The Black Business &
Entrepreneur Accelerator

Join a free, 14-week crash course on everything you wish you knew about running a business but don’t know who to ask.

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It’s great to own a business… until it’s not.

You want your business to flourish. But if you’re like most small business owners, you know a whole lot about your area of expertise and a whole lot less about running a business.

“Figuring it out on the fly” can be exhilarating at first, but it doesn’t take long for exhilaration to turn into exhaustion.

At 24/7 BLAC, we believe:

You deserve a clear path to fulfill your dream without burning out.

Join the Black Business & Entrepreneur Accelerator.

Risk-takers are the ones who will change the narrative for Black Americans in Waterloo & Cedar Falls. We recognize your courage to step out on a limb and invite you into a community eager to help you thrive.

As a participant in the BBEA, a 14-week business crash course, you’ll join a cohort of around 15 entrepreneurs at all stages of business ownership to overcome social, economic, and systematic challenges faced by Black entrepreneurs, while mastering fundamentals that save time, money, and stress, like:

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Awarded the Model Community Accelerator/Incubator Award at the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship annual conference

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Customer Discovery

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Marketing Strategy

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Customer Acquisition

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Legal Structures

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And much more!

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Image of BBEA instructor ReShonda Young

ReShonda Young, founder of Popcorn Haven and Bank of Jabez.

You’ll be led by an instructor much like you.

Hi, I’m ReShonda Young, a born entrepreneur. When my college classmates were eager to find a 40-year career, my insides were screaming telling me that my time is supposed to be my own.

Well, God had a plan for me, one that has led me to where I am. It started when my identity was stolen…

Read the rest of the story.

After my identity was stolen, no institutions would lend me money. But then an anonymous man from small town Iowa loaned me money to purchase my first rental property.

My father asked me to help with his maintenance and transportation businesses. Despite my hesitancy, I was called to commit seven years of my life to help revive his businesses.

My career zigged and zagged.

I opened a popcorn store, which turned into a business I licensed in six states before selling it five years later. I have been (and still am) a social justice and equality activist. Now, I am following my calling to open Iowa’s first Black-owned bank.

I’m a born entrepreneur, and I’m committed to helping business owners navigate complicated financial challenges in their personal and business life. I’m especially committed to doing my part to end the wealth gap for Black Americans.

No matter your background, I can’t wait to hear your story and see how I can help.

And become part of a supportive network for life.

During the program, you’ll make a meaningful connection with a cohort of like-valued professionals. And upon graduation, you’ll be invited to join an active alum community that gets first access to mastermind groups and workshops led by the brightest and most savvy business minds.

Allow us to introduce you to a few alum:

You probably have questions.

As a business owner, your time is your most valuable asset and you can’t afford to waste it. Before you apply, browse through some of our most frequently asked questions to make sure BBEA is for you.

How much does it cost?

The course is free to Black business owners in Waterloo and Cedar Falls!

I heard something about a stipend?

Upon completion, students who meet attendance and participation requirements receive a $1500 stipend to use in their business.

What is the time commitment?

Including class time, you can expect to spend 3-5 hours per week as part of the BBEA. The program lasts 14 weeks.

When are classes held?

The course is offered two times per year, generally on Tuesday evenings from 6-8 p.m.

Is there a waitlist?

Yes. In order to be considered for the next cohort, please apply. The program is offered on a first-come, first-serve basis with consideration given to the diversity of cohort makeup.

What if I have to miss a class?

If you expect to miss more than one class in the 14-week period, you are asked to wait for the next offering.

What will I learn?

As a participant, you’ll become further equipped to overcome social, economic, and systematic challenges faced by Black entrepreneurs, while mastering fundamentals that save time, money, and stress, like:

  • Customer discovery
  • Marketing
  • Customer acquisition
  • Financing
  • Legal structures
  • And more!

My business is fairly new; am I eligible?

Yes, as long as you've earned at least $1000 in sales.

I am a seasoned business owner; is this for me?

Yes! You will learn and grow with others in your stage of business, and perhaps those earlier or later in their ownership journeys.

My business is unique; will the course apply?

Yes! The course is fine-tuned with each cohort to meet each owners needs.

Could a competitor be in the class?

Probably not! We do our absolute best to avoid this scenario.

What will be asked of me?

As a participant, we ask that you (1) attend sessions, (2) participate in discussion, and (3) apply what you learn to your business. After graduation, we hope you'll share your success and join the BBEA alumni community where you can continue to learn and support the next cohort of owners!

You may have fought tooth and nail to get where you are.

But you don’t have to charge ahead on your own. Take a breath in BBEA, surrounded by people who get you, and graduate with knowledge, network, and a refreshed drive to break more ground!