The introduction of Forward, a business accelerator program created to assist Black and Hispanic retail entrepreneurs in obtaining the funding, mentoring, and products they require to succeed, was announced by Square this past weekend. Here’s what you need to know about Square’s Forward program…
Forward will support 25 early-stage enterprises with $20,000 in cash and exclusive access to training created in collaboration with 1863 Ventures, a renowned leader in providing culturally competent business courses, to increase access to resources and overcome these hurdles.
The subjects covered in the training sessions will include anything from managing financial growth to scaling operations to developing customers.
Participants of the first batch will receive Square hardware, checking and savings accounts, masterclasses with select mentors, and one-on-one coaching to address their particular business needs.
Ayesha Curry, Dwyane Wade, Rosario Dawson, and Earn Your Leisure’s Troy Millings and Rashad Bilal are some of the program mentors.
Square’s Forward Program Aiding Black & Latino Startups with the Help of Dwayne Wade & Others
Dwyane Wade, NBA Champion, said about Forward: “We launched the Social Change Fund United with the goal of creating a more fair and equitable society in part through economic investment and efforts to support minority-owned businesses. By partnering with Square today to launch Forward, we’re meeting those goals and helping to ensure that entrepreneurs of color have the opportunity to make their business ideas come to life in a lasting way. As a business owner myself, I understand how critical it is to have the right tools and mentorship when getting started.”
Square’s Global Head of Customer Success, Naomi Wheeless, extended: “Because Square succeeds when our sellers succeed, we’re fully invested in providing entrepreneurs of color with the tools they need to thrive. At a time when Black and Brown entrepreneurs are opening more businesses than anyone else, Square is helping to create a space where great ideas and hard-working sellers can get the support and coaching required to reach the next level. Forward is the result of a lot of hard work and dedication from talented employees across the Square organization who are committed to seeing minority-owned businesses make it past the start-up stage and go on to thrive.”
Ayesha Curry, CEO & Founder of Sweet July, remarked: “I’m thankful to have access to Square’s tools to help streamline operations in my own business, allowing me to focus on growing the company and evolving the projects I care deeply about. I’m honored to have the opportunity to work with Square to launch Forward, and be able to assist deserving entrepreneurs from underrepresented communities to provide the resources and mentorship they need to build their businesses and pursue their passions.”
Rosario Dawson, actress and businesswoman, added: “Latinos open businesses at a rate about 55% higher than their white counterparts, and still have a harder time staying in business and getting the support they need to grow. By launching Forward today, we’re eager to help entrepreneurs of color in the retail sector overcome systemic barriers and make their budding businesses grow.”
What are your thoughts on this Square’s Forward program? Let us know in the comments below!
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