For startups, a popular method to stand out from competitors is by participating in accelerators. Accelerators are programs that provide startups with advice, guidance, and various forms of support in the early stages of the companies. Here are some accelerator programs that specialize in the mentorship of minority-founded businesses.
They include Minority Venture Partners, DivInc, NewMe and Manos Accelerator
For startups, there are numerous paths for getting their name out there. One way, which Vator has been covering recently, are startup competitions, but another popular method to get a foot in the door, as well as some funding and traction, are accelerators. These are programs that provide companies advice, guidance and various forms of support for startups in their early stages. They also often invest in the companies, for a certain equity stake.
Need a list of startup competitions, challenges, accelerators, etc. from around the world? Check out VatorX. You can find them, or list yours!
There are some very well-known accelerators out there, including Y Combinator and 500 Startups, which have made their names through various successful alumni. Those programs fairly general, accepting companies from a variety of different spaces.
For some companies, it may help to join an accelerator that only focuses on their specific area. That's especially true for those in more specialized spaces, which will have their own unique challenges and regulations.
Here are some of the accelerators that are focused specifically on mentoring companies with minority founders:
"MVP'S MISSION IS TO INCREASE AND EXPAND MINORITY AND WOMEN-LED TECH COMPANIES ACROSS THE TRI-STATE AREA.
Investment amount: Not specified
- The MVP Accelerator is a venture-in-residence program at the NYIT School of Management-Center for Entrepreneurial Studies (SOMCES). SOMCES is a premiere and distinguishable leader in entrepreneurship education and provides access to tech talent, faculty research, and expertise to manage successful entrepreneurial ventures in the context of a technological and global market place.
- MVP launched its technical assistance programs to support more than mobile, social, or ventures led by minorities and women. The Accelerator also supports end-to-end product development through augmented reality, 3D printing, and Circuit-board Fabrication. These resources will further support the development of scalable in communities of color.
- MVP offers a comprehensive calendar of business education events in NYC in supplement to it’s training bootcamps. These programs serve to connect groups of emerging entrepreneurs, startups, and early-growth companies to thought leadership and innovators in tech entrepreneurship.
Mentor makeup: Startups will gain an immense amount of condensed experience through hands-on mentoring, connections to extremely targeted industry insiders, and exposure to investors and the press contacts.
Portfolio companies: CoSign, iBlaze The Map, BLACK NOISE MEDIA, LOH Vision Realty Touch Screen
"The Refinery was founded in mid-2014 to fuel the growth of companies with diverse teams. Through an intense, customized curriculum and structured mentoring, companies develop a growth and funding strategy that is supported by an engaged community of peers, advisors and investors."
Investment amount: A key component of our program is to provide guidance on access to capital, and all funding sources. And, our experienced mentors work with each company on their fundraising needs and strategies as well as developing the right connections.
We have strong relationships with several angel groups and individual investors that participate throughout the program. And, we are currently working on a fund that will make investments in our most promising graduates.
- Non-resident, X-Industry
- Weekly hands-on, problem solving webinars/workshops led by experts
- One on one weekly mentor meetings
- Connections to over 80+ mentors, advisors and investors
- Emphasis on 4 key tracks, Sales & Marketing, Leadership & Building Your Team, Raising Capital, The Ask & The Pitch
- Participation in Refinery Alumni Events and Pitch Competitions
Mentor makeup: Chris Gelnaw, North Shutsharawan, Galia Gichon, Lesley Stroll
Portfolio companies: The Local Vault, PregPrep, Gestvision, Level Up Village
"A Pre-Accelerator Focused on Championing Diversity in the Tech Startup Ecosystem"
Investment amount: Not specified
- DivInc offers immersive programming, weekly "accelerate your growth" workshops led by notable tech founders and investors, pitch coaching and investment readiness
- Work in a collaborative, non-competitive environment with weekly networking/volunteer opportunities, team dinners and access to a strong alumni network
- Get matched with mentors for weekly meetings, gain one-on-one access to investors and leverage our onsite entrepreneur-in-residence throughout the program
Mentor makeup: Kyle Ballarta, Sara Brand, Ben Cantey, Dawn Jones
Portfolio companies: BigMouff, disruptED, feverfit, Hairu, InPharm Global, Love Intently, MiraLend, Tekhniteo, Xplosion Tech
Investment amount: One of our biggest learnings since we launched is that it simply doesn’t make sense to take equity from companies that are too early. Additionally, many early stage businesses are in the development process and don't really know what they will be when they “grow up” yet still need access to the information and resources so they can get there. That's why many of our services are now fee based so you can relax and learn without the pressure of future returns.
Program benefits: The fee includes:
- Room and board
- All meals
- Your training for the week
- Access to our network
Mentor makeup: We’ve noticed that many entrepreneurs prefer to work with a dedicated coach in addition to our core program for maximum results. After joining NewME entrepreneurs have the option of getting private coaching via requesting feedback through our platform or requesting one-on-one sessions with one of our coaches.
Portfolio companies: AgLocal, Butlr, Citizen Made, Helpr, Kairos
"With a close-knit community of industry-leading mentors, organizations, and investors, Manos Accelerator aims to disrupt the traditional accelerator model by accelerating the growth of the technology ecosystem while filling a critical talent gap currently in the startup market: the development of Latino entrepreneurs."
Investment amount: 4% equity stake
- Startups will have the opportunity to experience the Google Launch Pad accelerator program for one week in San Francisco.
- Also, the Entrepreneurial Sales modules will be featured everyday throughout the last week of the program.
- One on one meetings with assigned mentors from the Manos mentor network. Startups will have the opportunity to meet influencers at events throughout Silicon Valley.
Portfolio companies: Abogadazo, Amitee, SmileyGo, CoupleCare, Qritiqr
"Creating power through opportunity by supporting high-growth entrepreneurs of color nationwide."
Investment amount: Not specified
Program benefits: Our annual accelerator supports up to 6 maturing companies with a founder-friendly investment, free office space, coaching, networking, and expert mentorship.
Portfolio companies: Acrew, Better Weekdays, Blendoor, Myavana, Sworkit
"BUILDUP mentors, educates and connects underrepresented entrepreneurs in technology."
Investment amount: Does not take equity in its companies
- Free desk space in downtown SF for two weeks
Free access to partner products
Industry leading guest speakers including investors, successful entrepreneurs and technical experts
Technical product review
Demo day in San Francisco
Mentor makeup: Steve Blank, Kelly Hoey, Kathleen Warner, Dulé Hill
Portfolio companies: MobilePhire, Duet Commute, Cocoon Cam
"Tumml's mission is to empower entrepreneurs to solve urban problems. With a hands-on approach, Tumml provides entrepreneurs with the tools to help scale their impact and enhance quality of life in cities everywhere."
Investment amount: $20,000 in seed funding
- Mentorship from civic and government leaders, successful urban impact entrepreneurs, and investors
- $30K of in-kind services such as free desk space in downtown San Francisco, government advocacy, and web/ hosting
Portfolio companies: Akimbo, Chariot, Hitch, Kidadmit, Parko, Neighborly
"SEED SPOT is an organization deeply rooted in the community. We are a 501c3 nonprofit dedicated to supporting all social entrepreneurs creating a product, service, or technology that improves lives or makes the world a better place. We support entrepreneurs by surrounding them with the right access to resources, mentors, business fundamentals, community partners, capital sources, and anything they need to succeed."
Investment amount: Access to $10,000, 0% Loan
- 14 weeks of training
- 30 hours per week
- Deep dive on business model
- Branding, legal, operations
- In-depth weekly coaching
- 1:1 Mentoring
- Leadership development
- Financing opportunities
- Capital raising
- Media exposure
- Accredited investor event
Mentor makeup: Kim Hamby, Daniel Jones, Ketan Patel, Jesse Garcia, Kathy Foster
Portfolio companies: Commun.ity, Better People Company, Acqhired
(Image source: clinical.ku.edu)