WHAT IS WEPOWER ACCELERATOR?
The WEPOWER Accelerator is a 10-week 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.
- March 3rd: Applications Open
- March 10th @ 11-1pm: Application Support Office Hours
- March 17th @ 4-6pm: Application Support Office Hours
- March 24th @ 11:59pm: Applications Close
- March 18th-27th: Application Scoring
- March 30th & 31st: Semi-finalists Interviews
- April 8th-11th: Selection
- April 14th: Orientation
- April 26th: Cohort 3 Public Announcement
- April 26th-May 24th: Onboarding
- May 26th: Workshop 1
And how is our last cohort doing?
Seeing the incredible success and impact of our inaugural cohort has been rewarding and energized us to continue this work. The first cohort saw an average increase of 3.5x in their monthly revenue following the completion of the program. They’ve also retained 100 percent of their team members and accessed a total of $400,000 in seed capital! Supporting accomplished Black and Latinx entrepreneurs from within our own community to thrive is at the heart of WEPOWER, and we can’t wait to see the amazing work that the cohort undertakes in 2021.
As always, thank you for your continued support. If you’re interested in learning more about how you can support these talented community members through investment, mentorship or would like to become a guest expert for a workshop, please email [email protected]
SPRING '22 Cohort
Shelby Farr owns Shelby Marie, a luxury fragrance bar in Ferguson where anyone and everyone can make their own personal fragrance blends and bath & body products with the help of a master formulator.
Robin Taylor owns Infinite Occasions LLC, a full service banquet hall offering both onsite and offsite catering with full-service packages that include food, decor and room rental for any budget.
Monique Richard owns Monique Cherise Beauty Boutiques, an innovative private salon suite that offers beauty professionals and business owners private suites to service their clients in a one-on-one atmosphere where luxury, relaxation and a warm, welcoming atmosphere is priority.
Justin Harris owns Saint Louis Hop Shop, a craft beer shop & bar with the best selection of craft beer in the St Louis area, offering a variety of speciality craft beers, small batch spirits and natural wines.
Edwin Ariza is the CEO of Systemico, a software developer and service provider for startups that supports founders with the creation and development of their minimum viable products plus version releases, bug fixes and more.
Branden Griffin is the CEO of Juggernaut Syndicate Corporation, a virtual & automated logistics company training the next generation of CDL drivers and transportation business owners.
Timothy Eleby owns Pure Catering STL, a hospitality & food company serving St Louis area childcare centers and government centers plus running the café at the St Louis History Museum and more.
Tony Davis owns Pop Pop Hurray LLC, a premium gourmet popcorn shop offering a variety of flavor and topping options from St Louis staples like flaming hot buffalo to fun flavors like waltermelon, chili and banana pudding.
Patrice Johnson owns Patrice J. Bridal, a full-service bridal studio offering ready to wear bridal, custom dressmaking and alterations for all women of all sizes. Ps...this is the 1st black-owned bridal retailer in the greater STL area.
Wydonna Sumpter owns The Ultimate Cosmetology and Barber Academy, a community based cosmetic training & arts school with trades in esthetician, barber, cosmetology and nail technician.
Reginald Quarles owns Teatopia®, a tearoom, restaurant and safe space for all with a curated selection of in-house tea mixes for tea lovers, tea beginners and everyone in between.
MEET OUR ALUM
Jessica Black owns Jessie B’s Academy which is an early learning center for all children, including those with special needs. She hopes to open more academy locations throughout the St. Louis area to provide quality daycare to kids and parents in the community she considers to be family. Jessica was inspired to start Jessie B’s after the experiences she faced growing up with a learning disability and wanting to nurture St. Louis’s next generation of doctors and lawyers.
Melissa Douglass owns Goal Driven Counseling which is a multi-state, virtual, mental health counseling group. In five years, she hopes GDC becomes a nationally licensed model to further destigmatize mental healthcare and decrease barriers while increasing access to Black, inclusive and culturally responsive providers. Melissa decided to follow her heart and start GDC to modernize therapy and make it more comfortable for minority communities to embrace their mental health journeys.
Patrick Clapp owns Coffeestamp, a local coffee shop that uses ethically sourced coffee from Honduras. He hopes to open two more locations in the next 5 years, while having a lasting impact on supporting a self-sustaining coffee bean farm in Honduras. Patrick decided to start Coffeestamp to create economic opportunity in his home country of Honduras and in his new home city of St. Louis with a commitment to environmental sustainability.
Rachel Burns owns Bold Spoon Creamery, which makes small batch premium ice cream with fresh and local ingredients. Rachel dreams of growing Bold Spoon to have a staff to execute events, help with production and collaborate with local farmers to source ingredients; while continuing to promote STEM education through the science of ice cream making and entrepreneurship. Stemming from making mint ice cream as a hobby using mint from her backyard, Rachel decided to begin Bold Spoon when ice cream making turned into a passion.
Estie Cruz-Curoe owns del Carmen which is a local vegan-certified manufacturer of frozen fresh black beans and sauces. She envisions del Carmen becoming a leader in the natural and healthy specialty food space with an emphasis on community involvement and sustainable crops. As a proud Cuban-American, Estie decided to start del Carmen when she saw the absence of authentic Cuban food in the midwest.
Shamel Robinson owns Sonder Lush Nail Studio which is a nail care salon that uses chemical and acrylic free products. In five years, she hopes to effect legislative change in the nail industry and dreams of Sonder Lush becoming the go-to destination for clean beauty needs, equipped with a mobile nail salon truck and a medical spa. After being dissatisfied with the selection of nail shops in her community, Shamel decided to open Sonder Lush to build a culture of consciousness and wellness with local service and product options.
Reginald Jennings owns Rooterman which is a locally-owned full service sewer and drain cleaning company. He dreams of providing his employees with a starting salary of $60,000 to better to support themselves and their families. Reginald decided to open Rooterman after seeing the lack of representation in the plumbing field and wanting to give his son a brighter future.
Jaquan Vassel owns Vassel’s Comfort Shoes & Custom Insoles which develops custom- fitted diabetic shoes and insoles. He hopes his business sets the expectation for other shoe providers to become properly trained in handling foot conditions to ensure quality service for all customers. He was moved to start Vassel’s when he saw too many people in his community that needed care being taken advantage of and wanted to support their health and comfort.
Tiffany Jones owns Cheryl’s Herbs Group which provides handmade custom blend herbs and essential oils. She hopes to increase accessibility to aromatherapy and herbs as plant medicine for people across the country and hopes through education, customers can help their friends and family understand and trust the products they use. Tiffany became the owner of Cheryl’s to honor the legacy of her mother by helping others who need alternative forms of healthcare.
Chantelle Nickson-Clark owns A&C's Wine Boutique which is a Wine boutique with exclusive wines, beers, and more. She wants to be able to gainfully employ those within our community, add a second location, and mentor other budding business owners with the valuable information learned from WEPOWER Accelerator.
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.