Diversity & Inclusion
DEI / Delaware / Entrepreneurs

A new ‘entrepreneurial ecosystem’ aims to make Wilmington more equitable

The program from Barclays US Consumer Bank, Pete du Pont Freedom Foundation and Wilmington Alliance puts a focus on Black and brown entrepreneurs.

Market Street in Wilmington, 2017. (Photo by TCDavis with Creative Commons license)

Barclays US Consumer Bank, Pete du Pont Freedom Foundation and Wilmington Alliance have announced the development of a new program dedicated to leveling the playing field in Delaware, and it’s called the the Equitable Entrepreneurial Ecosystem powered by Barclays, or E3 for short.

The program, at its core, has two missions: to help Delaware small business recover from the economic hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and to foster racial equity in a city where Black and brown business owners continue to struggle to find resources, contracts and funding. Organizations in the E3’s coalition include First Founders Accelerator, Social Contract, PMG Consulting and Bracy & Associates.

Initially developed for Wilmington entrepreneurs, the program will expand throughout the state with the help of a donation from Barclays, which has reinforced its commitment to Delaware in 2020 by creating over 300 new jobs in Wilmington and committing $100,000 in matching donations to the Wilmington Strong Fund that provides cash to small businesses in need.

E3’s mission, in its own words:

“E3 Wilmington will help create the conditions for successful entrepreneurship across communities by building a citywide strategic coalition to identify, vet, incubate and accelerate the launch of new for-profit businesses, with a focus on Black and Brown entrepreneurs. The program will provide entrepreneurial resource support across five key entrepreneurial lifecycle focus areas including Coaching & Business Planning, Marketing & Promotion, Information Technology & Infrastructure, Space Planning & Design and Access to Funding Sources.”

The program is intended to support businesses from launch through their growth stages, as well as through COVID-19-related challenges, said Stephen Sye, Pete du Pont Freedom Foundation’s executive director, in a statement.

“Our E3 program hopes to help businesses overcome those challenges by engaging key partners to help accelerate business development and provide resource supports throughout the entire entrepreneurial lifecycle.”

A timeline for the project, including a pilot cohort that will graduate in October and full implementation of the ecosystem in November, can be found on the E3 page of the Pete du Pont Foundation’s website.

Companies: Wilmington Alliance

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