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Phillies Collaborates with African American Chamber to Foster Women Entrepreneurs

A luncheon was held on Wednesday by the African American Chamber of Commerce to officially introduce the organization’s Business Accelerator Program for Black women entrepreneurs.
Speakers at the Citizens Bank Park event included Mayor Cherelle Parker and Philadelphia Phillies Managing Partner John S. Middleton. Beginning with a social media campaign and a six-month accelerator program, the initiative seeks to support new experiences for Black women business leaders in a variety of industries. It will serve as a roadmap for a small group of female entrepreneurs seeking mentorship and business growth. Parker talked about the need of making investments in those who have traditionally been unable to access cash.

“That is not a standard operating procedure for the Black and brown women who are here today, having access to that capital — that ‘love’ capital,” she said.

“But I’m also here to let you know that this is not a Johnny-come-lately sort of a round of advocacy for me during my tenure as a member of the City Council of Philadelphia,” Parker added. “I got upset about minority-owned businesses and women-owned businesses not having access to the backroom technical support that they needed for their businesses to thrive.”

Parker then discussed her own experience, which was comparable to the chamber’s efforts, of diversifying the talent pipeline through the Goldman Sachs small company program.
Middleton said, “These women [here] have a common interest.” They’re still battling for acceptance in the corporate community. It is more difficult. Following the lunch and networking session, which also included Regina Hairston, the chamber president, attendees heard from keynote speaker Raven Watson, president of Uptown Homecare and Pulse Staffing.

A group of women who have been in their entrepreneurial roles for at least two years and whose businesses bring in $100,000 or more annually make up the Women’s Business Accelerator cohort.
Members of the African American Chamber of Commerce, the women admitted into the cohort will be expected to participate in multiple workshops and seminars throughout the course of the six-month campaign.

Middleton discussed the challenges faced by women who are determined to become entrepreneurs, similar to those faced by many others, but with a unique set of problems. “It’s still a challenge, but it’s easier than it was 20 years ago and definitely 50 years ago,” he remarked. “And it’s much harder still for Black and Brown women in particular.”

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