SBA Announces Landmark Collaboration with Historically Black Fraternities and Sororities to Address Wealth Gaps Through Black Entrepreneurship

First of its Kind Agreement That Will Focus on Improving Financial Literacy, Outreach, and Capital Access Opportunities Across Communities

WASHINGTON – This week, Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the voice for America’s 32.5 million small businesses in President Biden’s Cabinet, signed a Strategic Alliance Memorandum (SAM)–an authority unique to the SBA among federal agencies–with President Reuben A. Shelton III, Esq., on behalf of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC)’s Council of Presidents, comprised of nine historically Black fraternities and sororities, sometimes referred to as the “Divine Nine.”

“This historic alliance between the SBA and the NPHC—the first of its kind for a government agency—will bring SBA’s valuable small business resources into reach for many small businesses and entrepreneurs, furthering the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to build equity and close historic wealth gaps that have held back America’s Black entrepreneurs, small business owners and their families and communities for generations,” said Administrator Guzman. “Over the past 18 months, the SBA has made incredible progress reaching more of America’s small businesses, delivering vital resources and support to entrepreneurs who have been historically underinvested in and overlooked—the same people and communities hit hardest by the COVID pandemic. Working alongside partners and allies within the Divine Nine will provide even greater reach for the SBA to better provide the highly entrepreneurial Black community access to networks, financial literacy, technical training, and capital readiness so they can successfully realize their American Dreams of business ownership, create jobs, and advance our economy.”

Announced in the leadup to Juneteenth, this new strategic alliance advances the SBA’s implementation of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to building equity throughout the federal government and across America. Under the new alliance, a unique agreement for a federal government agency, the partnership will focus on increasing financial literacy within traditionally underserved, disadvantaged communities, expanding the Agency’s outreach, and introducing Black entrepreneurs to the SBA’s suite of tools and resources to start and grow their businesses including access to capital, government contracting opportunities and counseling.

Reuben A. Shelton III, Esq., Chairman of the Council of Presidents of the National Pan-Hellenic Council and Grand Polemarch of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., added: “The National Pan Hellenic Council and its affiliate organizations are very excited about this opportunity with the U.S. Small Business Administration. This collaboration will give NPHC members critical access to information that will promote small business growth and create jobs in all sectors of our economy.”

Wanda Smith (standing, second from left) of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., is a founding member of BDPA’s Temple University Student Chapter. She joins SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman (seated left) and other Zeta Phi Beta sorors during signing ceremonies. — SBA photo.

Often represented on thousands of university campuses, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), with members in leadership roles across civic and business organizations and the faith community, the NPHC boasts over 2.5 million active members and scores of alumni members. Taken together, this group of engaged leaders is a critical ally in helping building trust within key communities and introducing small business owners to critical resources to bolster their business outcomes as we seek to close the wealth gap. The NPHC represents the following organizations:

  • Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
  • Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
  • Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
  • Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
  • Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
  • Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.
  • Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.
  • Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.
  • Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc.
     

The SBA Has Deepened its Engagement and Support of African American, Black and Historically Disadvantaged Small Business Owners.

In line with the Biden-Harris Administration’s agenda outlined in the recently released SBA Equity Action Plan, the SBA has instituted several major changes to level the playing field for all small businesses, including making impactful reforms to the Community Advantage (CA) Pilot loan program that prioritizes equitable access to capital for low-income borrowers and those from underserved communities, releasing disaggregated data across industries and sectors by race and ethnicity and helping to deliver contracting reforms to bring in new, diverse contractors, and launching the American Rescue Plan’s $100 million Community Navigators program.

In addition, the SBA has expanded the number of Women’s Business Centers (WBCs) it supports to 146 – the largest WBC network in the history of the SBA. Notably, this investment under Administrator Guzman signifies the tripling of WBCs at HBCUs and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). Since March 2021, the complete listing of WBCs housed on the campuses of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) now includes:

  • Miles College, Fairfield, Alabama
  • Savannah State University, Savannah, Georgia
  • Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland
  • Bowie State University, Bowie, Maryland
  • Jackson State University, Jackson, Mississippi
  • Alcorn State University, Lorman, Mississippi
  • Bennett College, Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Winston-Salem State University, Winston Salem, North Carolina
  • Benedict College, Columbia, South Carolina
  • Virginia Union University, Richmond, Virginia
     
(L-R) Norman Mays, Founder, BDPA Washington, D.C. and Carl Brown, Executive Director, DCSBDC, attend 40th anniversary award ceremonies for National BDPA’s Greater Washington, D.C. Chapter at Howard University’s Armour J. Blackburn University Center. DCSBDC’s program is funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and Howard University.  BDPA-DC photo by Pat McDugall © 2018 bdpatoday

SBA remains committed to increasing capital for small businesses, including those in underserved communities. This means ensuring entrepreneurs have access to capital, standard and disaster lending programs, and PPP direct forgiveness as well as assistance in  growing their revenues by getting their products online or into global markets and accessing federal contracting opportunities, often by connecting them to one of the Agency’s newly launched Community Navigators, hundreds of Field Offices, or thousands of Resource Partners – including Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), Women’s Business Centers, SCORE chapters, and Veterans Business Ownership Centers – for mentoring, training, and assistance in navigating government resources.

Source and photos: SBA and BDPA-DC


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TEDCO’s New Women Leadership Programs Empowering Maryland’s Entrepreneurs

COLUMBIA, MD—TEDCO, Maryland’s economic engine for technology companies, announced today the launch of its new Women Entrepreneur Leadership Programs. The new programs are designed to build an alliance of diverse founders and CEOs to strategically navigate Maryland’s entrepreneurial innovation ecosystem. In collaboration with Maryland’s four Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), TEDCO’s new programs will focus on creating a diversified community of women entrepreneurs and help them grow their companies.

“Using the input from TEDCO’s Task Force for Women Entrepreneurs to develop the course foundation, we were able to create a one-of-a-kind program focusing on mitigating challenges Black women entrepreneurs face,” Linda Singh, executive director for TEDCO’s Women Entrepreneur Leadership.

The leadership program kicks off with a pilot program in Howard County at the Maryland Innovation Center (MIC). The Open Institute for Black Women Entrepreneur Excellence will convene a cohort of 25 women entrepreneurs, with the goal of developing a network of peer advisors and creating a collaborative community. The HBCUs will determine the needs of these entrepreneurs at the intersection of research, tech transfer and education. Maryland’s HBCUs include Bowie State UniversityCoppin State UniversityMorgan State University, and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore

“Recent numbers show the continued challenges faced by early-stage women entrepreneurs –2.3% of venture funding went to women in 2020, down from an all time high of 2.8% in 2019, yet 42% of all business are women owned,” said Troy LeMaile-Stovall, TEDCO CEO. “TEDCO recognizes the need to ensure all Marylanders, especially women, given that the state has the highest rate per capita of women-owned businesses, are provided the proper opportunities and exposure to realize their dreams. This pilot with our friends in Howard County represents our commitment to ensure our dreams become reality and access to wealth inclusion and expansion opportunities are realized.”

To be eligible for the cohort, applicants must be a founder, co-founder, or CEO whose company is at a minimum of pre-seed to growth stage and a maximum of pre-series A. Watch the webinar to find out more about the program by visiting https://youtu.be/LmUSLXU8Egc.

The new program builds on past work by TEDCO as it works to support women and underrepresented entrepreneurs. 

In 2016, TEDCO commissioned a study into the demographics of those start-ups applying for funding and support from TEDCO to try to identify underserved entrepreneurs. As a result of that study, TEDCO launched the Minority Business Pre-Seed Fund, which eventually became the Builder Fund for start-ups run by entrepreneurs who demonstrate economic disadvantage. 

In 2019, TEDCO went further by convening its Task Force for Women Entrepreneurs. The 12 thought leaders in the Maryland entrepreneurial ecosystem were tasked with identifying and implementing concrete actions to drive outcomes for women entrepreneurs in the state. The task force came to a close with the recommendation of implementing these programs into the state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Learn more about the Women Entrepreneur Leadership Programs and view the request for applications by visiting the website at https://www.tedcomd.com/women-programs.

Source and photos: TEDCO


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Apple launches inaugural Entrepreneur Camp for Black Founders and Developers

CUPERTINO, CA—As part of Apple’s ongoing commitment to empower the Black community and dismantle barriers to opportunity, today the company is welcoming leaders and their teams from 13 app companies as the inaugural cohort of Entrepreneur Camp for Black Founders and Developers. In 2019, Apple held its first-ever Entrepreneur Camp, an immersive tech lab for app-driven companies founded and led by developers from underrepresented backgrounds, with a class of women founders and developers. Program participants have gone on to secure major funding rounds, garner numerous awards and accolades, and significantly expand both their teams and app users worldwide. The program is designed to give developers the opportunity to take their existing app experience to the next level by mastering new technical skills, applying a critical lens to the user experience, and more through hands-on technology labs, one-on-one code-level guidance from Apple experts and engineers, and mentorship, inspiration, and insights from top Apple leaders.

These incredible app creators and business leaders embody the entrepreneurial spirit that runs so deep in the Black community.

Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives. In addition, Apple is partnering with Harlem Capital, an early-stage venture capital firm based in New York that invests in diverse founders, to offer guidance and mentorship to the participants. This new partnership is part of Apple’s $100 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative (REJI), which builds on the company’s work to advance racial equity in education, the economy, and the criminal justice system. These commitments aim to expand opportunities for communities of color across the country and to help build the next generation of diverse leaders.“ These incredible app creators and business leaders embody the entrepreneurial spirit that runs so deep in the Black community,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, who leads REJI. “Their work already demonstrates the power of coding to build a better world, and we’re honored to support them as they blaze a trail we know so many more will follow.”

Meet the Developers

David Bosun-Arebuwa, B3am app creator.

B3am

David Bosun-Arebuwa created the B3am app to make gym equipment accessible to beginning fitness enthusiasts who can’t afford personal trainers by using the iPhone camera to identify gym equipment and explain proper usage. Originally from Nigeria and now based in Birmingham, UK, Bosun-Arebuwa has found community with other coders through sharing Swift knowledge.

Adam Taylor, Black app developer.

Black

Adam Taylor, the founder of app development company Langston LLC and solo developer behind Black, built the app to facilitate culturally relevant and multifaceted news for Black people, with stories that speak to the community’s shared experience. A self-taught coder, Taylor has already integrated sophisticated technology into the app to provide relevant and personalized content, and is looking forward to learning more about native iOS frameworks and going deeper on his code with Apple engineers.

Culture Genesis co-founders Cedric J. Rogers and Shaun Newsum.

Bar Exam

Culture Genesis is a venture-backed digital studio remixing technology for urban multicultural audiences, co-founded by experienced engineers and media executives Cedric J. Rogers and Shaun Newsum. The Los Angeles-based team behind the hip hop-centered live trivia game show app TriviaMob will spend their time at Camp working on their newest app called Bar Exam, focused on music.

Abdou Sarr, founder of MODU RESEARCH Corporation and the Film3D app.

Film3D 

MODU RESEARCH Corporation founder Abdou Sarr wants to remove barriers to capturing, creating, and sharing immersive media. The 22-year-old Senegalese-Canadian is a frequent speaker at youth conferences to motivate young people to pursue computer science and entrepreneurship. His Film3D app taps Core ML, ARKit, and Metal to let users shoot 3D photos without special equipment.

FormKey app founder Brent Brinkley.

FormKey

FormKey is a MIDI Controller app from Polyhedra LLC focused on helping create music without being overwhelmed by the complexities of theory and composition. Founder Brent Brinkley, who is based in Raleigh, North Carolina, uses shapes to define notes and colors to define octaves, creating a new language that makes reading music quick and easy.

Health Auto Export creator Lybron Sobers.

Health Auto Export

Lybron Sobers, a native of Barbados now living in Malmö, Sweden, created the Health Auto Export app so patients can easily extract and share specific data across healthcare providers in a secure, privacy-protected way. Sobers is passionate about teaching the basics of programming to kids at coding camps, and mentoring young programmers who are just starting their careers.

Hologarden developer Casey Pollock.

Hologarden

An avid gardener and self-taught Swift developer, Near Future Marketing founder Casey Pollock is working on the Hologarden app to help aspiring gardeners flourish using AR and AI. The app will address gardeners’ needs like recording plant growth and managing plant care and health. Pollock also hosts a free meetup called Augmented Reality Today about creating ARKit apps for beginners, and has taught sessions at UC Berkeley and San Jose State.

Hubli creators Mariana Lech, Ailton Vieira, and Rodolfo Diniz.

Hubli

The Hubli app is a remote learning solution born out of the COVID-19 pandemic-related challenges of in-person education, created by five Apple Developer Academy students in Brazil: Ailton Vieira, Gabriel Taques, Maykon Meneghel, Mariana Lech, and Rodolfo Diniz. Currently in beta testing, Hubli uses AI to enrich the learning experience for both students and teachers, and aims to help make online collaboration more productive.

Justice Royale’s Quintin Rodriguez-Harrison.

Justice Royale

Zapling Studios wants to create games enjoyable by veteran and novice gamers alike. Its first game, Justice Royale, uses a proprietary set of gestures, which allows players to focus on gameplay with precise controls for a fast-paced arcade “beat ‘em up” experience. The team is focused on reworking the entire game to include local and online multiplayer capability, in addition to harnessing the power of ARKit to create an immersive experience.

Kickstroid founder David Alston.

Kickstroid

Founder David Alston and his team built Kickstroid to help sneaker enthusiasts discover their favorite shoes with features they couldn’t find in other sneaker apps, and provide a platform to build community among sneakerheads worldwide. In addition to his work on the app, Alston is also head of outreach for Blacks and African Americans in Computing (BAAC) at the University of Illinois, hosting coding events for young Black and Latinx students.

Nailstry co-founder Aurelia Edwards.

Nailstry

Nailstry is the first marketplace exclusively for press-on nails and nail art, connecting indie artists with press-on nail enthusiasts. Created by Aurelia Edwards, Nailstry uses augmented reality to digitally measure and create custom-fit press-on nails while also improving inefficiencies in the creation process. Nailstry’s team empowers makers with market education and tools to grow their businesses, supports minority founders, and gives back through coding programs such as Black Girls Code.

Ashley McKoy, Ositanachi Otugo, and Harold Lomotey.

The Peek: TV Shows and Movies

The Peek: TV Shows and Movies app started as a senior class project for founders and Howard University graduates Ashley McKoy, Harold Lomotey, and Ositanachi Otugo in 2018. The team created this mobile social media platform to share TV and movie recommendations among family and friends, while also seeking to amplify titles from Black creators and actors, as a solution to endless scrolling and a lack of reliable online recommendations for streaming content.

TuneBend creator Matt Garrison.

TuneBend

TuneBend creator Matt Garrison is a noted musician who laid the foundation for the app when he opened his live venue, ShapeShifter Lab, in Brooklyn, New York. The app helps educational organizations and performing artists create, teach, distribute, and sell new and existing music using video and audio clips, especially useful during the pandemic, when in-person performances and teaching have not been possible.

Source and photos: Apple

How to Introduce New Technologies, Products, Services, and New Innovations to the U.S. Government

COLLEGE PARK, GA — The government welcomes industry and small businesses to respond under their SBIR and STTR programs, or an Unsolicited Proposal in unique ways to introduce a specific technology, a service, a product or a new innovation to the U.S. Government.

Scenario:
One has a technology, service, product or new innovation that needs to be introduced to the government but the government is not aware of this technology, these services, products or new innovations. How are technology, services, products or new innovations introduced to the government? First one needs to consider doing research and identifying issues and challenges agencies have to determine if what is offered as a solution supports some of their issues and concerns. Many times the government will release information concerning some of their issues and problems.

SBIR:
The Small Business Innovation Research program is a highly competitive program that encourages domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) that has the potential for commercialization. Through a competitive awards-based program, SBIR enables small businesses to explore their technological potential and provides the incentive to profit from its commercialization. By including qualified small businesses in the nation’s R&D arena, high-tech innovation is stimulated and the United States gains entrepreneurial spirit as it meets its specific research and development needs.

STTR:
bdpaxl-bizw.jpgSmall Business Technology Transfer is another program that expands funding opportunities in the federal innovation research and development (R&D) arena. Central to the program is expansion of the public/private sector partnership to include the joint venture opportunities for small businesses and nonprofit research institutions. The unique feature of the STTR program is the requirement for the small business to formally collaborate with a research institution in Phase I and Phase II. STTR”s most important role is to bridge the gap between performance of basic science and commercialization of resulting innovations.

Unsolicited Proposal:
What Constitutes an Unsolicited Proposal? It is defined in FAR 2.101, as a written proposal for a new or innovative idea that is submitted to an agency on the initiative of the offering company (your firm) for the purpose of obtaining a contract with the government, and that is not in response to an RFP, broad agency announcement, or any other government-initiated solicitation or program, For an unsolicited proposal to comply with FAR 15.603(c), it must be:

  • Innovative and unique
  • Independently originated and developed by the offering company
  • Prepared without government supervision, endorsement, direction or direct government involvement
  • Detailed enough to show that government support could be worthwhile, and that the proposed work could benefit the agency’s research and development (or other mission responsibilities)
  • Not an advance government proposal for a contract the public already knows the agency will need that could be acquired by competitive methods

If interested in reviewing government agencies that provide specific instructions on how to submit an Unsolicited Proposal to their agency, review Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Unsolicited Proposal website posted here: https://www.dhs.gov/unsolicited-proposals 

by Dannie James
JE Group, LLC

 

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Baltimore Tech Professionals to host annual Multicultural Minority Innovation Weekend

#HackingInnovation

BALTIMORE, MDMinority Innovation Weekend 2019 (MIW19) provides minorities launching new businesses an opportunity to connect with each other and gain exposure to investors. This weekend’s summit at the University of Baltimore’s Thumel Business Center is dedicated to aiding minority innovators launch tech-focused startups, exploring trending technologies, and showcasing tech startups that have a minority founder or co-founder.

This two-day conference is co-hosted by NSBEBMAC, the Baltimore Chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers Professionals, and SHPE, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers Baltimore and Johns Hopkins Chapters.  The goal of this year’s event, named Minority Innovation Weekend (MIW), is to provide knowledge to enable individuals to turn their technology-based ideas or concepts into viable tech-startups and new corporations.

MIW-arch

“The early stages of entrepreneurship can be a particularly isolating time due the do-it-all nature and time constraints of starting a business,” said Sir Walter Richardson, the MIW 2019 coordinator. “Even when given the chance to engage the broader technical or entrepreneurial world, the demographics are such that minorities can still feel isolated.”

The MIW19 Host BDPA Chapter is BDPA Baltimore.  MIW19’s Media Sponsor is bdpatoday.  Register today for Minority Innovation Weekend 2019 at https://miw.eventbrite.com.

— Source, video, and photo credits: NSBE-BMAC

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