Dr. Cameka Smith, founder and CEO of The BOSS Network, an online community of professional and entrepreneurial women who support each other through digital content, programs and event-based networking, announces the return of her organization’s 2nd annual BOSS Impact Fund. The Fund focuses on investing in Black women led businesses and preparing these entrepreneurs to build scalable, growth aggressive companies. Its goal is to raise investment funding for 500+ Black women entrepreneurs over the next three years.
Following up on the success of the Fund’s inaugural launch in 2022, the BOSS Network will continue its partnership with Sage (via the Sage Foundation) — the global market leader for technology that provides small and medium businesses with the visibility, flexibility and efficiency to manage finances, operations and people — for its three-year $1.5 million commitment to support the Fund with the “Invest in Progress” grant. To register or for more information, visit BOSSImpactFund.com. The deadline for submissions is February 25.
The BOSS Network has had a long-standing commitment to women entrepreneurs. Dr. Smith says that the mission of The BOSS Network, which stands for “Bringing Out Successful Sisters,” is to promote and encourage the small business spirit and career development of women of color. The BOSS Network is changing the way enterprising women are viewed among the masses and becoming a resource for companies seeking female minority influencers as their target market. It has supported the careers and small business developments of more than 200,000 women of color nationwide through initiatives such as BOSS Business University—a digital platform that provides comprehensive mentorship programming through industry business experts.
Through the Sage “Invest in Progress” Grant Program, 25 Black women entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to receive a capital investment of $10,000 toward successfully starting and growing their business in addition to an entrepreneurial mentor program in support of Black women-owned small businesses. The Sage “Invest in Progress” Grant will also provide coaching, curriculum, and connections while removing capital barriers to help this group achieve success. The grant application process is powered by Hello Alice, a grant funding platform designed for entrepreneurs and small businesses.
This year, the Sage “Invest in Progress” grant includes a 12-month program of entrepreneurial mentorship and education focused on knocking down barriers to business success and guiding these businesswomen to reach their full potential. Each Sage Invest in Progress grant awardee receives:
• $10,000 USD in funding
• Quarterly business training courses through BOSS University sponsored by Sage, focusing on Marketing, Finance, Customer Service, and Business Strategy
• Access to The BOSS Network online community
• Complimentary Sage Business Cloud Accounting software
“The BOSS Network is excited to once again partner with Sage on the second year of our ‘Invest in Progress Grant.’ Last year, through our BOSS Impact Fund, we received such an overwhelming response from innovative entrepreneurs and business owners across the country. The grant has greatly impacted our thirty-five grant winners—who hailed from a variety of industries, and each received $10,000 in funding,” says Dr. Smith. “This year, we look forward to benefiting our next round of BOSS mavens as we continue to provide critical resources and funding to innovative entrepreneurs through this three year program.”
“Starting and growing a business is a proven route to long-term employment, high job satisfaction, and wealth creation, but many people lack the financial support to seize this opportunity for their business ideas,” said Steve Hare, CEO of Sage. “Sage provides strong digital and financial foundations for businesses and start-ups run by underrepresented groups to help tackle economic inequality. Through our ongoing work with The BOSS Network, via both monetary and mentoring support for black female entrepreneurs, we can help knock down barriers to address inequalities and build sustainable communities. I am eager to launch the second round of this important partnership.”
Last year, the overwhelming response of more than 12,500 applicants nationwide after the inaugural launch encouraged Sage and The BOSS Network to expand the program with 10 additional grants in the Sage Invest in Progress program from 25 to 35 grants. These 35 awardees represented entrepreneurs from around the country and in various industries, including Beauty & Self-Care, Consumer Goods, Professional Services, Healthcare/Wellness, and Food and Beverage. (For winner testimonials click here. For winner reaction videos click here.) For more information, please visit: BOSSImpactFund.com.
The BOSS Network will also launch its #InvestInProgress campaign across all social channels beginning in January 2023. The campaign demonstrates its commitment to a broader conversation on leveling the playing field for Black women entrepreneurs to gain access to capital to grow their businesses. In order to see real change for Black female founders #InvestInProgress. Join the conversation with @thebossnetwork and @SageUSAmerica and apply to the #InvestInProgress grant at BOSSImpactFund.com.