Dream. Hustle. Learn. Manifest.
Accelerate your business in just 6 months with BM 2.0.
What is BM 2.0?
BM 2.0 is Boston’s first microbusiness sales accelerator for underserved entrepreneurs and founders. It’s designed to unlock potential, catalyze economic growth, and empower entrepreneurs— with a particular emphasis on women and people of color— who are in the earliest phases of their business development. Offering unmatched access to education, mentorship and networking opportunities, financing, and other key resources, BM 2.0 will play a critical part in helping scale entrepreneurs’ businesses.
The cohort-based accelerator program will engage 20 businesses from July to December 2019. BM 2.0 is an investment in adventurous, innovative entrepreneurs who shape main streets, providing support through funding, mentorship, gatherings, and business development services. Combining workshop sessions with expert guidance in key areas like marketing, web/social media, accounting, banking/credit, legal assistance and more with the application of those insights through marketplace vending, our mentorship can be applied in real time for real results and accelerated sales growth. BM 2.0 seeks to amplify the voices of microbusinesses working in select creative disciplines and leverage connections to help them realize their visions and build sustainable practices.
- Deliver legal, accounting, general business, marketing, web/social media services and more, powered by professional partners and mentors with expertise in these fields
- Give entrepreneurs space to network with peers, implement workshop insights and resources, and pursue ideas
- Use marketplace vending as a real-time testing ground, leveraging customer response and reworking ideas
- Grow entrepreneurs’ ability to generate ideas and communicate them clearly to a community of peers and industry experts
- Provide opportunities for local organizations and professionals to engage with underserved entrepreneurs
- Cultivate a network of entrepreneurs, peers, and community businesses to support the local economy
Where is it located?
BM 2.0 will be held at Black Market, an emerging-artisan marketplace which provides a platform for underserved local makers and creators with global appeal in the Dudley Square commercial district of Roxbury, Massachusetts. Launched in 2017, the nascent pop-up market has evolved into a collaborative marketplace where hundreds of local underserved entrepreneurs have sold their one-of-a-kind wares— including art, fashion, accessories, food, and home goods. Black Market aims to offer our supporters the highest quality of local goods in New England. Since its founding a little more than a year ago, the venture has helped generate over $650,000 in gross revenue for over 250 local vendors- attracting more than 15,000 customers through its doors. Our organization has created a local ecosystem in Dudley Square where dollars are invested back into the community, with consistent social-economic leadership, a thriving network of small businesses that represent the diversity of Boston and New England, and a shopping platform where thousands of customers shop at an estimated conversion rate of 60-75%. For many aspiring entrepreneurs, the Black Market platform has made the difference between giving up on their business, and being able to quit their jobs, pay off their mortgages, and open their own retail locations.
How does it work?
BM 2.0 combines a four-part structure– Accelerator Workshops, Creative Ideation Space, Applied Learning Marketplace Vending, and the culminating Pitch Black Showcase– for a program that packs years of business acumen, insight, and acceleration into just a few months with minor risks and costs. The schedule is based on alternating weekends per month to align sustainably with the lifestyles of the targeted entrepreneurs. Generally, this means that entrepreneurs will commit to 4 days per month (10 weeks total), from July through December 2019. Entrepreneurs who get accepted will contribute an up-front sum of $250 as a show of good faith and commitment to the program. In return, the cohort members will receive a 50% discount on marketplace vending fees, $15,000 worth of pro-bono services and expert workshops, and the opportunity to earn $5,000 during the Pitch Black contest.
Accelerator Workshop Sessions
Over the course of the program, panels, keynotes, and workshops from experts will cover topics like entrepreneurial problem-solving, business operations and finance, website building and social media storytelling. Through robust partnerships with professionals, BM 2.0 will also ensure entrepreneurs have a bulwark of accounting, legal, human, and strategic planning resources available to them during and after the accelerator.
Creative Ideation Space
Every Sunday after the monthly accelerator workshops, BM 2.0 will provide space for cohort members to convene, network, and share ideas while implementing the insights and guidance from workshop sessions and preparing for marketplace vending. This will be mostly free time, with optional creative exercises. Participation for at least two Sundays is mandatory.
Applied Learning Marketplace
Entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to vend with Black Market and use the platform as a laboratory to test and tweak their business strategies with market feedback, through customer response and cash flow. Over the summer and fall, they will gradually refine their practices through the learning and application process of workshops and vending, and move towards the best position possible for leveraging holiday season foot traffic and demand.
Pitch Black Showcase
Each cohort experience will culminate in a “Pitch Black” showcase whereby entrepreneurs will demonstrate their products and services to a sizeable audience of corporate executives, qualified investors, and target consumers. The culminating showcase will help to highlight participants’ learning gains while affirming their identities and confidence as entrepreneurs, and also engage the broader community in a noteworthy display of financial and political support for small business development. 10 teams will be chosen to pitch. One business will have the opportunity to earn a cash prize of $5000.
Why should I apply?
BM 2.0 is the only program that combines expert mentorship & services with the opportunity to test business plans & strategies with real-time feedback and cash flow. The combination of expert workshops and panels, creative space to implement ideas and insights, and summer/fall marketplace vending with real time feedback will help entrepreneurs elevate their businesses just in time to vend with Black Market through the holiday season. This is the most important time of the retail sales year, generating up to 75% of overall annual income. Additionally, cohort members will be able to connect and brainstorm with other underserved entrepreneurs to develop and strengthen connections.
Who should apply?
Entrepreneurs should either be from or currently based in Boston-area communities such as Mattapan, Dorchester, and Hyde Park in addition to the New England area. Up to five slots will be held for applicants from Roxbury.
Entrepreneurs with businesses in the specified industries below may apply:
- Cosmetics/Personal Care
- Fashion/Accessories (that empower)
- Home Goods
Applications will be considered on a rolling basis, with a deadline of Wednesday, May 15th at 5pm ET. Each application will be evaluated by entrepreneurial leaders and business owners across the country. We ask evaluators to review projects based on the originality of the business idea, capacity to produce goods/services, social impact, ability to make use of the program’s entrepreneurship development, and sustainability. All applications will be reviewed and letters of acceptance sent by Friday, May 31st.