7 Business Accelerators for Black Founders in Phoenix

The organizations supporting rising Black and underrepresented founders across the Valley.


Katelyn Harris Lange

7/10/20233 min read

2021 SEE ME Entrepreneur Cohort
2021 SEE ME Entrepreneur Cohort

It's no secret that venture capital dollars provide little to no support for Black founders. According to Crunchbase, Black-founded startups received just 1.3% of all venture and growth equity financing to U.S. startups in 2021.

While increasing equity in venture investment is important, a Harvard Business Review study found that local economies reap the most benefit when startups grow by leveraging resources that already exist in the local community.

Luckily for Phoenix, there is an emergence of organizations focused on helping business owners scale through building relationships locally.

Here are seven organizations supporting rising Black and underrepresented founders across the Valley.

Hustle PHX

Mission: To empower men and women in inner-city/urban communities with the intellectual, social and financial capital to start and grow businesses that glorify God and serve their neighbors.

Program: Founded in 2012, the Hustle PHX 101, 201 and 301 programs provide entrepreneurs with a 13-week, 9 month, and 12 month successive curriculum. In 2022, the organization launched Y.E.P to support youth entrepreneurship.

Apply for Hustle PHX 101 here. Cohorts run in the Spring and Fall.

Social and Economic Equity for Minority Enterprises Program (SEE ME)

(2021 Cohort pictured above)

Mission: Raising visibility and opportunities for black-owned business in Arizona.

Program: Launched in 2019, the SEE ME Program is part of the Black Philanthropy Initiative’s Social Justice Project to improve economic equity in Arizona’s black communities state-wide.

The 18-month program aimed to close the wealth gap through supporting, tracking, and evaluating a total of twenty (20) nonprofit/for-profit businesses.​ ARG Cultivator Community leads the program and support includes a system of mentoring, financial education, business development, and a $16,500 capital investment.

Applications open in February.

We Rise by Local First Arizona

Mission: Powering Arizona's Black entrepreneurs one business at a time.

Program: Launched in 2020, and modeled after the successful Fuerza Local Accelerator for Hispanic founders, We Rise is a no-fee six-month program offering comprehensive and practical business skills to Arizona’s Black entrepreneurs.

Meeting bi-weekly, business owners receive classroom instruction and mentorship from Black entrepreneurs with firsthand experience and expertise in starting or growing a small business in Arizona.

Applications open in October.

The Journey Venture Studio Founder-in-Residence Program

Mission: To close the racial and gender opportunity gap in the venture world by enabling diverse founders to pursue entrepreneurship while providing the resources and support to ensure their success.

Program: Launched in 2023, The Journey is a mission-driven Venture Studio based in Phoenix, Arizona that is transforming the founder journey. Over the course of six months, entrepreneurs receive culturally competent leadership coaching and venture development training.

Founders work with the Journey team to develop, prototype, and test a novel business model and a company creation plan that serves the healthcare space. Each Founder-in-Residence receives $100,000 in direct and in-kind financial support.

Apply here.

Empower by GoDaddy + ignite sparked by BBB (Better Business Bureau)

Mission: BBB and GoDaddy collaborated to provide community-based learning opportunities that help everyday entrepreneurs excel on an ethical path.

Program: Empower by GoDaddy, in partnership with ignite sparked by BBB, is a premier 8-week small business Main St. Accelerator. The curriculum provides insights by industry leaders, mentorship, and in-kind GoDaddy products for business improvement.

Apply here.

Impact AZ 2025 by Millionaire Mastermind Academy

Mission: IMPACT AZ 2025 is Arizona's largest supplier diversity readiness accelerator. We break through social injustice and boost economic impact through public and private partnerships. Our Robust Incubator meets entrepreneurs where they are, from startup to scale-up, while preparing for Supplier Diversity opportunities.

Program: The three year program prepares small business owners to win contracts with corporations and government agencies. Participants attend weekly classes & mentor sessions. Classes are held every Tuesday & Wednesday from 4:30pm - 7:00pm.

Join the waitlist here.

Archwood Community Resource Empowerment Strategy (ACRES) by Archwood Exchange

Mission: Archwood Exchange was established in 2016 by a group of entrepreneurs and organizers with a goal of increasing the presence and vitality of Black-Owned businesses in Arizona.

Program: Since May of 2017, Archwood Exchange has operated a monthly “Buy Black Marketplace” in downtown Phoenix where small, underserved businesses showcase their products and services to the community. Over 200 businesses have visited the marketplace, many becoming household names throughout the Valley. The organization recently opened ACRES, a permanent retail store and hosts classes and events, including business pitch contests and an 8 week training course, aimed at equipping the business community with resources and education needed to grow and scale their ventures.

Join the mailing list and follow @archwoodexchange for more information on upcoming classes.

All six of the organizations listed are 501(c)(3) nonprofits. Given the importance of the role each plays in building an ecosystem of support for local Black founders, consider supporting the work through a donation.

If you are a social entrepreneur looking for national connections and support, read about 6 national fellowships for leaders building business plans with community impact in mind.