This Black Woman-Led Accelerator Is Positioning Small Black Businesses To Thrive Against The Odds—Here's How

Dr. Lakeysha Hallmon’s work has unapologetically centered the advancement of the Black community. Her latest announcement is no exception.

Hallmon’s entrepreneurial hub, The Village Market (TVM) and non-profit, Our Village United (OVU) announced earlier this month the national expansion of their ELEVATE program with ELEVATED CITIES. Launching top of next year, the program will be back and better than ever with support from Mastercard’s “In Solidarity” initiative.

“Our Village United’s work started in the midst of the pandemic when the future of small businesses, especially Black-owned small businesses was uncertain,” said Hallmon in a news release. “Since 2020, we’ve been able to make a tremendous impact on over 250 Black-owned small businesses, and it’s a dream realized to be able to scale our impact nationally. This program is an opportunity for Black entrepreneurs to gain the resources and funding they need to build sustainable businesses. I am thrilled to be doing this work with the support of a partner like Mastercard that understands the importance of investing in Black-owned businesses and the role their success plays in advancing the Black community as a whole.”

ELEVATED CITIES will provide wrap-around support for solopreneurs and microbusinesses through targeted capital grants, technical and wellness support for small business owners that usually face capacity issues.

Hallmon founded her organizations in 2016 with the goal of highlighting Black founders, and calling more wide spread attention to their work.

“This was a time, this was in 2016 — when a lot of the conversations were about going digital. I know there’s power in being communal, being in person and seeing people buying from Black folks, I know what that does,” Dr. Hallmon said in an interview with AfroTech. “There’s nothing like it. So, while the talk was about tech, I wanted to talk about building villages, building communities, and allowing that to be an economic model for families.”

Those selected to participate in will receive access to $100,000 in grant opportunities and targeted resources over the course of the 12-week program.

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