10 Black Women-Owned Retail Businesses Are Getting A Boost Through Louisiana Retail Accelerator Program

Black women may be the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs, but they still face some of the same struggles hindering major success.

The Urban League of Louisiana (ULLA) recently announced the launch of the Retail Accelerator Program, a new initiative in collaboration with several other National Urban League Entrepreneurship Centers countrywide. The National Urban League described the initiative as a commitment to support Black women in retail.

“We are proud to offer this unique program in support of Black women in retail across Louisiana and applaud National Urban League and Walmart for being intentional in their efforts to support Black women founders,” said Urban League Louisiana President and CEO Judy Reese Morse.

According to Biz New Orleans, the program will support 10 Black women-owned retail businesses in Louisiana in areas such as:

  • Entrepreneurial training and support.
  • Women in retail leadership development program.
  • WBE and MBE certification assistance.
  • Bid prep training and assistance.
  • Mentor, protégé, and peer-to-peer partner programs and financial empowerment and access to capital services.

Klassi Duncan, vice president of ULLA’s Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, said participants would have the opportunity to learn about capacity building, distribution, go-to-market strategies, supply chain management, and access to capital from several retail experts. “One of the biggest challenges that small businesses face is getting access to the right resources to scale in meeting the needs of large big box retailers. This program directly addresses this challenge and much more,” Duncan said.

ULLA’s program goals will focus on amplifying the marketability of Black women-owned retail businesses and assist with job creation and retention to grow the businesses into multi-employee firms. The program will provide direct assistance with business certifications, public and private contracting, and leadership development.

The 2023 inaugural cohort includes Sherilyn Hayward of Leroy’s LipSmack’n Lemonade; Tiffany Brown of Wicks Nola Candle Company; Natashia Paul of Chuupul Leather; Paige Alexander of L’Jai Amor; Keishia Deverney of Element Beverage; Jacqueline Arvie of Jax’s Creole Kitchen; Laportia Cooper of Nola Botanical Tea; Julie Vaucresson of Creole Made Easy; Joyce Galmon of Joyce’s Sweets Inc.; and Brittney Hawkins-Dobard of Nola Cookie Co.

Walmart sponsors the Retail Accelerator Program through the Center for Racial Equity.