Square and Social Change Fund United Launch Accelerator Program

SMBs, BNPL, B2B payments, loans, Plastiq, Obvi

Square and the Social Change Fund United have launched an accelerator program for Black and Latino entrepreneurs.

The new program called Forward includes funding, mentorship and coaching, Square said in a Tuesday (March 14) press release.

“Because Square succeeds when our sellers succeed, we’re fully invested in providing entrepreneurs of color with the tools they need to thrive,” Square Global Head of Customer Success Naomi Wheeless said in the release. “At a time when Black and Brown entrepreneurs are opening more businesses than anyone else, Square is helping to create a space where great ideas and hard-working sellers can get the support and coaching required to reach the next level.”

Forward will support 25 early-stage businesses with $20,000 in funding, training by 1863 Ventures, mentor masterclasses, individual coaching, Square hardware and Square checking and savings accounts, according to the press release.

American Express will also provide funding and coaching opportunities for those participating in Forward, the release said.

“We launched the Social Change Fund United with the goal of creating a more fair and equitable society in part through economic investment and efforts to support minority-owned businesses,” Social Change Fund United Co-Founder Dwyane Wade said in the release. “By partnering with Square today to launch Forward, we’re meeting those goals and helping to ensure that entrepreneurs of color have the opportunity to make their business ideas come to life in a lasting way.”

Applications for the accelerator program are open through April 1, according to the press release.

The launch of Forward follows a variety of programs launched by other companies.

For example, in October, Amazon launched a new initiative called Catalytic Capital that seeks to support venture capital (VC) funds, accelerators, incubators and venture studios that provide funding to entrepreneurs from marginalized environments.

In June, Truist Financial made a $120 million commitment to support small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), with a focus on Black, Latinx and women-owned enterprises.

In March 2022, Bank of America contributed to a fund established by Overlooked Ventures that was established to assist diverse founder teams with one or more founders that are part of a group that has been historically ignored.