March 21, 2023

Square Launches Accelerator For Black And Latino Entrepreneurs With Dwyane Wade, 1863 Ventures, And Others

For Black and Latino entrepreneurs, there’s only one direction to go — forward. 

This is the message driving Square‘s small business accelerator program for Black and Latino entrepreneurs, FORWARD.

The accelerator, launched in partnership with Social Change Fund United (SCFU), 1863 Ventures, and American Express, aims to provide Black and Latino entrepreneurs with the education, mentorship, coaching, and capital needed for their businesses to thrive.

Black and Latino Americans are the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs. In 2022, Black and Latino Americans filed more than 5 million new business applications, more than any other group.

Despite this, Black and Latino-owned businesses struggle to get up and running. Latino-owned businesses are only half as likely as their counterparts to receive the funding they apply for, and fewer than 1 in 20 Black-owned businesses survive the startup stage.

By removing barriers to access and capital, accelerators like FORWARD can drive these figures upward.

The accelerator

The month-long accelerator program will see the 25 participants receive $20,000 in funding, valuable and actionable business knowledge, as well as access to self-guided training developed by 1863 Ventures.  Participants will also receive access to Square checking and savings accounts as well as Square hardware.

Applications are being taken through April 1 for Square's 'Forward' program, a business accelerator for Black and Latino entrepreneurs.

Participants will benefit from 1:1 coaching sessions with experienced business executives and guidance from celebrity entrepreneurs such as Dwyane Wade, Rosario Dawson, Ayesha Curry, and Rashad Bilal and Troy Millings of Earn Your Leisure.

“We launched the Social Change Fund United with the goal of creating a more fair and equitable society in part through economic investment and efforts to support minority-owned businesses,” three-time NBA Champion and SCFU co-founder Dwyane Wade said in a statement.

“By partnering with Square today to launch Forward, we’re meeting those goals and helping to ensure that entrepreneurs of color have the opportunity to make their business ideas come to life in a lasting way. As a business owner myself, I understand how critical it is to have the right tools and mentorship when getting started.”

Applications close on April 1, 2023, with successful participants announced on April 10, 2023. Full eligibility and application details are available here.

Samara Linton

Community Manager at POCIT | Co-editor of The Colour of Madness: Mental Health and Race in Technicolour (2022), and co-author of Diane Abbott: The Authorised Biography (2020)