National nonprofit Founders First CDC announced its second expanded Job Creators Quest Grant for qualified businesses in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
The program will total $100,000 and will be awarded to 30 minority and underrepresented businesses in neighboring northeast states. Grant recipients will also receive a scholarship for a business accelerator program that includes leadership coaching and continuing business education.
To qualify for the Job Creators Quest Grant, businesses must have between two and 20 employees, be a service business, and be a for-profit business with annual revenue between $100,000 and $3 million.
The business must also be founded by an entrepreneur who identifies as a minority, a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, a military veteran, or is in a low-to-moderate income area.
Each grant will range between $1,500 and $10,000 and will include a guaranteed spot in one of the Founders First acceleration programs. Recipients will be chosen based on their ability to maintain and grow their workforce and their commitment to creating high-quality paying jobs in their communities. In the past, the funding has supported a wide range of businesses, including a transportation company and a high-tech human capital solutions group.
“Although Pennsylvania and New Jersey are two different states with unique stories to tell, their entrepreneurs are bound together by the determination needed to overcome the challenges of business and life,” Shaylon Scott, executive director of Founders First, said in a statement. “We are proud to return to both markets with the goal of building long-term relationships and supporting ambitious leaders who inspire their communities. »
Funding for this program was facilitated by a $1 million national grant from the Rockefeller Foundation and ADP, in conjunction with Founders First Capital Partners’ recent $9 million Series A funding accelerator, which supports underrepresented entrepreneurs and underserved communities across the country. JPMorgan Chase and the Kauffman Foundation are also partners in developing the program nationally.
Other national and regional partners include Black Enterprise, Spring Point, PIDC, The Enterprise Center, the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership, ImpactPHL, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey SBDC, 76Forward, University City Science Center, Juno Capital, the Temple University Small Business Development Center, Village Capital, West Philadelphia Corridor Collaborative, Philly Startup Leaders, and Technical.ly.
Here are three innovative and successful entrepreneurs who have benefited from the Founders First funding/accelerator model.
Angela McIver, Trapeze Mathematics
Trapezium is an online math enrichment program dedicated to increasing the number of children who leave elementary school ready to succeed in the most rigorous math programs in middle school and beyond.
Trapezium has spent over a decade developing content aimed at building confident and fearless elementary math learners and teachers. Trapezium is different from individual math tutoring because it addresses the whole learner through collaborative problem solving and team building, including differentiated instruction, automaticity, teaching up to mastery and “technology-free” activities and lessons.
IyaSokoya Karade aka Coach Iya, Academy of Athletic Arts
The Athletic Arts Academy (A3) is a fully equipped 10,500 square foot Olympic-style fitness center for children ages 2 and up, from beginner to competitive level, located in Orange, New Jersey.
A3’s youth training programs include gymnastics, figure skating and dance. During the coronavirus pandemic, Coach Iya established the A3 Gymnastics Child Care Center LLC, a state-licensed program providing distance/virtual learning support and after-school care for school-aged children ages 6-12.
Coach Iya’s professional gymnastics life began in 2000 as a substitute instructor during her daughters’ classes. Seeing a lack of safe and developmental recreational programs in her home area, she opened her first gymnastics school, Karade Gymnastics School, in 2005. Subsequently, A3 in 2014.
Al Nesha Jones, ASE Group
Al Nesha Jones founded ASE Group in 2016 to help individuals and business owners protect what matters most to them through tax compliance, minimizing tax liability, good record keeping and insurance adequate.
SEAGAroup is a unique full-service accounting, tax, and advisory firm focused on empowering small business owners to build strong, sustainable businesses. ASE Group specializes in adding value to money through strong record keeping, proactive tax planning, tax return preparation and year-round advisory support for entrepreneurs in the NJ/NY area. /CT/PA.
ASE’s plans include launching a do-it-yourself accounting course bundled with support from an online community and CPA oversight. The course is being created for new business owners who understand the importance of good financial record keeping, but currently lack the resources to outsource their bookkeeping and advisory functions.
Annie Sneed-Godfrey, Water Works Laundry
Located in Newark, New Jersey, Water Works Laundromat has been providing laundry services to residents and businesses in Essex, Hudson and Union counties since 2007.
The laundry belongs to Annie Sneed-Godfrey and her husband, both proud graduates of Westside High School and Rutgers University, and are trained business executives. Last April, Sneed-Godfrey and her husband opened Smart Sudz Laundromat, their second state-of-the-art laundromat.
The couple are now gaining ground as the preferred laundry partner for private aged care and rehabilitation facilities and are opening new stores in other New Jersey counties.