Atlanta-based non-profit ParentPreneur Foundation has announced plans to support Black DadPreneurs with grant funding in the run-up to Father’s Day.
The foundation, spearheaded by James Oliver, will hand out the grants to 10 deserving fathers. The application process opened last week and will close on June 17, with winners announced the next day.
This is the fourth round of $1,000 cash grants given to Black parentpreneurs since the foundation launched last year. However, what makes this so special is this time around the funds will exclusively benefit Black men.
This latest round of grants is sponsored by Frost Brown Todd Attorneys, a law firm that specializes in startup services. Founders can use the grants to support their entrepreneurial endeavors or to simply help manage the challenges of being a parent and dampener.
“It’s harder for Black entrepreneurs to win because we don’t have the social capital, background, and financial access to succeed. That’s why I go so hard for my people because I am them, I understand how hard the journey is.”
Founded in July 2020, the ParentPreneur Foundation is dedicated to empowering Black ParentPreneurs so they can leave a legacy for their children. As a parent entrepreneur himself, Oliver understands the unique challenges associated with being a parent and entrepreneur.
“Users come for the community and stay for the community because we are all on this extremely rocky journey of entrepreneurship to leave a legacy for our beautiful black children, and it’s going to be hard, but we will succeed because we have each other’s backs,” said Oliver.
The foundation provides equity-free funding that can be used for anything from creating an MVP to taking a vacation with your partner.
Oliver advises all aspiring ParentPreneurs to get on the same page with their spouse and focus on their mental health, a lesson he learned in 2012 while working on WeMontage.
“If you are married or have a significant other and you don’t have a supportive spouse or partner, either the marriage will fail, the business will fail, or both will fail,” said Oliver. “You got to be on the same page as your partner.”
DadPrepreneur Grant Application Process
Oliver’s ex-wife needed to undergo an emergency c-section to deliver their twins just as Oliver was selected to participate in the highly competitive gener8tor accelerator program.
The program was a 2-hour drive from their home and they were living thousands of miles away from friends and family. This was Oliver’s introduction to life as a ParentPreneur and since then the Morehouse alumnus does all he can to support other Black ParentPreneurs.
“If you want to impact the black community writ large you have got to empower and support black entrepreneurs,” explained Oliver. “It is so important for children to see their parents be successful, it is critical to the overall success of the family unit, which is critical to the success of the black community writ large.”
The ParentPreneur Foundation raised $150K in its first year and hopes to raise another $100K by the end of this year.
When entrepreneurs join the 1,300-strong online community they also get access to free and discounted resources, people, and events. Companies such as AWS, Copy.ai, and Typeform are all partnering with ParentPreneur Foundation.
“In addition to financial capital, lack of social capital is as problematic for Black entrepreneurs,” said Oliver. “Because it too will keep you from being able to execute your would-be good idea, and more importantly, and more insidiously, it will keep you from imagining what is possible.”
For the grant, Oliver is looking for entrepreneurs with a passion for their business and hopes the award will help alleviate some stress from their lives, whether it’s a vacation or creating an MVP or minimum viable product.
“It’s harder for Black entrepreneurs to win because we don’t have the social capital, background, and financial access to succeed,” said Oliver. “That’s why I go so hard for my people because I am them, I understand how hard the journey is.”
When entrepreneurs join the ParentPreneur online community, they join a community that looks out for each other, said Oliver. The ParentPreneur Foundation was founded to help support Black parents’ entrepreneurial endeavors in every way – personally and professionally.
“We do things like issue cash grants and paying for mental therapy since mental health is stigmatized in the Black community,” said Oliver. “The ParentPreneur Foundation has paid for free mental health therapy for about 50 people in the community so far.”
By supporting Black fathers in their entrepreneurial pursuits, explains Oliver, Black families can rally around the success of Black men, which elevates the entire family. The foundation has provided over 30 Black ParentPreneurs with grants since its founding.
Entrepreneurship is a hard journey, says Oliver, and he hopes that the grants will support Black dadpreneurs as they chase their dreams of owning a business and supporting their families.
“On its own, entrepreneurship is hard, but if you are connected and you can get inspired, things will be easier for you. Know your why, like why are you here,” said Oliver. “As Black people, we have to scrap and scrape for every blade of grass on the field of life. So, telling me something is hard is not a reason to not do it, it just does not land with me.”
Understanding that the Black community is not limited to the United States, Oliver plans to continue to expand the ParentPreneur Foundation internationally – the non-profit already has a handful of members in Europe and Africa.
Applications opened on Friday, June 4th on the company website, with winners announced on June 18. Applicants will need to fill out a few questions and submit a minute-long video describing what the grant means to them. While any Black Dadepreneur can apply, said Oliver, premium members of the ParentPreneur community will be given priority consideration.
Main Image: Larry Crayton on Unsplash