Cohort Participants

Click on the icons below to find the Cohort participants who cover that region, or scroll down to view the entire list.








ADC champions African immigrants and refugees, helping them overcome barriers to financial security and success. Our staff is made up of highly qualified and talented individuals from an array of African nations, and they bring passion and wide-ranging expertise to serving the African community in Minnesota. We share and honor our generous sponsors’ vision—founded on the conviction that stimulating markets among the state’s growing ethnic communities benefits us all.




African Economic Development Solutions (AEDS) builds wealth within African immigrant communities through economic development activities. We work throughout the Twin Cities metropolitan area to create wealth, lift immigrant communities out of poverty, and contribute to and benefit from the region’s vibrant economy.

At AEDS, we take pride in our ability to link clients to vital resources and foster meaningful partnerships with neighborhood and grassroots-based organizations. Our extensive cross-cultural intelligence and technical expertise allows AEDS to unleash the power of entrepreneurship within the communities we serve.

Metropolitan Economic Development (Meda)


We help minority entrepreneurs succeed.

Our vision is to have thriving communities through equal economic participation.  We provide one-on-one business consulting, access to capital, and connections to market opportunities for minority entrepreneurs in Minnesota. Through these services, minority-owned businesses can become sustainable employers that create quality jobs with livable wages and health care.





What we do: We expand economic development opportunities and build wealth for entrepreneurs in north Minneapolis and surrounding communities.

We work with: Entrepreneurs who are thinking about starting a business and those who are already existing businesses owners.

We offer: Spaces to work, expert guidance from NEON Business Advisors, mentorship, business incubation and development, training, workshops and more!


Cul·ti·vate: Fostering the growth of Black-owned Food Businesses

At ProsperUs & FoodLab, we believe a necessary condition for cultivating communities of health is promoting self-reliance & unlocking the potential of current and aspiring food entrepreneurs who are dreaming up innovative approaches to make our local food system diverse, equitable and sustainable.

Together, we’ve created a yearlong fellowship with the aim of addressing the whole of the entrepreneur, by creating a cohort model approach that includes three things: education, mentorship and early stage seed funding.

CULTIVATE: We help individual food businesses start-up, grow, and experiment with ways to contribute to the greater good by incorporating triple-bottom-line values into long-term vision and day-to-day operations.

CONNECT: We can’t cultivate healthy businesses without a healthy ecosystem. So we help members build relationships with each other and with allies they’ll need along the way. Our specialty is unconventional connections across social and sector boundaries.

CATALYZE: Most challenges are too big for businesses to tackle alone. We work with our members, our allies, and our partners on big-picture projects in service of our vision to make good food a reality for all Detroiters.


ProsperUS Detroit is a place-based economic development strategy designed to empower low and moderate income, immigrant and minority individuals. Through place-based, culturally competent services, we strive to support the entrepreneurial spirit and small business community that exists in Detroit’s neighborhoods. We work to make an impact through Entrepreneur TrainingBusiness Services, and Micro-Lending. We hope to develop long-term relationships with Community Partners and entrepreneurs that will develop neighborhood leaders bolstering economic growth.




New York

Black Contractor’s Fund

The Black Contractor’s Fund (BCF) is a collaborative of Black-led NYC based CDFI organizations: TruFund Financial Services, Inc; Greater Jamaica Development Corporation; and Harlem Commonwealth Council/Harlem Entrepreneurial Fund. Each CDFI has made significant investment into Black communities and to Black entrepreneurs, in the form of capital & TA resources. As a collaborative, we have a shared goal of developing lending and technical assistance products designed to address barriers to resources, including access to capital, faced by Black business owners in New York City.

Harlem Commonwealth Council

HCC transforms the lives of community residents, including business owners, by equipping them with the tools and resources for a strong community. Our inspired staff and network of partners work hard to provide innovative solutions to entrepreneurship, youth development, and adult literacy — three pillars helping community residents achieve their highest potential.





TruFund Financial Services, Inc. is a wholly independent national non-profit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). TruFund seeks to stimulate economic development in communities that are underserved by traditional banking institutions by providing fair and accessible capital, hands-on technical assistance and innovative solutions to small businesses and nonprofit organization.







Now in its 50th year of service, Greater Jamaica Development Corporation (GJDC) embraces the role of urban pioneer on the cutting edge of the downtown revitalization. Using strategic deployment of our assets, we help guide and manage the revitalization in a way that connects the community to opportunities that result from the significant investment now occurring. Our projects and programs cover a wide range of activities including promoting responsible development, small business lending and technical support, area. We pay special attention to helping MWBE’s and last year provided service to over 500 of these businesses. In addition, we regularly organize and sponsor community outreach events which connect MWBE’s to development projects and/or provide valuable business resources. All our work supports place based economic development.

Our mission as a community development corporation is to expand economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for the economically and ethnically diverse residents of Jamaica and the region at large.


Westside Beltline Working Group

The Westside Beltline Working Group is committed to systemic, collective interventions to strengthen Black entrepreneurship. Convened by the Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative, we understand that creating a self-sustaining, economic ecosystem requires an equitable strategy marked by innovation and new economic structures. The $4.8 billion megaproject known as the Atlanta BeltLine promises transformative investment that will connect 45 neighborhoods with trails, transit, parks, and economic development. Our collaborative formed in 2018 to ensure legacy African-American business owners, entrepreneurs and residents experience the benefits of this wealth building opportunity. The WBWG has now moved from strategizing to action to focus our efforts on the Atlanta Westside Beltline. The BeltLine raises concerns about displacement of the existing business owners and residents. We will: identify ‘legacy” Black business owners that are at risk and provide access to capital, business education, training and technical assistance through partners to enhance their capacity for success to remain on the Beltline.

Access to Capital For Entrepreneurs (ACE)

The mission of Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs, Inc. (ACE) is to provide community economic development to underserved people and communities. ACE is a non-profit organization that provides loans and business development resources to help its borrowers create and grow sustainable businesses which generate jobs.



Georgia Watch


Founded in 2002, Georgia Watch is the state’s leading consumer advocacy organization, focused on issues that impact your wallet and your quality of life. Georgia Watch is a non-profit, nonpartisan 501(c)3 organization that utilizes education and advocacy to help give consumers a strong ally to level the playing field with powerful special interests in the state. We work every day to create a Georgia that is a model for consumer protection.



City of Atlanta

The Mayor’s Office of Resilience works to make Atlanta more resilient to the physical, social, and economic challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century. For the City of Atlanta, working to be more resilient entails reconciling the city’s developmental goals with its environmental limits over the long term. The Office works with all city departments and leadership to encourage policy development and reform.







Since our founding in 1997, GMEN has worked to build the capacity of micro enterprise organizations around the United States of America, with a primary focus on the State of Georgia. As the Georgia State Association for Micro Enterprise, GMEN provides the primary infrastructure for assembling and disseminating information on USA micro enterprise development to MDOs across the state. With GMEN’s support, its members have successfully grown and developed over the past twenty years. The number of disadvantaged entrepreneurs served has grown; the types of services offered have increased. GMEN’s members helped businesses start and grow, creating and sustaining jobs.

GMEN’s role in this development through its training and technical assistance programs, research and leadership development has been critical. GMEN was created by Micro Enterprise Development Organizations, MDOs, to help them assist those small and under-served entrepreneurs in the state of Georgia, Southern Region and United States.




Innovator’s Journey Program

The Innovator’s Journey Program collaboration creates formal linkages between Carolina Small Business Development Fund (CSBDF) and leading community institutions. The program will foster networks between CSBDF and partners to draw upon their unique assets in the promotion of Black and underserved business ownership in North Carolina. Mechanics & Farmers Bank, a minority-owned bank which provides access to small business banking services and capital access along with two HBCUs, Shaw University & Elizabeth City State University, will assist with program support and provide marketing opportunities to reach emerging entrepreneurs and existing small business owners. Both universities have existing partnerships with CSBDF. The partnership will support the Innovator’s Journey program, which will help a cohort of individuals launch, reengineer, and/or scale their small business through a learning program via a hybrid approach (in-person and online) that allows you to navigate through a standard workflow, complete submissions, and get feedback to advance innovation.

Carolina Small Business was founded in 1990 to create economic opportunity in communities across North Carolina.As a nonprofit and certified CDFI, we are passionate about supporting small businesses in underserved areas. Because those who go into business for themselves should never be left by themselves.




Mechanics and Farmers Bank

Founded in 1907, M&F Bank is the 2nd oldest minority-owned bank in the United States. According to Black Enterprise, M&F Bank is the 9th largest minority-owned financial institution in the United States with nearly $256.9M in total assets (as of 12/31/2018) . M&F Bank is the only bank in North Carolina to receive the designation of CDFI – Community Development Financial Institution. We have received an Outstanding CRA Rating from the FDIC for 23 years. The majority of all deposits are recycled back in the communities we serve.

Carolina Small Business Development Fund in partnership with Shaw University has established an Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center in Southeast Downtown Raleigh. The Center’s purpose is to: inspire, connect, encourage, and support startups, students and existing entrepreneurs. Through educational training, entrepreneurs and students will have access to the tools needed to build valuable companies and technical prowess.