The Urban League of Louisiana recently announced its latest initiative to support Black women entrepreneurs in the retail sector.

The Black Women in Retail Accelerator Program is being launched in collaboration with the National Urban League.

The Urban League of Louisiana is one of five National Urban League Entrepreneurship Centers that is participating in this national accelerator program. Walmart is sponsoring the program through the Center for Racial Equity. 

The Urban League of Louisiana’s inaugural group will feature 10 Black women-owned retail businesses across the state.

The businesses will receive specialized coaching, industry-specific mentoring, and targeted training. The program will also offer practical assistance in obtaining small business certifications, guidance for pursuing both public and private contracting opportunities, and leadership skills development training.

“We are proud to offer this unique program in support of Black women in retail across Louisiana and applaud National Urban League and Walmart for being intentional in its efforts to support Black women founders,” said Judy Reese Morse, president and CEO of the Urban League of Louisiana, in a press release.

“As we celebrate the Urban League of Louisiana’s 85th anniversary this year, it is imperative that we continue the organization’s rich history of creating programs and providing resources that yield economic impact and create generational wealth within the Black community,” Morse continued. “This program is just one more shining example of Urban League of Louisiana’s commitment to continue this legacy.”

The program is dedicated to fostering job creation and retention and enabling the evolution of sole proprietorships into thriving multi-employee firms.

“This program will be a game-changer for Black women in retail,” said Klassi Duncan, vice president of Urban League of Louisiana’s Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation.

Duncan says participants will gain knowledge and insights from retail experts in capacity building, distribution, go-to-market strategies, supply chain management, and access to capital.

“One of the biggest challenges that small businesses face is getting access the right resources to scale in meeting the needs of large big box retailers. This program directly addresses this challenge and much more,” Duncan added.

Black women remain the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs. The retail accelerator program is helping to address many of the challenges that Black women founders continue to face.

These challenges include struggles when attempting to raise capital for their businesses, overcoming stressors like burnout, and biases presented as Black women navigate building their businesses.