November 11, 2022 9:57am
Local entrepreneurs graduate from second cohort of Greater Louisville Inc.’s minority business accelerator
Louisville, Ky. (November 11, 2022) – After completing a rigorous eight-month program, 12 Louisville minority business owners graduated from the second cohort of Greater Louisville Inc.’s Power to Prosper Minority Business Accelerator. Last night, GLI hosted a ceremony at the Muhammad Ali Center honoring the graduates, sponsored by Park Community Credit Union and One Southern Indiana, which was attended by business leaders and members of GLI’s Board of Directors. The ceremony also featured a keynote address from Demetrius Gray, GLI board member and CEO & Founder of Captain, remarks from the GLI leadership team, and individual recognition of each participant. The 12 graduates include:
- Dr. Ashley Anderson, owner and CEO of Athena Health and Wellness
- Keith Brooks, owner of Longevity Power Wash
- LaToya Cook-Bradley, CEO of Brew and Sip Coffee
- Dr. Christine Cosby-Gaither, owner of Haaylo Media
- Sarah Dixon, president and founding partner of Unified Sign and Design
- Angela Huffman, founder and CEO of Quilted Joy
- Raghu Kodumuri, COO and founding partner of SSG Technologies
- Quinn Livers, owner and director of Active Imaginations Child Development Center
- Kim Mosley, owner and CEO of KP Cleaning Crew, LLC
- Hazel Parrish, owner of Bridge the Gap Addiction and Mental Health Services
- Alton “Trey” Reed, president of KREED Painting
- Diamond Shirley, principal broker and owner of Diamond Key Realtors
“This program is a serious time commitment outside of normal business hours and each of these graduates demonstrated their desire to grow and build their business here in Louisville,” said Dana Johnson, senior director of diversity, equity, and inclusion for GLI. “It has been an honor to witness their growth and help them through this journey. I am thrilled for the great things ahead for their businesses.”
Over the past eight months, participants completed 13 intensive sessions across four modules that covered important business skills, built connections with the Greater Louisville business community, and provided the knowledge to take their businesses to the next level, including business and strategic assessment, finances, marketing and sales, and human resources.
The Power to Prosper accelerator offered opportunities for participants to connect with GLI investors and major corporations in the city by facilitating introductions and hosting events, such as Breaking the Mold: Progress through Procurement, a speed-dating style event with the procurement staff at some of the city’s biggest companies; and opportunities to attend GLI’s exclusive GLIDE JAX trip. The program concluded with participants presenting their growth plans to a panel of regional business leaders to solicit feedback and ideas for continued growth.
“When we launched Power to Prosper last year, our goal was two-fold – to remove barriers to growth for individual businesses and create a more inclusive economy where every entrepreneur with passion and motivation can thrive. The results we have seen from our first two cohorts show we are moving the needle in both areas,” said Sarah Davasher-Wisdom, president and CEO of GLI. “I am proud of the accomplishments of each of our graduates and looking forward to seeing the progress they make in the months and years ahead.”
GLI’s Power to Prosper accelerator was launched through a partnership with national consulting firm Interise which designed the framework and curriculum. Interise’s StreetWise ‘MBA’™ uses a peer-learning structure and learning sessions with industry experts and business peers to provide insights, strategies, motivation, and accountability. Graduates walk away with a vetted individualized three-year Strategic Growth Action Plan™ that outlines the actionable steps required to achieve their professional and business goals.
Data from the first cohort shows that the program has already been successful in helping businesses grow. Interise recently surveyed participants from the inaugural cohort one year after their graduation and found that 91% of participants are keeping up with their growth plan developed in the program, and collectively they have experienced an average of 57% increase in revenue since graduation. Many have hired new employees from within the community and 100% expressed satisfaction with the Power to Prosper Accelerator.
“Before the Power to Prosper accelerator, I felt a bit like I was drowning in overwhelm. Through the program, I was pushed to discern what my business needed the most to grow and how to structure those changes,” said Angela Huffman, founder and CEO of Quilted Joy and a 2022 graduate. “Because of Power to Prosper, I now have a three-year growth plan broken out into goals and benchmarks backed by solid financial analysis. I highly recommend this program to other entrepreneurs.”
This accelerator is coordinated by GLI’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Department, headed by Dana Johnson, senior director of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and Eric Jordan, diversity and inclusion strategies manager. Classes were taught by Miguel Hampton, president and CEO of local business, F5 Enterprises. Applications for the third cohort of the Power to Prosper MBA program will open on December 5, 2022.
Criteria for participation includes at least one employee and the ability to commit the required time to the curriculum. GLI is proud to offer this benefit, valued at $15,000, free of charge to participants thanks to the generous support of Papa Johns and Thorntons, as GLI’s initial lead investors for inclusion, and supporters of GLI’s NOW Louisville five-year strategic plan.