With a new $1.3 million grant, Venture Noire will be launching a new program designed to advance Black-owned businesses in key industries.
The new program, In The Black, will provide eight-week courses to minority entrepreneurs with an aim of addressing income equality, minority workforce creation and the racial wealth gap. Each program cohort will feature a Northwest Arkansas showcase attended by business leaders and investors.
During the program, cohort participants will attend workshops and mentoring sessions designed to improve their businesses, providing them with new tools and knowledge. The showcase will serve as an opportunity to pitch their businesses to local stakeholders.
The Walton Family Foundation is supporting In The Black, providing a multi-year, $1.3 million grant to Venture Noire. This is the second consecutive year Venture Noire has received a Walton Family Foundation grant.
“Venture Noire is making significant strides in advancing inclusive entrepreneurship in Northwest Arkansas,” Walton Family Foundation program officer Yee Lin Lai said in a statement. “Through innovative programming, the organization will support local Black-owned businesses and draw minority talent to the region.”
Through In The Black, minority entrepreneurs will learn how to identify and achieve important metrics, such as increased revenue and payroll per employee, rather than pursue traditional venture capital investment. According to a Venture Noire release, less than one percent of all businesses receive venture capital funding, and only one percent of venture capital funding goes to entrepreneurs of color.
“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 success,” Venture Noire founder Keenan Beasley said. “”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.”
Other plans are on the horizon for Venture Noire, including educational networking events and a new podcast through its Café Noire program. In the future, the nonprofit plans to create an Entrepreneur Village summit series, designed to bring together current and future business leaders.
To apply to join Venture Noire’s inaugural In The Black cohort, email [email protected]