Jul 18, 2022 - Business

Eclectic NWA startups get accelerator boost

Illustration of a pattern of piggy banks in various shades of pink and brown.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Fifteen early-stage NWA startups have been selected for a one-year business accelerator by Entrepreneurship for All Northwest Arkansas (EforAll), which breaks out two cohorts — one English, one Spanish — for its inaugural program.

Why it matters: The U.S. is missing out on more than 1 million minority-owned businesses because of discrimination, one study estimates. EforAll focuses on developing underrepresented and minority entrepreneurs to help close that gap.

By the numbers: EforAll's two cohorts are made up of 88% women owners and 80% who identify as Black, Asian/Pacific Islander or Hispanic.

One entrepreneur has autism.

  • People with disabilities are the largest minority group in the U.S., making up an estimated 20% of the population.

Details: The accelerator program provides each participant with mentorship, customized curriculum, peer support, coworking space and opportunities to win seed money.

  • The entrepreneurs will start building their business models this month.

The intrigue: The cohorts include an eclectic mix of businesses, from a candy maker to a tattoo artist to human resources consulting to an all-day breakfast food truck.

What's next: EforAll is hosting an ideas pitch contest in September in which entrepreneurs will compete for a $1,000 cash prize.

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