How We Help Entrepreneurs

We prepare 2nd-stage BIPOC, women, LGBTQ+ and rural founders to scale and build authentic, values-aligned relationships for sustainable business growth.


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Statistics indicate that women claimed just 2% of the VC funds, and women of color claimed just under 1% in 2021.

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In a 2019 study conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York it was noted that only 17% of firms with non-Hispanic Black ownership reported their funding needs were satisfied.

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29.4% of BIPOC business owners receive all the funding they request from the bank compared to 54.2% of that of white business owners.

With only 1.2% of BPOC entrepreneurs receiving venture capital funding, there is an obvious gap in accessing money and resources that are essential in growing any business.

From our accelerators to our Integrated Capital Fund to our ConnectUP! Summit, we provide our community of founders with equitable access and culturally-informed resources, funding and networks. Our programming prioritizes women of color and is informed by the lived experiences of Black women – but all are welcome. We believe when we work for the most marginalized, we do better for all. This has been our secret to success.

Our Initiatives designed for entrepreneurs

Capital Readiness Accelerator

Get ready (and stay ready) to receive funding for your small business with our Capital Readiness Accelerator! 

Our 12-week Capital Readiness Accelerator will prepare you and your business to receive capital from an array of funding institutions, like our Integrated Capital Fund. The number one need of entrepreneurs is capital – to start, scale, and sustain their businesses but if you aren’t ready with the right documentation and mindset, those dollars can only go so far! 

Applications for our upcoming Capital Readiness Accelerator are closed.


In September 2023, we were honored to acquire the Lunar Startups Accelerator after 5 years of impact at Lunar Startups! With 6 cohorts of incredible alumni, the Lunar Accelerator is a 6-month, customized cohort program for founders who share any of the following identities: Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and/or women, and/or LGBTQ+. Now, Lunar participants and alumni will experience a more immediate path to funding opportunities, and the Accelerator will support more founders to be eligible and qualified to receive funding from our Integrated Capital Fund. Check out the acquisition FAQs here

Applications for #Cohort7 are closed.

ConnectUP! has inspired me a lot and given me the opportunity to communicate with more entrepreneurs. I am very grateful for it and it has also given me great inspiration for my future career development. I hope to have more opportunities to participate in such activities in the future.” -
ConnectUP! Summit
Entrepreneur Attendee


Connect and learn with your niche industry!

One day of action-driven workshops, deep-relationship building, and networking opportunities. Each Mini-Summit is tailored for a specific industry sector. Some industry focuses  for our upcoming Mini-Summits include Cannabis, CPG, and Food businesses. This one-day gathering to revamp your business goals, operations and connections is just what you need to #LevelUp

Unfortunately, we have made the difficult decision to postpone our April 2024 Mini-Summit for creatives and freelancers. Make sure you subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest details on our next Mini-Summit and everything entrepreneur!

Integrated Capital Fund

Our Integrated Capital Fund, a.k.a. ICF, supports 2nd-stage Black, Brown, Queer and Rural Founders across Minnesota by addressing the capital and resource gap that those communities face in the entrpreneur ecosystem. We power access, opportunity and success by providing the three C’s: capital, capacity and community.

CEO Circles

CEO Circles are designed to equip second-stage CEOs with actionable strategies to overcome the hurdles of surviving in the market space, maintaining good business practices, and scaling up. Each month, 3-4 CEOs will join us to sit down with Expert Mentors and work through issues they may be facing. These topic-specific meetings are also a space for CEOs to seek advice from their peers who may have experienced similar hurdles in the past. In 2023, we’ve explored budgetting, personal growth, business pitches and more!

Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date on our upcoming CEO Circes in 2024!

ConnectUP! Summit

The ConnectUP! Summit brings together entrepreneurs, investors and entrepreneur support organization leaders from Minnesota and across the country for two days of culturally responsive talks, action-driven workshops, deep-relationship building and diverse networking opportunities. With an emphasis on entrepreneur needs and realities, the ConnectUP! Summit provides founders with tools, resources and connections to #LevelUp themselves and their businesses!

OUR IMPACT ON Entrepreneurs

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32% of ConnectUP! Summit participants reported securing new business and/or forming business partnerships as a result of their participation!

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86% of ConnectUP! Summit attendees reported forming a new connection with an investor through their participation!

Help Us Reach Our $10,000 Give to the Max Day Donation Goal!

Join us for #GivetotheMaxDay this year as we gear up to provide more funding, programming and resources for the local entrepreneurs that bring life to Minnesota with their unique small businesses.