Venture Noire Launches New Cohort Program Following $1.3M Grant from the Walton Family Foundation

Following an initial grant in 2020, the new funds will be dedicated to advancing the health of Black-owned businesses

March 17, 2021 9:00 AM EDT

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BENTONVILLE, Ark., March 17, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Venture Noire, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting Black and minority entrepreneurs, today announced that it is the recipient of a multi-year grant from the Walton Family Foundation for a second consecutive year, totaling $1.3M. Through support from the grant, Venture Noire will launch In The Black, a new program which will facilitate eight-week courses dedicated to advancing the overall health of Black-owned businesses in key fields like consumer technology, healthcare and fintech. In the Black cohorts will culminate with a showcase in Northwest Arkansas attended by industry leaders and investors. Venture Noire is recruiting qualified entrepreneurs, across the US, to join the inaugural course program, interested candidates can apply here. Venture Noire's In The Black seeks to address income inequality by improving minority workforce creation and development, ultimately helping to close the racial wealth gap in America.

Today, a vast majority of conversations and corporate funds dedicated to supporting Black-owned businesses are aimed at improving access to Venture Capital investment for Black entrepreneurs. While that is an important step, less than 1% of all businesses, regardless of the founder's race, receive VC dollars and of that, only around 1% of VC dollars goes to entrepreneurs of color. Instead of focusing on securing investments, a time consuming process which often takes the entrepreneurs focus away from operations and growth, Venture Noire's In the Black courses will educate entrepreneurs on identifying and achieving other key impact metrics such as increased revenue and payroll per employee. Improving the health of Black-owned businesses will create an opportunity for those within the community to build generational wealth which over time will close the gap.

"Venture Noire is making significant strides in advancing inclusive entrepreneurship in Northwest Arkansas," said Yee Lin Lai, program officer with the Walton Family Foundation. "Through innovative programming, the organization will support local Black-owned businesses and draw minority talent to the region."

Venture Noire is currently sourcing additional sponsorships and brand partners to collaborate in identifying issues that contribute to the widening wealth gap. By launching specific courses, Venture Noire is arming entrepreneurs and professionals with the tools and knowledge needed to create a solution. Through the signature 8-week program, minority entrepreneurs will attend workshops and mentoring sessions that will help them understand how to manage and improve their business. At the end of each course, Venture Noire will host a showcase in Northwest Arkansas where participants will present their businesses to industry leaders and investors.

"I see a lot of entrepreneurs lose confidence when they're not able to pull in millions of dollars in VC investment like we constantly see of some startups in the news. Seeing this pains me because too many entrepreneurs believe that VC capital is the only way to be successful, or to prove that your business is successful," said Keenan Beasley, Founder of Venture Noire. "It's my goal to teach aspiring entrepreneurs that there are other, often more attainable ways to scale a business and I hope that by doing so we will create healthier and longer lasting Black-owned businesses. I am extremely grateful to the Walton Family Foundation for continuing their belief in Venture Noire and the change we're looking to create."

In addition to the launch of In The Black, Venture Noire is also launching educational networking events and a podcast through its Cafe Noire program to create a community and a space for exploration for aspiring entrepreneurs. Looking ahead, as it becomes safe and practical to do so, Venture Noire plans to create an Entrepreneur Village summit series where current and future business leaders will participate in immersive experiences while strengthening their business tactics and network.

For more information on Venture Noire, or to make a donation please visit -

ABOUT VENTURE NOIREVenture Noire is a 510c3 accredited non-profit diversity, equity and inclusion partner. Venture Noire was formed to build confidence and profitability in underrepresented founders and entrepreneurs of color through curriculum, community and access to capital. Through its programming, Venture Noire is on a mission to accelerate communities of color by catalyzing the success of minority-owned businesses in the digital economy.

Venture Noire's ecosystem includes dozens of minority-owned start-ups that are on the cutting edge of technology, innovation and creativity.

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SOURCE Venture Noire

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