The Village Market (TVM) and its non-profit arm, Our Village United (OVU), announced today the official launch of its first cohort of the ELEVATED CITIES national incubator program. In partnership with Mastercard’s “In Solidarity” initiative, the national program will focus on cities across the country including Atlanta, Los Angeles, St. Louis, New Orleans, New York City, Dayton, Birmingham, Washington D.C., Marylandand Virginia. The first cohort includes 125 Black-owned businesses across these cities and more.
Designed to provide opportunities for Black-owned businesses to scale for growth, ELEVATED CITIES will provide selected businesses targeted capital grants, technical assistance, shared professional services and wellness support. Selected small businesses will be awarded grants ranging from $10,000 to $15,000. TVM and OVU will also be extending support to Black-owned businesses in Charlotte, Dallas, Houston, Memphis, Miami, Montgomery, Phoenixand Norristown, Pa. through the program.
“Through ELEVATE, our mission is to equip and position our village of small businesses to thrive despite systemic barriers that impact their ability to scale. Our goal is to address these barriers to ensure that Black-owned small businesses can access the resources they need to build sustainable businesses,” says Dr. Lakeysha Hallmon, Founder and CEO of The Village Market. “Through this national expansion, we are able to impact more amazing and innovative Black founders across the country – and most importantly, connect them to assistance and opportunities that could serve as catalysts for growth. I’m thrilled to officially launch our programming nationally with this cohort of amazing businesses.”
The first cohort of businesses will participate in a 12-week incubation period where they will receive access to $100,000in grant opportunities, business development classes, mentorship programs and professional and technical support services. As a core tenet of the program, business owners are also connected with wellness support led by licensed wellness coaches and mental health practitioners.
“We are proud to work with Our Village United to support more businesses getting access to this catalytic program that will foster their growth and full participation in the digital economy,” said Salah Goss, Senior Vice President of Social Impact for North America at the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth. “It is exciting to see the ELEVATE program expand nationally and we are eager to continue to partner with Dr. Hallmon and her team not only in Atlanta where we continue to deepen our engagement, but also in additional cities.”
ELEVATED CITIES is the national expansion of OVU’s highly successful ELEVATE program, which works to provide wrap-around support for solopreneurs and micro businesses. Launched in 2021, ELEVATE has tremendously impacted over 250 Black-owned small businesses serving as a model for holistically addressing the barriers founders experience in operations, marketing, sales and funding.
To learn more about ELEVATED CITIES and the selected businesses, please visit ourvillageunited.org/elevated-cities/.