We Tha Plug has launched a virtual incubator for minority-led early-stage startups.
The 12-week intensive program We Tha Incubator kicks off later this month. Its mission is to help founders create sustainable business models and identify the next steps toward building their startup.
The goal is to provide founders with skills, resources, and mentorship. The soon-to-be-launched incubator is spearheaded by We Tha Plug’s founder and CEO Luis Martínez and their Chief Operating Officer Christiana Russell. It will take place from September 22 to December 17 with sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays and Fireside chats on Wednesdays.
The virtual Incubator will be housed on We Tha Plug’s online global membership platform. Top-notch trainers include VCs, startup lawyers, and funded-founders, which include experts such as Brandon Andrews, Angel Rich, and McKeever (Mac) Conwell.
Martínez hopes the incubator will allow founders to acquire “the confidence to actually learn how to build a business as opposed to raising capital.” Although he acknowledges that the inequitable distribution of venture capital is a serious issue, We Tha Incubator will not teach founders how to get venture capital.
Instead, the incubator is more interested in providing startups with the necessary tools and terminology, which will make them attractive to venture capitalists. Martínez stresses the importance of this for Pan African and Latinx founders who are already faced with many barriers and obstacles. “We can’t afford mistakes, that’s just the way it is. We have to master the fundamentals,” said Martínez.
Russell and Martínez see We Tha Incubator as not just benefiting individual businesses, but also creating a strong network of founders and having lasting impacts on Pan African and Latinx communities.
“We’re not just building an incubator that is going to help you scale your company, but we’re actually building a marketplace. A marketplace where you can come barter, exchange, sell and really find resources that will help you build, not only your own business but then you can pass this down to others within your family and ultimately build that generational wealth that we’re all seeking to have,” said Russell.
When Martínez first got involved in the startup ecosystem in San Diego, he says he was “yearning for more, in particular trying to grow a local ecosystem of black and brown founders.” With We Tha Incubator, Martínez and Russell want to expand and further develop the community. “Having others in your space that can help understand what you’re going through and actually provide solutions and resources that will help you move from this kind of stuck space to one of momentum is literally invaluable,” said Russell.
Since its inception in 2019, the San Diego, California, for-profit has worked primarily with Pan-African and Latinx founders to help them build their businesses and connect with a community of experts. They have provided in-person meetups, programming, and webinars to startup companies at all levels from ideation, pre-seed, and series A funding.
However, with COVID-19 they launched an online community for underrepresented founders across the globe. More than 200 members spanning 5 continents have joined.
The ultimate goal is to be the marketplace for early-stage founders reaching a million members by 2025.
For more information, visit the site here.
Main Image: We Tha Plug founder and CEO, Luis Martinez