The St. Louis Regional Chamber Diverse Business Accelerator’s inaugural cohort launches today with a class of 11 diverse business owners ready to advance their enterprise.
The Diverse Business Accelerator is for diverse and women-owned business owners looking to advance their business objectives and build capacity. In the span of three months, the program walks owners through how to develop their business goals, market and communicate their services, make meaningful business connections, and prepare for growth. The Diverse Business Accelerator focuses on teaching business owners how to attract capital, operationally execute contracts, secure funding, find new contracts, and expand existing agreements.
The inaugural cohort of the Diverse Business Accelerator includes:
- Yvena Atkins, Sweet St. Louis Food Tours
- Kayla Dennis, US Essential Supply & Services
- Sriram Devanathan, Medical Guidance Systems
- Brittanie Goldsby, Speaker Leaks
- Shequana Hughes, The SAVA Group
- Trish Jensen, milliCare
- Kesha Kent, MrsKeshSpeaks
- Shayba Muhammad, Mahnal
- Hetal Parikh, Rangam Consulting
- Ravi Sahu, Strayos
- Emily Smith, Splaced
Participants will have access to a network of business coaches, industry leaders, mentors, and resources to help guide them through the program. Christy Maxfield, President & CEO of Purpose First Advisors, and Keisha Mabry, author and “friendworking” speaker, are some of the facilitators program participants will learn from. As a program built to connect diverse business owners with vital resources and expertise, the Diverse Business Accelerator is appreciative to have strong support from its partners and sponsors: Facebook, Multipass, Reliance Bank, St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, St. Louis Minority Business Development Agency, and Sterling Bank.
Christian Johnson, co-founder and CEO of Multipass and a partner of the Diverse Business Accelerator, says the Diverse Business Accelerator helps bridge the gap between diverse business owners and necessary growth resources. “This partnership is creating an inclusive pipeline that helps build a thriving startup ecosystem in our region,” says Johnson.
The Regional Chamber’s Director of Inclusive Business Solutions Lakesha Mathis affirms the Diverse Business Accelerator is an important step towards making St. Louis a more robust economic hub. "I believe we have a responsibility as the Regional Chamber, the region’s largest business organization, to play a role in the success of our region’s small diverse and women-owned businesses," Mathis says.
The Diverse Business Accelerator will have three cohorts in 2019 with the first cohort kicking off on mid-February. If you’re interested in connecting with diverse business owners or are interested in joining the Next Diverse Business Accelerator cohort, come to our kickoff event on February 20th at 8:00 a.m. at the St. Louis Regional Chamber’s offices, One Metropolitan Square, Suite 1300, St. Louis, MO 63102.