Equitable Entrepreneurial Ecosystems for Rural Main Streets Program

July 18, 2023 | By

Nutishia Lee

This story is adapted from the Forward Cities monthly e-newsletter. Subscribe for the latest news and updates from cities across the country.


July 2023

Equitable Entrepreneurial Ecosystems for Rural Main Streets Program

We are excited to highlight that Forward Cities is partnering with Main Street America on the Equitable Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in Rural Main Streets Program, supported by the Kauffman Foundation

“We are extremely grateful to have the opportunity to partner with the Main Street America team on this powerful initiative. We look forward to coming alongside the MSA team to equip rural communities around the country with increased knowledge and capacity to cultivate a culture of access, belonging, inclusion, and diversity for the businesses. The ultimate goal is that every business owner would have an equitable opportunity to launch, grow, and scale a business that creates wealth for themselves, their Main Street, and their broader community. “ - Fay Horwitt, Forward Cities President & CEO

Grantees of the program were selected from applicants who demonstrated a sincere interest and commitment to expanding their own internal entrepreneurial ecosystem programming, coupled with a lack of resources and staffing to start and scale this work in their communities. Among them was Missouri, the HQ city of the Kauffman Foundation and one of Forward Cities’ former ESHIP Communities. We are excited to head back there in September!
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Celebrating the Inaugural Black Wall Street Forward Cohort

The Black Wall Street Forward initiative engaged five communities throughout the state of North Carolina - Durham, Charlotte, Fayetteville, Raleigh, and Winston-Salem - in a cohort-based learning journey to explore the past, present, and future of Black entrepreneurship in those communities. Follow along with us on Instagram and LinkedIn throughout August to celebrate and take a deep dive into the journey of the inaugural cohort. We’ll share more about the pilots, get a look at the strategic visions of each of the five communities, and learn what’s next!

Inspiring E3 Durham Entrepreneurs

The everyday challenges that entrepreneurs experience provide unique experiences that give these business owners a unique perspective. We’re proud that some of our E3 Durham entrepreneurs and leaders have offered valuable lessons, quotes, and inspiration that can motivate aspiring and seasoned entrepreneurs alike. On the “Inspiring Entrepreneurs” section of our website, we explore their stories, drawing lessons and inspiration from real-life examples. See a highlight of our current stories in our Inspiring Entrepreneurs Roundup. 
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Staff Picks

Industry News, Reports, Best Practices
Black Founders Exchange 2023 | Cybersecurity & AI
Applications for the eighth annual Google for Startups Black Founders Exchange are open! Led by American Underground, this week-long immersion program empowers Black founders by providing curated community, connections, and content designed to build sustainable, revenue producing companies.

The 2023 program is geared specifically towards founders building high-growth ventures in cybersecurity and artificial intelligence, with programs and mentorship designed to help founders navigate the rapidly-evolving and challenging startup landscape.

Application Deadline: July 16, 2023
Program Dates: October 8-13, 2023
Location: Durham, NC
Host: American Underground

Participants will receive:
  • Content targeted towards founders building ventures in cybersecurity and AI
  • Community with fellow Black founders to connect and share knowledge
  • Connections to business experts and mentors from the Triangle and Google
  • Cash prize to the Pitch Competition winner
  • And more!
Please get in touch (bfe2023@americanunderground.com) if you have questions, or visit the program website to learn more about BFE, eligibility, and to apply: blackfounders.co.
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“Every time you state what you want or believe, you’re the first to hear it. It’s a message to both you and others about what you think is possible. Don’t put a ceiling on yourself.”
 – Oprah Winfrey



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