Square, a leading payment-processing company, has recently launched an accelerator program called Forward to support Black and Latino retail business owners in the United States. The program aims to help these entrepreneurs overcome systemic barriers by providing them with essential resources such as funding, coaching, hardware, and checking and savings accounts.
Latinos are opening small businesses at a faster rate than other groups in the U.S., but they often struggle to access capital. To address this issue, Square has partnered with Social Change Fund United and prominent entrepreneurs like Dwyane Wade, Rosario Dawson, and Ayesha Curry to offer mentorship and guidance to the participants of the Forward program.
Square‘s Forward accelerator will support 25 early-stage businesses that have been operating for less than three years. Each selected business will receive $20,000 in funding, along with exclusive access to training sessions developed in partnership with 1863 Ventures, a leader in providing culturally competent business curricula. These trainings will cover topics such as leadership, customer development, scaling operations, and managing financial growth.
To qualify for the program, retail businesses must be based in the U.S., be within their first three years of operation, and be founded by or have a current CEO who identifies as Black/African American or Latino. Additionally, the businesses must belong to the clothing & accessories, health & beauty, home goods & furniture, or food & beverage sectors. Applications for the Forward program are open until April 1, 2023, and interested applicants can submit their applications at http://www.squareup.com/forward.
In early June, participants will be invited to attend a capstone event in Miami, where they will have the opportunity to network with other business owners, receive additional support, and celebrate the completion of the Forward program. This initiative by Square demonstrates its commitment to fostering a more inclusive and equitable business environment for minority-owned enterprises, helping them achieve long-term success and sustainability.