Since S. Lovey Parker completed her role leading the recent SEED SPOT accelerator, she’s been hard at work focusing on a new event series for entrepreneurs of color.
Parker worked as SEED SPOT’s Impact Accelerator program associate. She has 16 years of experience working with corporations and business owners to increase capacity for value-enhancing partnerships, and has previously coordinated corporate event programming for Bank of America, CitiGroup, Black Enterprise and “O, the Oprah Magazine.”
Since wrapping up with SEED SPOT, Parker said she has dedicated herself full-time to her own venture.
In 2015, she launched EVOLVED Development, a boutique business development and upscale event programming firm that created unique event programming for small businesses and nonprofits. Now, Parker told Technical.ly, the company’s focus has shifted to social innovation and impact in the startup ecosystem.
“EVOLVED has pivoted to elevate its model for scalable social impact,” Parker said. “We’re officially entered startup territory, creating an innovative hospitality-based, tech-enabled solution for startup entrepreneurs of color that streamlines access to the complete range of support required to create exponential impact.”
Under EVOLVED, Parker launched the Social Entrepreneurs’ Circle, an event series to bring entrepreneurs of color (EOCs) together. Parker said she launched Social Entrepreneurs’ Circle to create a sense of community among D.C.’s social impact founders of color and to validate that they need access to spaces, people and resources that support their ventures.
“We launched Social Entrepreneurs’ Circle because we felt that this distinct combination, that was explicitly created for and by D.C. EOCs, was untapped in the District,” Parker said.
The event series kicked off at Mindspace during DC Startup Week in September, which rang in 50 attendees. Each event, hosted at multiple locations, has a different topic and features, and networking mixed with lessons to help EOCs to scale. Parker hosted more complimentary events throughout September and October, with plans to incorporate a “modest admission fee” for its events coming up in November.
“We pride ourselves on creating truly premium experiences for our guests, from the speakers, to production, service, food and beverage,” Parker said. “Social Entrepreneurs’ Circle is an experience, with purpose.”
EVOLVED Development is not yet raising any funding, but Parker said she expects this to change over the next year as the business grows. When the event series launched, Parker set a goal to motivate 10,000 entrepreneurs of color. She said EVOLVED is working on implementing some tech to maximize the series’ reach, though she didn’t share specifics.
Social Entrepreneurs’ Circle will continue with three more events this month, including one focused on “Living Well” on Nov. 5, before taking a break. In 2020, Parker said, the event series will continue in select, “boutique” locations.-30-
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