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Empowering People of Color to Start Tech Companies in Richmond

Activation Capital and Opportunity Hub (OHUB) have joined forces to increase Black, Brown, and other minority founders’ access to the technology and startup ecosystem across Central Virginia and the Commonwealth. The organizations are building an infrastructure that will provide access to resources, training, and capital opportunities that have historically been out of reach for many entrepreneurs of color.

Who's a part of our community?

Undergraduate or Graduate Student

Are you a college or grad student thinking about a scalable business idea? Are you an engineering or computer science student that wants to create a startup? This community is for you!

Career Professional

Are you a product manager, engineer, or tech-savvy young or mid-career professional? Have you identified a pain point in your industry and want to start a business to address it? This community is for you!

Repeat Founder or Business Owner

Have you started previous businesses using technology? Do you want to refresh your lean startup skillset? Working on a new idea and want a chance at $50,000 in funding? This community is for you!

Have You Had Any of the Following Questions?

Yes! This program is designed to empower founders with and without startup experience. Looks for ways to get involved in our community!

If you’re looking to pivot or expand your current business using technology to scale, this community is for you! 

Ideas can come from a range of sources, but the best ideas usually emerge from people exchanging ideas. That’s why we’re building this community!

This community is designed to support your process of raising venture capital.

No! Our community will guide you through the process of testing your product idea before you decide to take the jump. 

Watch Our Launch Event!

Pilot Program Events

This initial programs of events will help test and evaluate a comprehensive framework that would be used to enable direct investments into entrepreneur support organizations (ESOs) to deploy a culturally competent framework for minority entrepreneur development and provide administrative support to ESOs to help improve program sustainability.

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Launch Event: March 3, 2022 7-9PM [virtual]

Learn about Opportunity Hub and Activation Capital as we kick off this campaign with a great lineup of nationally recognized leaders and entrepreneurs.

Fireside Chat: Kishau Rogers Journey in Virginia
Kishau Rogers is a technology entrepreneur using computer science, systems thinking, and common sense to create intelligent human-centered solutions. As the Founder and CEO of Time Study, Kishau is the first Black woman in the state of Virginia to raise millions in venture capital to scale her tech startup.

Fireside Chat: Sherrell Dorsey: National Perspectives on Ecosystems and Why Richmond, Why Now
Sherrell Dorsey is the founder and CEO of The Plug—a subscription-based digital news and insights platform covering the Black innovation economy. Her work has been featured in VICE, The Washington Post, Axios, The Information, and more. Sherrell has been a contributing writer for notable publications like Columbia Journalism Review, Fast Company, Black Enterprise, and others. In 2018, she was named an inspiring woman in tech by CNet.

Fireside Chat: Early Stage Venture Capital Strategies Featuring: Farah Allen, Kelli Jones, and Brandon Andrews
How can black and brown founders find funding and capital to start new ventures? Hear from three experienced entrepreneurs on how they started their businesses and the strategies they used to fund their companies.

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One Day Starter Master Class: April 23, 2022 9AM-12PM

Through an open application call, 100 idea-to-product stage founders are provided scholarships to participate in the 1-day masterclass. This all-day master class is designed to take 100 idea-to-product stage founders through the agile process of obsessive problem-solving. Founders are fortified with the knowledge to start a high-growth business from the ground up, and to navigate the science and best practices of company building as they seek to solve business problems using edge technology. Participants leave knowing what it actually takes to start a high-growth company that can launch, grow and thrive in the fourth industrial revolution and beyond.

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Startup Bootcamp: April 30, May 7, May 14, May 21 9AM-3PM

Up to fifty participants from its applicant pool will receive scholarships to a four-weekend startup boot camp. Taught once monthly during a four-hour day, our boot camp takes startup founders from product to market. The program helps founders prioritize decisions in their startup idea to help them navigate from idea to product-market fit. Topics covered include customer discovery, business model generation, building teams, market sizing, product development & roadmap, customer development, fundraising, pitch prep, and corporate governance. Successful completion includes pitching in front of a panel of investors. You must apply to one day masterclass to qualify to participate!

Startup Boot Camp Participants

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Lightship Pre-Accelerator: May 24-26th 9AM-1PM

Lightship will run its one-week pre-accelerator for 10 founders. Over the course of a week, Lightship will take the selected founders through a program designed to prepare them for fundraising and customer acquisition. At the conclusion of the pre-accelerator program, one startup will receive a $50,000 investment from OHUB and Activation Capital. This company will then be introduced to accelerators like Techstars, Alchemist and beyond; and investors like Lightship, Fearless, Backstage, Zeal and M25. You must apply to one day masterclass to qualify to participate!

Stay Up-to-Date on Underestimated Tech Founder Programs

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// About This Initiative

Building the Innovation Ecosystem

The partnership will leverage experts and talent pipelines from regional colleges/universities.

We are honored to announce that the Richmond-Petersburg region is a winner of the national Build Back Better Regional Challenge and are thankful for the collaboration that made this transformative grant possible.

Learn more about the award and how it will spark transformational change.