The Latino Leadership Institute (LLI) announced its first cohort of business owners and paid advisory board members for its Latino Entrepreneur Access Program (LEAP). LEAP is the first Latino-led business accelerator based out of Colorado to focus on Latino and BIPOC entrepreneurs throughout the region who have moved beyond the start-up stage. This one-year business accelerator is free of cost to 10-15 Latino and BIPOC entrepreneurs. They are coached by a paid advisory board of CEO’s, business leaders and subject matter experts across the globe.
“LEAP is a game-changer in how we ensure our Latino and BIPOC businesses capitalize on their own business investments through the backing, knowledge and investment of a different kind of professional leadership bench and accelerator,” said Joelle Martinez, CEO of LLI. “We have utilized our strength to create businesses, now it’s time we use that same strength to build stronger economic power.”
Latino business-owners are the fastest-growing demographic of entrepreneurs in the U.S. Yet only six percent have expanded beyond sole-person firms. They are also less likely than White entrepreneurs to have professional mentorship. Relying instead on their family and social networks for business advice.
“The journey of Latino and BIPOC entrepreneurs is unique because we face different challenges and barriers along the way. Our program not only recognizes this, it addresses these obstacles with leadership that understands how to navigate them. LEAP is designed to provide critical resources to scale their businesses to a new level of profitability, with mentors who can relate to their challenges and advise them on their journey,” said Harry Hollines, chief strategy officer of LLI.
LEAP’s inaugural cohort of business founders come from diverse sectors. Ranging from technology, sustainable food systems, consulting to construction project management. Through LEAP, they will have direct access to a paid professional network of business leaders. A network that is 73 percent Latino and BIPOC. This advisory board will mentor the entrepreneurs on business strategy, marketing, sales, operations and finance.
It’s not just mentorship that is being offered, but capital too. LEAP advisors and founding partners also serve as connections to a variety of funding options. LLI is partnering with the New Community Transformation Fund. New Community is a BIPOC and women-led investment fund, created to provide equity investments and support the capital readiness of LEAP entrepreneurs.