Each one helped the non-traditional entrepreneur get their business off the ground. Instead of competing with one another, the three decided to combine forces for a new initiative called EmpowerME, or Empower More Entrepreneurs, announced today.
“When we looked at the content we use to instruct participants in our three programs, we were struck by how similar our instruction is,” Harry Alford, CEO of humble impact, said in a release. “EmpowerME marks our commitment to expand the scope of our combined program offerings in ways that reduce costs while supporting the needs of Opportunity Youth, returning citizens, and people of color who seek to become the successful business owners they deserve to be.”
EmpowerME will be a combination of all of the early-stage resources each group provides for underserved populations, with the organizations also still operating as standalone entities. Think of it like a one-stop shop for underserved groups looking to start a business. Changing Perceptions and DC Community Carrot will provide the introductory entrepreneurship training, while humble will bring the investment and pilot program opportunities — which makes sense given what each one does.
Changing Perceptions works with formerly incarcerated people, or returning citizens, to help them thrive in their professional and personal lives. DC Community Carrot is a Brightwood Park-based nonprofit that provides mentorship, access to capital and more for youth entrepreneurs. humble impact is the nonprofit arm of humble ventures, a venture co-op that provides an accelerator and virtual program to train and connect entrepreneurs from all sorts of backgrounds.
Right now, the group says, no one else in the region is offering the same one-stop-shop nature of resources in the region.
“Currently, no single program in the city offers a program with the required range of training services. For example, many young adults who grew up in poverty and have a dream of starting their own business need to further develop the prerequisite soft skills for interpersonal communications, decision making, problem solving, etc.,” Alford writes in a Medium post about the program.
“Once those skills are acquired, young entrepreneurs need to be provided with an opportunity to gain a practical understanding through related work experiences. As they progress through simultaneously offered entrepreneurship instruction, young participants continue receiving social service support, mentorship, and access to capital needed to launch their business.”
EmpowerME aims to be the group that helps them with all of those goals and more — including assisting the entrepreneur that already has an established business, but needs assistance getting it off the ground.
Down the line, EmpowerME also plans to add programing wherever they find a gap in their resources. But that will come with time.
“In between these two broad categories [aspiring entrepreneurs and existing businesses that need assistance], lies a third audience who must work while continuing to pursue their entrepreneurial aspirations but has nowhere to find resources to pursue their entrepreneurial aspirations,” said David Sheon, founder of DC Community Carrot, in the press release.
“Through EmpowerME, our organizations are committed to identifying these gaps and provide the resources to fill them.”