elevar is a direct response to both need and opportunity. From 1983 to 2013, our nation’s median wealth decreased by 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/Elevar Accelerator, as a Village Capital Community, is part of an international network that supports ready-to-scale companies. Our program offers St. Louis-based founders:
Cohort learning — Investment readiness curriculum with proven track record of 91% survival rate, 8.6x more investments raised, 43% more revenue generated and 43% more jobs created than non-cohort companies. (Our 2020 cohort increased monthly sales more than 300% during the Accelerator.)
1:1 Coaching — Bi-monthly 1:1s with customer growth and acquisition business coach, monthly customizable workshops and office hours with legal, human resources, technology, accounting and marketing professionals based on cohort needs, and an advisory board of mentors
In-kind professional services — Branding & marketing services from a top agency in St. Louis, paid accountant and Quickbooks account for duration of the program with potential for discounted services after
Access to capital — $5,000 in equity-free grants, customer acquisition stipend to pilot and test SEO and ads, and forums and meet-ups with 20+ lenders, non-traditional funders and investors, venture capitalists
- Support for you as a human — Therapist / wellness coaches to ensure emotional and mental wellness needs are met
The community vote is a process that allows us to follow the lead of Black communities who have experienced generations of economic disinvestment. It allows us to activate community power, create space for community voice, and gives the communities we serve an opportunity to help us select what businesses do, or do not, work with our communities.
We are especially hoping to hear from residents in wards 3 and 21. Type in your address here to check what ward you live in: https://www.stlouis-mo.gov/government/departments/aldermen/Wards-1-28.cfm. The Community Vote will be held from 2/22-2/25. You will be able to vote via our website by clicking the “Vote” button at the top of our website.
2021 Elevate/Elevar Finalists
Wine boutique with exclusive wines, beers, and more.
Ciara Imani May
Biodegradable hair extensions and synthetic hair recycling.
Peruvian handmade bags and apparel made with minimal waste.
U.S based in-flight fuel transfer service for longer flights.
Vegan certified manufacturer of frozen fresh black beans and sauces.
Custom-fitted diabetic shoes and insoles.
Early learning center for children, including special needs.
3D printed self watering planters for office, home, and garden.
In-home private dining experience with an executive chef.
Multi-state and virtual mental health counseling group.
Coffee shop with ethically sourced coffee from Honduras.
Small batch ice cream with fresh and local ingredients.
Cleaning and sanitation services for homes and businesses.
Locally owned full service sewer and drain cleaning company.
Locally made jewelry collection with recycled metals and gemstones.
Chemical and acrylic free nail care salon.
Afrocentric handmade jewelry and healing services.
Toxic free and vegan friendly detoxing deodorant.
Handmade and custom blend herbs and essential oils.
Gourmet butter toffee popcorn.
Stylish and wearable protective technology for low-light and hazardous environments.
MEET THE MEMBERS OF THE 2020 ELEVATE/ELEVAR COHORT
Eemerg allows users to pick the nearest available roadside assistance service provider with a budget in mind. The Eemerge platform connects users directly with those who are available and qualified to assist the user in real time.
Shine In All Shades Adult Coloring Book Series + workshops addresses self care & the issue of colorism via hand drawn illustrations paired with positive affirmations - which help cultivate safe & fun spaces for our communities to shine unapologetically!
Apiary @ The Park is a cultural Co-working space for creative entrepreneurs, freelancers, as well as new and established small businesses.
Heru transforms food desert areas into healthy and sustainable environments by acquiring and revitalizing land to provide quality organic foods and herbal goods and donates some produce to elderly and single parents.
Winnie Caldwell & Sidney Keys III
Books N Bros is a youth-led book club for boys, which is a subscription-based program to advocate for African American literacy.
Designs, engineers and fabricates custom furnishings and interiors, using ethically sourced materials, with the aid of automated technology.
Original Family Smoke House is a Plant-Based food company that provides 100% vegan comfort classic meals.
Dimensions is a mobile game designed to introduce college students & transplants to their new city and to foster community engagement through augmented reality experiences with longer-term residents and organizations.
Butter Love provides all natural skin care products that help to heal, soothe and moisturize the masses.
Tiffany Elise Wesley
Pure Vibes is a worker-owned company that creates essential wellness products, including artisan-made soaps and aromatherapy products, that elevate our customers and communities.