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HERImpact Chicago Ignites Growth for Female Entrepreneurs of Color


Benjamin Hughes

May 18, 2024 - 02:18 am


Empowering Female Entrepreneurs of Color: HERImpact Program Ignites Visionary Business Growth in Chicago

CHICAGO, May 17, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- A wave of excitement swept through the bustling innovation hub known as M Hub Chicago yesterday, marking the grand launch of the HERImpact: Entrepreneurship for Impact Program. Tailored specifically for women entrepreneurs of color, this six-month virtual accelerator has been highly anticipated for its promise to enhance the abilities and provide essential tools to participants, enabling them to elevate and expand their business ventures substantially.

1863 Ventures & Ford Philanthropy Catalyze Opportunities with HerImpact Chicago Cohort

This uplifting initiative, brought to life by the collaboration between 1863 Ventures and Ford Philanthropy, is not merely a sequence of seminars but a ground-breaking passage towards empowerment and ownership for 40 remarkable women business owners. The event's momentum is accurately captured in a shared moment, where 1863 Ventures CEO Melissa Bradley is seen passionately educating these driven entrepreneurs—a visual representation of the program's essence and the knowledge it seeks to impart.

1863 Ventures CEO Melissa Bradley teaching 40 women business owners

Diving into the HERImpact Program

The HERImpact program is meticulously structured by 1863 Ventures and Ford Philanthropy to embrace 40 women through an all-encompassing six-month syllabus. Promising more than the traditional workshop setup, each entrepreneur will engage with extensive online workshops, detailed one-on-one coaching sessions, and a series of masterclasses expertly conducted by leading figures in the industries from both 1863 and Ford. Completing the program is not only an individual achievement but is also celebrated with tangible support—a $2,000 grant awarded to each participant.

A Summit to Remember: Key Event Highlights

The inaugural launch was nothing short of spectacular, hosting a variety of workshops that delved into creating an entrepreneurial mindset, customer understanding, building scalable growth processes, and mastering the art of financial management. Esteemed speakers like Jennifer Lyle from Ford Philanthropy and Melissa Bradley from 1863 Ventures shared their wisdom to an eager audience.

The summit was also a platform for crucial dialogues among Chicago's business leaders. Highlighted by a panel discussion moderated by Jennifer Lyle, it featured prominent voices from the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and World Business Chicago, who explored the contemporary landscape of entrepreneurship within the city. Bringing the event to a close was an inspiring networking reception that gave these pioneering women an unmatched opportunity to forge connections with local leaders, representatives from the Ford Fund, and one another, reinforcing the collective spirit of entrepreneurship.

Program Objectives: Sharpening the Focus

With the digital sessions and interpersonal learning experiences, the HERImpact program's primary objectives emerge distinctly. It is designed to:

  1. Equip these business owners with technical knowledge via specialized business education sessions, carefully curated for maximum practical benefit.
  2. Create a community filled with peer-to-peer networking opportunities, fostering a circle of support amongst these visionary women.
  3. Act as a catalyst for economic upliftment in Chicago, establishing robust networks between the entrepreneurs and local ecosystem leaders.
  4. Emphasize the unique position that women founders of color hold within the spheres of entrepreneurship and community impact, addressing the challenges head-on while leveraging the untapped opportunities available to them.

Stringent Selection for Aspiring World-Changers

The selection process for HERImpact was nothing short of rigorous. Applicants had to exemplify not just the ambition but the proven track record necessary for growth and impact. Criteria included being a woman founder of color, operating a registered business within the Greater Chicago Metro Area for at least two years, and demonstrating financial momentum with a minimum of $25k in revenue during the most recent fiscal year. Moreover, their business models were carefully examined to ensure alignment with high growth potential, serving markets that are not just current but also on an upward trend.

Ecosystem Advisory Partners: A Collaborative Powerhouse

Empowerment programs like HERImpact do not stand alone; they are the result of concerted efforts from multiple key ecosystem players. Notably, robust support for these entrepreneurs is facilitated by established partners such as World Business Chicago, Women's Business Development Center, Chicago Urban League, and the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce/SBDC. These partnerships cement HERImpact's position as a beacon of change and progress within the entrepreneurial landscape.

1863 Ventures: Reimagining Entrepreneurial Success

1863 Ventures has carved out a distinct position within the entrepreneurial world, distinguishing itself as a business development powerhouse that propels 'new majority' entrepreneurs from a state of potential to one of high growth. This is an entity with a vision that extends beyond momentary successes, aiming to generate a staggering $100 billion in new wealth by 2030—with a tactical approach that includes a combination of advanced training, bespoke coaching, and crucial funding opportunities.

Ford Philanthropy: Fostering Opportunities for Growth

Ford Philanthropy represents the humanitarian interests of Ford Motor Company, partnering with nonprofits to break barriers and open doors of opportunities for communities. The philanthropic efforts of Ford are rooted in a desire to assist individuals in reaching the peak of their potential, recognizing that empowerment is not just about financial support but also about creating a foundation upon which people can build self-sufficient and sustainable futures.

Further Engaging With 1863 Ventures: Upcoming Events and Information

The HERImpact: Entrepreneurship for Impact Program stands as a testament to the unwavering commitment of 1863 Ventures to support women entrepreneurs of color and to create an environment that is conducive to their business success. To learn more about what lies ahead for HERImpact participants as well as upcoming events like the exciting Founder to CEO Summit in Charlotte, North Carolina, interested parties are encouraged to visit 1863 Ventures' website or to reach out to the program coordinator directly via email ([email protected]).

For those who feel motivated to participate or contribute to the meaningful work being done by 1863 Ventures, detailed contact information is readily available. One can connect via email ([email protected]) or explore more through 1863 Ventures.

In conclusion, the HERImpact launch in Chicago is a defining moment for women entrepreneurs of color. It’s an initiative that not only addresses the need for tailored business growth support for an often underserved demographic but also lays the groundwork for creating a thriving, inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem in Chicago. With strategic partnerships and expert guidance, HERImpact is likely to become an accelerator to watch, as it manifests its mission to empower and propel these visionary businesswomen into new realms of success, growth, and influence.

SOURCE 1863 Ventures