Today: July 14, 2024
July 1, 2024
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Boosting Minority Entrepreneurs with Accelerator Support


  • Plug In Ventures, a South Los Angeles-based nonprofit, saw a significant increase in demand for its accelerator program.
  • Less than 2% of venture capital flows to Black and brown entrepreneurs, and Plug In Ventures aims to address this disparity by supporting minority founders.

South Los Angeles-based nonprofit Plug In Ventures experienced a surge in applications for its accelerator program, with 138 startups vying for just eight spots in this year’s cohort. The program, which focuses on early-stage companies founded by Black and other minority entrepreneurs from underserved communities, selected founders in the health care, fintech, gaming, and climate industries for its fifth class. Plug In Ventures founder and CEO Derek Smith emphasized the importance of providing support and resources to founders who may be overlooked by traditional investors.

Smith, who grew up in South L.A. and has a background in advertising and entrepreneurship, founded Plug In Ventures to help cultivate innovation in his community. The accelerator program features workshops, classes, and networking opportunities led by successful entrepreneurs and investors. Funding for the program comes from grants and sponsorships, with plans to offer two accelerator programs per year in the future.

One of Plug In Ventures’ success stories is ChargerHelp!, a startup co-founded by Kameale Terry, a participant in the accelerator program. ChargerHelp! focuses on solving software-related issues with electric vehicle charging stations, and Terry credited the program with helping secure funding for the startup. Smith highlighted the importance of investing in diverse entrepreneurs from underserved areas, showcasing how innovation can create positive impact on society.

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