In February 2022 LEAP, with support from PNC Foundation and in partnership with Best Practice Consulting Solutions, launched Elevate, a new entrepreneurial support program focused on revenue, profitability, and prominence.
The program—which will involve empowering, refining, enhancing and scaling Black businesses— will select 8 entrepreneurs yearly to participate in an 6-month accelerator program with individualized business assessment, customized workplan development and one-on-one technical assistance. At least 51% of the entrepreneurs to go through this program will be at/or below ALICE level and all participants will identify as Black.
Elevate’s main goal is to help Black business owners improve and maximize operational efficiency and heighten business sophistication to drive increased profitability and revenue. Since 2000, the United States economy lost an estimated $16 trillion due to discrimination. By addressing the racial wealth gap by 2028 alone, U.S. GDP stands to grow by an estimated $1.5 trillion, or 6% of its current level. There are 124,004 Black businesses, accounting for 2.2% of employer businesses. If Black businesses accounted for 14.2% employer firms (equivalent to the Black population), there would be 806,218 more Black businesses.
The Elevate program strives to not only raise awareness of this deficit, but to provide Black business owners with resources and programming that has historically been hard to access due to systemic barriers.
- No cost to participate.
- Become a member of the first all Black cohort of business owners at LEAP.
- Members receive a custom work plan, designed to accelerate their business with trackable milestones.
- Monthly round table peer discussions to network and idea share with program participants.
- Bi-weekly individual check-ins with LEAP administrators.
- Opportunity to network with Black Executives.
- Collaboration on a social media campaign— designed to advertise your business across LEAP’s platforms and audiences.
- Opportunity to be featured at the 2022 Juneteenth Festival weekend.
- Your businesses will be promoted to the myriad of businesses across multiple sectors that make up the LEAP membership board.
- All participants will identify as Black.
- Applicants must be for profit pre-established business owners— while LEAP offers programming for entrepreneurs at every stage in their journey, Elevate is an established business accelerator.
- 51% of spots for the Elevate program are reserved for Black business owners who fall below the ALICE threshold:
- Single-adult households: annual income $23,400 or less.
- Senior households (65+): annual income $26,244 or less.
- Family of 4 or more: annual income $64,116 or less.
- Business must be founded or registered in the Lansing region comprised of Clinton, Eaton, and Ingham counties in Michigan.
- Business must not be a franchise nor affiliated with a national chain.
The Lansing Economic Area Partnership has a strong history of engaging, working and assisting ALICE households and Black entrepreneurs through specific programs, like One and All and Level-Up, and by ensuring previously-established programs are reviewed and evolve through an equity lens.