So Ambitious

HBCU Pre-Accelerator Program

A Majority Matters Entrepreneurship Collaborative Initiative
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Investing in Black entrepreneurs benefits everyone.

The median net worth for Black business owners is 12x higher than Black non-business owners.

Black businesses are more likely to hire diverse employees regardless of the diversity of the surrounding area.

Startups with ethnically diverse founders typically return more capital to investors.

What is the So Ambitious Pre-Accelerator Program?

So Ambitious is an 8-week, cross-institutional pre-accelerator program that provides entrepreneurship education, leadership development & ecosystem connections for students to launch successful ventures. Participants will pitch for $30,000 at Demo Day!

Program Details

  • Cohort-based programming designed for HBCU students & alumni
  • Networking with Black, Latinx, and Indigenous leaders in business, technology, & innovation
  • Mentoring from technical experts & experienced entrepreneurs
  • Demo Day with real investors and startup champions

Cohort Perks

  • Cash grants up to $30,000 co-sponsored by Black Ambition Prize
  • LLC registration sponsored by ZenBusiness
  • Feature in HBCU Founders’ Initiative Lookbook
  • Prepare4VC Mentor Network

Session Topics

  • Develop Effective Problem Statements
  • Aligned Solutions
  • Understand Your Customer & Market Opportunity
  • Positioning Your Product in the Market
  • Designing for Equity
  • Branding and Marketing Your Business
  • Grow Your Business and Check Progress with KPIs
  • Master Your Pitch & Build an Investor Timeline

Our Ideal Cohort

All Industry Verticals

All business industries and target markets (including non-profits)

Idea-stage or pre-revenue

Seeking founders that have developed a business concept but have generated minimal or no sales

Lifestyle & Venture Scale

Ranging from non-tech passive income strategies to high growth startups

Eligibility Criteria

To Apply, you (or a team member) MUST be:

  • A current student or recent graduate (2019 to current) of an accredited HBCU
  • In the idea stage or early stage of your venture
  • Able to join an hour-long session once a week
  • Able to meet with a Mentor once a week

Our Ideal Candidate Is:

  • A self-starter: takes initiative and willingness to undertake new challenges
  • Adaptable: flexible in new situations
  • Curious: has a love for learning, including but not limited to academic, interpersonal and experience-based
  • Persistent: resilient through obstacles and challenge
  • Community-Oriented: open to working with others and striving towards building a community
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Key Dates

03/01/2023

Accelerator Application Opens

03/20/2023

Accelerator Application Closes

04/03/2023 - 04/07/2023

Student Orientation

04/10/2023 - 05/26/2023

Cohort Sessions

05/31/2023

Demo Day

Mentorship Program

The So Ambitious HBCU Pre-Accelerator Program is designed to support the growth and development of HBCU founders and underpin the growth of a thriving HBCU entrepreneurial ecosystem.

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Apply to be a Mentor!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the time commitment for this program?

Participants must commit 1 hour/week to educational sessions and 1 hour/week to meeting with assigned mentor.

What kind of business do I need to apply?

All industries are welcome to apply, including non-profits. This program is specifically designed for founders that have developed a business concept but have generated minimal or no sales.

What are the session topics covered in this program?

Develop Effective Problem Statements, Aligned Solutions, Understand Your Customer & Market Opportunity, Positioning Your Product in the Market, Designing for Equity, Branding and Marketing Your Business, Grow Your Business and Check Progress with KPIs, and Master Your Pitch & Build an Investor Timeline.

Is this program in-person or virtual?

Virtual.

How much does it cost to participate?

This program is free!

How many founders can participate?

The full team is welcome to participate in weekly sessions however only one founder may participate in mentorship sessions, and should be the same founder each week.

What if my co-founders or I don’t attend an HBCU?

At least one team member MUST be a current student or recent graduate (2019 to current) of an accredited HBCU.

Does my business need to be incorporated to participate?

No.

In Partnership With