We serve diverse millennials (aged 18-35) who (a) have not yet started a business but have an innovative idea, or (b) have an emerging business with less than $10,000 in capital and/or revenue. Whether the venture is in tech, the creative industries, consumer products or is socially-purposed, the Millennials Redefined program will provide resources and connect a national network of our community’s most promising entrepreneurs. With a model that infuses local partnerships and outreach, we aim to highlight home-grown start-up founders and CEOs, as well as promote inter-generational connections for collective economic growth and empowerment.
Dynamic workshops, panels and speakers will engage entrepreneurs across eight cities: New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, New Orleans, Washington, DC, Oakland and St. Louis between February and August 2017. In addition to in-person workshops, at least 25 entrepreneurs per market will be selected to receive ongoing support, mentorship and consultation from the U.S. Black Chambers and partners on issues of business development, marketing and outreach, legal, finance and accounting, as well as pitch perfection. Following the nationwide tour, all participants are eligible to compete in both a business plan and pitch competition, with at least a $5,000 prize.
Millennial Entrepreneurs Redefined is funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency’s Broad Agency Announcement.
- Failure to Plan is Planning to Fail: The Art of the Business Plan
So you want to start a business? Here’s step one. Participants will learn how to apply planning principles and design-thinking practices to successfully write a business plan and use that plan to apply the lean start-up methodology.
- Controlling Your Narrative: The Impact Story that Scales
Branding, marketing and advertising create specific challenges in the digital age. Social media often trumps traditional forms of advertising and can serve as a low-cost method to secure traction for start-up businesses. But what type of content should entrepreneurial ventures promote, and what is the best way to reach targeted clientele? Before marketing to anyone, businesses must first know and own their narrative. Though the narrative may change over time in response to business and consumer needs, the core narrative is the businesses’ first intangible investment that sets the stage for what follows.
- The Real: Funding Your Business and Remaining Financially Secure
The truth is this: the odds of someone investing in your business before you’ve invested in it yourself is pretty slim. So, how do you make that happen if you’re in school, have no expendable income, or already work multiple jobs? More sacrifice, more sweat, and maybe some credit. In this workshop, participants will first receive instruction on the different sources of capital (including crowdfunding, accelerators, angels and VCs), learn the pros and cons of debt v. equity financing, options for personal credit, and the “tips to avoid getting trapped.” Through personal narratives, entrepreneurs will discuss their real-life approaches to fundraising and share how they ultimately made it happen.
- Power Play: What to Expect for the Road Ahead
We’re bringing the mentors to you. Hear from a group of intergenerational entrepreneurs that will discuss challenges faced on their business journey. Stories may range from starting a janitorial company to launching a mobile application. Grounded in the historical significance of minority entrepreneurs, these stories will help participants feel empowered in their pursuits, inspired by those who came before them, and connected to a network of collective impact.
- Pitch Prep: Learning the Ropes of Pitching Your Venture
Building upon the “Controlling Your Narrative” workshop, participants will go more in-depth with communications and presentation strategies, learn the rhetorical triangle as a method for framing their pitch, and learn the ins-and-outs of pitch competitions. Participants will learn to be aware of the non-verbal components of a pitch: the importance of a firm handshake, good eye contact, and resolute voice. In addition, they will learn the basic factors that investors look for in venture-backable start-ups. Through simulations, they’ll play the role to both pitch and judge – and be eligible to compete for $5,000 toward their venture!