Thursday, June 8, 2023

Read the Latest



Dedicated to Holistically Investing in Black-owned Businesses, The Black Women Ran Incubator Program Officially Announces Its First Cohort of Businesses Across Several Major Cities

ATLANTA, March 6, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The Village Market (TVM) and its non-profit arm, Our Village United (OVU), announced today the official launch of its first cohort of the ELEVATED CITIES national incubator program. In partnership with Mastercard’s “In Solidarity” initiative, the national program will focus on cities across the country including Atlanta, Los Angeles, St. Louis, New Orleans, New York City, Dayton, Birmingham, Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia. The first cohort includes 125 Black-owned businesses across these cities and more.

Designed to provide opportunities for Black-owned businesses to scale for growth, ELEVATED CITIES will provide selected businesses targeted capital grants, technical assistance, shared professional services and wellness support. Selected small businesses will be awarded grants ranging from $10,000 to $15,000. TVM and OVU will also be extending support to Black-owned businesses in Charlotte, Dallas, Houston, Memphis, Miami, Montgomery, Phoenix and Norristown, Pa. through the program.

“Through ELEVATE, our mission is to equip and position our village of small businesses to thrive despite systemic barriers that impact their ability to scale. Our goal is to address these barriers to ensure that Black-owned small businesses can access the resources they need to build sustainable businesses,” says Dr. Lakeysha Hallmon, Founder and CEO of The Village Market. “Through this national expansion, we are able to impact more amazing and innovative Black founders across the country – and most importantly, connect them to assistance and opportunities that could serve as catalysts for growth. I’m thrilled to officially launch our programming nationally with this cohort of amazing businesses.”

The first cohort of businesses will participate in a 12-week incubation period where they will receive access to $100,000 in grant opportunities, business development classes, mentorship programs and professional and technical support services. As a core tenet of the program, business owners are also connected with wellness support led by licensed wellness coaches and mental health practitioners.

“We are proud to work with Our Village United to support more businesses getting access to this catalytic program that will foster their growth and full participation in the digital economy,” said Salah Goss, Senior Vice President of Social Impact for North America at the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth. “It is exciting to see the ELEVATE program expand nationally and we are eager to continue to partner with Dr. Hallmon and her team not only in Atlanta where we continue to deepen our engagement, but also in additional cities.”

ELEVATED CITIES is the national expansion of OVU’s highly successful ELEVATE program, which works to provide wrap-around support for solopreneurs and micro businesses. Launched in 2021, ELEVATE has tremendously impacted over 250 Black-owned small businesses serving as a model for holistically addressing the barriers founders experience in operations, marketing, sales and funding.

To learn more about ELEVATED CITIES and the selected businesses, please visit

About The Village Market

A community-driven economic vehicle, The Village Market, founded in 2016, steers a direct pipeline for Black-owned businesses’ economic growth and placement. With the opening of Village Retail – sub-company located at Ponce City Market – The Village Market has made a 7.3-million-dollar impact in the city of Atlanta through seasonal marketplaces, retail and campaigns. From theory to practice, The Village Market ensures that Black business owners are positioned for unmatched access and economic equality.  For more information, please visit

About Our Village United

The work of Our Village United is grounded in a theory of change that focuses on building strong, resilient communities through the delivery of culturally competent training and business solutions. Our Village United’s mission supports the growth of Black solopreneurs and microbusinesses by delivering targeted technical assistance and shared professional services that empower business owners to grow their operations and scale their businesses.

About the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth

The Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth advances equitable and sustainable economic growth and financial inclusion around the world. The center leverages the company’s core assets and competencies, including data insights, expertise and technology, while administering the philanthropic Mastercard Impact Fund, to produce independent research, scale global programs and empower a community of thinkers, leaders and doers on the front lines of inclusive growth. For more information and to receive its latest insights, follow the center on Twitter and LinkedIn and subscribe to its newsletter.

Media Contacts:

Dreena Whitfield, [email protected], 908.558.2602

Brionna Miller, [email protected], 908.558.2602

Cision View original content:

SOURCE Our Village United