Venture Noire launches new cohort program following $1.3m grant from Walton Family Foundation

Venture Noire launches new cohort program following $1.3m grant from Walton Family Foundation

Published: 17-03-2021 14:40:00 | By: Pie Kamau | hits: 883 | Tags:

Venture Noire, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting Black and minority entrepreneurs, announced the recipient of a multi-year grant from the Walton Family Foundation for a second consecutive year, totaling $1.3 million. Through support from the grant, Venture Noire will launch In The Black, a new program which will facilitate eight-week courses dedicated to advancing the overall health of Black-owned businesses in key fields like consumer technology, healthcare and fintech. 

In the Black cohorts will culminate with a showcase in Northwest Arkansas attended by industry leaders and investors. Venture Noire is recruiting qualified entrepreneurs, across the US, to join the inaugural course program, interested candidates can apply here. Venture Noire's In The Black seeks to address income inequality by improving minority workforce creation and development, ultimately helping to close the racial wealth gap in America.

Today, a vast majority of conversations and corporate funds dedicated to supporting Black-owned businesses are aimed at improving access to Venture Capital investment for Black entrepreneurs. While that is an important step, less than 1% of all businesses, regardless of the founder's race, receive VC dollars and of that, only around 1% of VC dollars goes to entrepreneurs of color.

Instead of focusing on securing investments, a time consuming process which often takes the entrepreneurs focus away from operations and growth, Venture Noire's In the Black courses will educate entrepreneurs on identifying and achieving other key impact metrics such as increased revenue and payroll per employee. Improving the health of Black-owned businesses will create an opportunity for those within the community to build generational wealth which over time will close the gap.

Yee Lin Lai, Program Officer, Walton Family Foundation: "Venture Noire is making significant strides in advancing inclusive entrepreneurship in Northwest Arkansas. Through innovative programming, the organization will support local Black-owned businesses and draw minority talent to the region."

Venture Noire is currently sourcing additional sponsorships and brand partners to collaborate in identifying issues that contribute to the widening wealth gap. By launching specific courses, Venture Noire is arming entrepreneurs and professionals with the tools and knowledge needed to create a solution. Through the signature 8-week program, minority entrepreneurs will attend workshops and mentoring sessions that will help them understand how to manage and improve their business. At the end of each course, Venture Noire will host a showcase in Northwest Arkansas where participants will present their businesses to industry leaders and investors.

Keenan Beasley, Founder, Venture Noire: "I see a lot of entrepreneurs lose confidence when they're not able to pull in millions of dollars in VC investment like we constantly see of some startups in the news. Seeing this pains me because too many entrepreneurs believe that VC capital is the only way to be successful, or to prove that your business is successful. It's my goal to teach aspiring entrepreneurs that there are other, often more attainable ways to scale a business and I hope that by doing so we will create healthier and longer lasting Black-owned businesses. I am extremely grateful to the Walton Family Foundation for continuing their belief in Venture Noire and the change we're looking to create."

In addition to the launch of In The Black, Venture Noire is also launching educational networking events and a podcast through its Cafe Noire program to create a community and a space for exploration for aspiring entrepreneurs. Looking ahead, as it becomes safe and practical to do so, Venture Noire plans to create an Entrepreneur Village summit series where current and future business leaders will participate in immersive experiences while strengthening their business tactics and network.