Street Entrepreneurs, a D.C.-based, community-driven accelerator and nonprofit, has been awarded $175,000 by Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED).
Founded in 2015, Street Entrepreneurs provides entrepreneurs in its program with opportunities for mentorship, access to capital, networking and educational workshops. The nonprofit has hosted 32 pay-what-you-can educational workshop for nearly 400 aspiring minority entrepreneurs.
“Inequity has created a void of access and investment in under-leveraged markets. Hence, people experiencing some of the world’s most challenging problems lack the power to design solutions, perpetuating a cycle of injustice,” said Street Entrepreneurs founder and CEO Juliana Cardona Mejia in a statement. “As a result, we focus on creating access by providing community, program scholarships, and childcare options for parents — as well as other interventions that remove barriers to entrepreneurship opportunities.”
This latest funding for the nonprofit came from DMPED’s Innovation Accelerator Grant program, which offers funding to minority-led tech organizations supporting underrepresented entrepreneurs through accelerators. Street Entrepreneurs will use the funding to its next accelerator cohort.
“These grants bring us one step closer to ensuring all Washingtonians, including underrepresented entrepreneurs, are able to share in our city’s continued prosperity and in turn create more opportunities for our residents,” said Mayor Bowser in a statement.
Other local businesses that received grants from DMPED include 2Gether-International, an organization helping D.C.’s disabled population create and execute business ideas, and Cureate Connect, an organization managing an online platform that connects large businesses with local and regional startups.
Last fall, Street Entrepreneurs hosted its first “People’s Shark Tank” street pitch event, where seven startup founders from its network pitched to a live audience. Unlike other pitch competitions, each startup was judged by a different panel featuring experts in its sector. The event was livestreamed so attendees and viewers could make direct investments into the startups through equity crowdfunding campaigns, product purchases or in-kind contributions.
“Street Pitch allowed me to present my high heel hell solution and share my story,” said Jazmine Kionna founder Jazmine Davis in a press release. “Weeks later we went from a couple hundred followers to 20,000 followers on Instagram, and I was able to raise the money I wanted from local angel investors.”-30-