Business Development Program

Growth Accelerator

This 12-week accelerated online course offers hands-on training in strategic business planning and management:

  • Teaches business fundamentals like budgeting, marketing, bookkeeping and financing
  • Weekly virtual group sessions
  • Independent homework sessions
  • Offered in the Spring and Fall

Please take a look and see what our Growth Accelerator graduates have to say about their experience!

Our Why

Currently, minority entrepreneurs are starting businesses that don’t get the same funding and support and are at a distinct disadvantage compared to their non-minority counterparts.

The Growth Accelerator was created in direct response to provide an opportunity and to meet a need. Our entrepreneurs reside in the urban communities and are primarily identifying-minority individuals searching for the understanding, support, and expertise to start and grow their businesses to the next level. They are individuals passionate about starting a business and established small businesses looking to grow and elevate. These entrepreneurs often cannot afford the cost of starting a business, have difficulty accessing vital resources needed to sustain a business, or lack the necessary general education for business development. This is a neglected market, and we are here to provide access to opportunities and meet these unmet needs with our invaluable services.

Our Solution

We are creating access to Human Capital, Financial Capital, and Social Capital.

We want people to become more aware of the economic and social injustice that minority entrepreneurs face and bridge the racial wealth gap by educating and investing in our minority founders, who are underserved, under-resourced, and disproportionately represented among business owners.


1. Tell us about yourself by filling out our program inquiry form
2. Join us at our next free information session to reserve your spot

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know that the Growth Accelerator is a good fit for me?
  • You identify as a minority
  • You have a desire to start a business or have an existing small business less than two years old
  • You make less than $100,000 in revenue per year
  • You have a for-profit business
  • You have a business idea or a business that creates living wage jobs for community members living in poverty
  • You can commit to the 12-week program, and your business
  • You can commit to launching your business within six months of graduating from the program

If you answered YES to any of these questions, the Growth Accelerator would help you jumpstart your vision of business ownership.

How much does it cost?

Tuition for the Growth Accelerator is valued at $2,000 per student. Thanks to our generous supporters and donors, we can waive tuition for every student accepted into the program. All participants, however, must pay a small material and registration fee. Based on household income, prices are calculated on a sliding scale ranging from $75 to $150 and can be fully discounted if you fall below 100% of the federal poverty guideline. Additional financial aid is available for those who qualify.

To qualify for the sliding fee scale, one of the following documents as proof of income is required and must be dated less than 30 days before your date of enrollment:
  • One recent check stub & picture identification
  • Last year’s tax return (not valid after April 15th of current year unless you are self-employed. Schedule C section of tax return is needed if you are self-employed)
  • A letter from the Division of Employment (unemployment statement)
  • Current W-2 forms (Self Employed patients only or schedule C section of tax returns)
  • Document reflecting child support or alimony
  • Food Stamps award letter
  • Social Security/Disability award letter
  • Current 12 credit hour schedule for full-time students or nine credit hours for graduate students.
What will I learn?

This program will challenge, empower, educate, and inspire you while forcing you to comfort your limitations and help identify and develop your strengths. You will work hard inside and outside the class and actively plan for your own business. By the end of the program, you will have learned how to answer these most important questions:

  • Who are my customers?
  • What’s my value proposition?
  • What should I charge?
  • What are my costs?
  • How much money will I make?
  • How can I beat my competition?
  • How much money do I need to get started?
  • Where can I get the money I need?
  • How do I register my business?

You will know how to write a basic business plan answering these questions and more by graduation.

What do graduates receive?

Entrepreneurs who complete the Growth Accelerator program receive:

  • A certificate of Graduation from the Growth Accelerator
  • Peer Mentoring, business referrals, funding opportunities
  • Introductions to potential business partners.
  • Access to continued learning through webinars, courses, and workshops.
  • Access to experts, leadership development, and business education.
  • An individualized Strategic Plan outlining “next steps” to help meet their business goals
  • Graduates join our alumni network of Grind + Growth entrepreneurs
How can I get started?

To be accepted into the Growth Accelerator program, you must first register to attend a free information session. Attendance at this session is mandatory to receive an application for the GAP. Fill out this program inquiry form, and we’ll contact you with upcoming information sessions.

Meet the Winter 2020 Cohort Entrepreneurs and Learn About Their Businesses

MzKay’s Bling Boutique
Kiamesha Lewis is the Owner of MzKay’s Bling Boutique. A one-stop shop for beauty. They provide an array of jewelry accessories and hair services: facial waxing, wigs, and hair extensions.

Grab N Go Trash
David Williams is the founder and CEO of Grab N Go Trash, a veteran-owned and operated valet trash service, that hires veterans in the United States to help lessen the unemployment gap.
The Fashion Experience
Sharvere Perry is the Founder of The Fashion Experience. An online fashion curriculum that’s in touch with today’s students.

We, Ours & Us
Franchasity Hall, is a Certified peer specialist, youth advocate, and the proud founder of We, Ours & Us. They focus on the safety, social and emotional development of youth and offer emergency intervention and mentoring services.
Youth Rise Up
Josh Farmer, is the CEO and Founder of Youth Rise Up. His goal is to build a  recreation complex for youth that will help promote the development of their talents and skills.
Keychain Karnival
Kaionta Dabney, is the CEO of Keychain Karnival. They created a Math Literacy Learning Tool that teaches students who are struggling with math
through Creative Arts.
M.V.T Virtual Learning Gwen Logan-Craig is the founder of M.V.T Virtual Learning and Tutoring Services. They help children of early learning ages through Elementary school create strategies to become successful lifelong learners.
Classey Lashey
Leah Potts is the owner of Classey Lashey. She’s a ‘lashologist’ specializing in a variety of different lash extensions and retail products.
Simply Yours Life Services
Tenisha Thornton is the Founder and Executive Director of Simply Yours Life Services. Their services are equivalent to a Food Pantry, but instead, they provide Essential Goods on wheels.
Ekposé Beauty
Georganna Ekpo is the creator of Ekposé Beauty. She’s a makeup lover who turned her passion for cosmetics into her own makeup line. Ekpośe Beauty has an amazingly pigmented eyeshadow palette, lip gloss, lipstick, eyelashes, an eyelash curler, and makeup brushes that provide a flawless makeup application.
Eve Marie
Jajuana Patrick is the owner of Eve Marie an e-boutique that gets you fashionably ready to tackle your day by providing designer apparel from diversified fashion brands.
Black Zone
Kielah Harbert is the Owner of Black Zone an online retail platform that allows consumers to access hundreds of thousands of black-owned business products from around the country and purchase them directly from the site.

Learn about the many ways you can support Grind + Growth’s mission

Contact Us

6 Cardinal Way, Suite 900
St. Louis, MO 63102

Office Hours
9 am-5 pm (CST)