Grantee Spotlight: Cedar Valley Black Business & Entrepreneurship Accelerator
February 16, 2021
The Cedar Valley Black Business & Entrepreneurship Accelerator aims to provide critical and intensive financial and sustainability support to accelerate growth and development for new and existing black-owned businesses in the Cedar Valley. Hear from ReShonda Young, Accelerator Director, about how they are taking action to reduce barriers and raise public awareness about the most pressing issues facing the minority-owned business community. Learn more at www.twentyfoursevenblac.com/programs.
The CVBBEA received a grant from the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa's fall 2020 grant cycle in support of their work.
New Program Focuses on Helping Black-Owned Businesses Find Success in the Cedar Valley
COVID-19 has had a profound impact on businesses across the nation. This was especially the case for Black-owned businesses, with research finding over 40% having to shut their doors due to the pandemic’s effects. The Cedar Valley Black Business and Entrepreneurship Accelerator was formed in September 2020 to provide Black business owners with tools, funding, and support to keep them from becoming part of this statistic.
The program aims to provide critical and intensive financial and sustainability support to accelerate growth and development for new and existing black-owned businesses in the Cedar Valley. This is accomplished through a free, six-month intensive accelerator designed to provide financial aid, business resilience, mentorship, and scale strategies for minority-owned businesses.
“People are building their businesses on a shoestring of a budget, and without a lot of the things that other business owners just take for granted,” said ReShonda Young, Accelerator director. “We are trying to fill that gap, making sure everybody has the technology they need and that people understand their financials. We are trying to get people up to speed with where they need to be, having experts in those fields come in and talk and help out and just being an additional resource.”
The program is not just teaching but helping participants make critical connections.
“It’s opening up doors for people to be able to connect with groups and individuals they otherwise wouldn’t,” said ReShonda. “We all know the more we have relationships with people, it breaks down barriers.”
The Cedar Valley Black Business and Entrepreneurship Accelerator received a $5,000 grant from CFNEIA’s Black Hawk County fall grant cycle for this new community program.
“To have the Community Foundation, so early in this process, say we think this is a program worthy of support, that means a whole lot to us,” said ReShonda. “To get additional funding for not just the Accelerator, but participants as alumni is key.”