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Diverse Business Accelerator now accepting applications for spring cohort 

Twelve-week program boosts business acumen of diverse entrepreneurs; provides participants with support, connections and $5,000 in non-dilutive capital

Greater St. Louis Inc.’s Diverse Business Accelerator (DBA) is now accepting applications for its Spring 2022 cohort. The 12-week program is open to racially, ethnically and gender-diverse entrepreneurs looking to grow their businesses in the bi-state area.

“Through the Diverse Business Accelerator, Greater St. Louis, Inc. supports diverse business owners as they create sustainable, thriving businesses that are ready to add jobs to the regional economy,” said Lakesha Mathis, DBA Director. “As an organization, we hope to invest significant resources into the continued growth, development and support of these businesses through education and capital access. That support helps turn the goals and plans of our business owners into reality.”

Throughout the program – the Spring 2022 cohort begins March 2 and ends May 11 — participants learn how to develop actionable business expansion goals, market and communicate their services, make meaningful business connections, and identify the capital and resources they need to support growth. All participants who complete the program receive $5,000 in non-dilutive capital.

Diverse Business Accelerator participants participate in weekly collaborative sessions facilitated by business coaches, consultants and mentors. They also receive nine hours of additional one-on-one coaching. Each cohort concludes with the Final Pitch, a chance for participants to present their businesses to a panel of regional stakeholders for a chance to win $25,000 in equity-free capital. Now in its fourth year, the DBA has provided 36 portfolio companies 320 hours of programming and a total of $120,000 in non-dilutive funds.

Business owners from previous cohorts have shared that the knowledge and insights they gained through the DBA fueled their personal growth and confidence, as well as the size and revenue of their business. A recent survey of graduates found that:

– 90% significantly increased their business knowledge on topics important to growth

– 60% increased their revenues by more than 10%

– 68% added an average of 3 new employees

“I am so thankful to have been a part of Greater St. Louis, Inc.’s Diverse Business Accelerator,” said Sheila Johnson, CEO, B.T.D. Painting & Construction, and winner of the 2021 Final Pitch Competition. “The experience was like an awakening and gave me a new perspective, while the strategic planning and tactical solutions I learned will prove instrumental in scaling my business. Winning the $25,000 Pitch Competition was tremendous bonus.”

Greater St. Louis Inc. is currently accepting applications through Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022. To qualify, applicants must have revenue of $500,000 or more, a business plan that demonstrates growth capacity, 51% minority ownership, and headquarters in the 15-county, bi-state St. Louis region.

For more information, contact DBA Director Lakesha Mathis at (314) 444-1165 or

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