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IFEL is raising $1 million worth of talent, expertise and resources
to support up to 10 Women of Color Entrepreneurs

NEWARK, NJ, November 28, 2018 — The Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership (IFEL) today announced the IFEL Adopt-A-Business program to address the challenges faced by Women of Color entrepreneurs in accessing financial capital.


“We are ready to address the access to capital challenge looking through a different lens. The IFEL community of supporters has an extraordinary network of talent and resources that if properly channeled can help propel historically under-resourced entrepreneurs to new heights,” says  Jill Johnson, IFEL Co-Founder and CEO. “This is a movement to change the way we think about building the capacity of Women of Color Entrepreneurs to grow and scale given limited access to capital.”

The IFEL Adopt-A-Business Program will engage business professionals, service providers and corporate employees as volunteers to help Women of Color entrepreneurs, with high-growth or scalable businesses, fill knowledge and capacity gaps, and create connections that open doors to opportunity. With growth and scale, these businesses will have a broader range of options for accessing financial capital.


“Access to capital is a legacy challenge with roots deep in our American history,” explains Johnson. “While there have been innovative capital solutions in recent years, capital constraint remains a defining problem for the majority of Women of Color entrepreneurs. It's time we take a new approach to addressing this problem.” Women of Color are starting businesses at higher rates than anyone else; yet they receive less capital, have fewer successful exits, produce less revenue and fewer jobs, and provide less income for owners.  Access to both start-up and growth capital continues to be a fundamental barrier to the growth of Women of Color owned businesses. According to the 2017 State of Women-Owned Business Report Commissioned by American Express, if revenues generated by minority women-owned firms matched those currently generated by other women-owned businesses, they would add $1.1 trillion in revenues and 3.8 million new jobs to the U.S. economy.


The IFEL Adopt-A-Business Program is being launched in conjunction with a broader initiative to help Women of Color entrepreneurs build capacity and scale. The initiative, Women of Color Connecting: Changing the Way We Do Business, will hold a convening summit January 31 - February 1, 2019 at the Newark Liberty International Airport Marriott Hotel in Newark, NJ.


Up to ten (10) entrepreneurs will be selected for the Success Circles Cohort to share in $1 million worth of capacity building support resources. Preference will be given to Women of Color entrepreneurs who are in business for at least five years and have revenues exceeding $100,000. The deadline for application is January 3, 2019. Entrepreneurs interested in applying and companies interested in becoming an Adopt-A-Business partner, can learn more at


ABOUT THE INSTITUTE FOR ENTREPRENEURIAL LEADERSHIP: Founded in 2002 and based in Newark, NJ, the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership (IFEL), is an independent, not-for-profit organization that supports economic development through entrepreneurship. We help entrepreneurs gain access to the knowledge, networks and capital needed for success to be possible. Our small business capacity building resources focus on strengthening business fundamentals, connecting entrepreneurs to networks of influence, and breaking down barriers that limit access to capital. In addition to providing direct services, we have expertise in creating programming for foundations, corporations and agency partners that promotes inclusive economic development.





Contact Kathryn Lancioni at 973-353-0611x115 or

for more information or to schedule an interview.

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