Black Business Incubator Program Hiring Staff in St. Louis and Expanding to Atlanta

BRAND Foundation's Startup League Rewards Program provides support to stabilize early-stage Black-led ventures, so that the founding teams can access business advisory services and connections to free or low-cost programs and resources.

Every year since the nonprofit’s inception in 2017, BRAND Foundation has funded entrepreneur support programs specifically for Black business owners in St. Louis. Now, co-founders Phillip and Chavelle Sangokoya, are expanding operations to Atlanta and are actively hiring a team with a goal to triple their funding and impact by 2023.

As a part of this expansion, they hope to advance racial equity in entrepreneurship within the startup ecosystem in Atlanta while continuing their work in St. Louis. They intend to gather more feedback and further validate their theory of change by establishing a presence in a second market.

β€œWe believe this new move will create opportunities for shared learning between the St. Louis and Atlanta startup ecosystems, and this will help to identify and scale best practices that promote inclusivity in both markets,” Phillip explained to EQ. 

β€œAfter launching in 2020, we’ve invested a total of $70,000 to support entrepreneurs in our Startup League Rewards Program, and now we want to raise $200,000 by 2023 to increase our impact,” Chavelle told EQ.

β€œEvery dollar we raise helps us fund both technical assistance and cash incentives that each business owner can earn through our program. We’ve enrolled 19 entrepreneurs and we want to reach 50 by the end of next year.” 

The Startup League Rewards Program provides support to stabilize early-stage Black-led ventures, so that the founding teams can focus on and continuously improve their business strategy and growth. Every participant can earn up to $1,000 in cash rewards each year and receive access to business advisory services and connections to free or low-cost programs and resources.

Due to remote work becoming the β€œnew normal”, BRAND Foundation intends to maintain a strong presence in the St. Louis startup and innovation community and will continue to support local business owners. In-person engagement will continue through strategic partnerships with sponsors and pipeline partners like Purpose First Advisors, WEPOWER, The BALSA Foundation, ITEN, CAAAB, and others committed to racial equity in entrepreneurship.

β€œAs we look to expand our impact into the Atlanta market, we are looking to make connections with community leaders and find partners to serve as advisors and ecosystem builders across both regions,” said Phillip. 

β€œWe’re also hiring in St. Louis,” said Chavelle. β€œWe are now actively seeking to fill roles to support our operations and communications, so please reach out if you or someone you know is interested!”

To learn more about STL vacancies or ATL expansion plans please inquire here.

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Jonathan Allen is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of EQ. Formerly the President and Co-founder of Longneck & Thunderfoot (L&T), a brand publishing company incubated at the Columbia University Startup Lab in NYC, Jonathan moved to St. Louis in the summer of 2016 after receiving an Arch Grant.