Ernst & Young LLP announced in December 2020 the inaugural cohort of the Entrepreneurs Access Network (EAN), a business accelerator and comprehensive, executive-level educational program designed to elevate scalable Black and Latinx-owned companies through access to mentors, resources and networks. EAN offers a curated class-based learning program for emerging and established enterprises, and an on-demand option with self-paced education is available to Black and Latinx entrepreneurs of all levels nationwide.
The inaugural cohort includes entrepreneurs in 10 markets across the US.
“Deep-rooted systemic challenges hinder many minority-owned businesses from achieving their full potential, an issue that was exacerbated this year,” said Sam Johnson, EY Americas Vice Chair of Accounts. “Through EAN, our goal is to provide Black and Latinx founders with the necessary support to sustainably scale their businesses and drive economic growth. Without equitable access, the future of many Black and Latinx-owned businesses — and millions of jobs — hangs in the balance.”
Approximately 1% of venture capital dollars go to Black and Latinx founders, despite the fact that minority-owned businesses produced approximately US$700b in revenue in 2019 alone. These figures illustrate the vast opportunity cost of not supporting these underserved entrepreneurs.
“Minority entrepreneurs receive so little support, even though they show immense revenue potential. But closing this gap requires more than capital alone,” said Nit Reeder, EY Entrepreneurs Access Network Program Director. “EAN is not a ‘fund and forget’ program. Our curriculum provides tools and access to an ecosystem.”
EAN’s 12-month curated program includes a company assessment, alignment with a dedicated EY relationship advisor, and a customized learning plan based on the needs and maturity of the company. Participants receive both tangible and intangible guidance, such as guidance in digital transformation, support in upskilling employees, and help developing boards as well as expanding professional networks.
Black and Latinx business owners who applied for the curated program were evaluated based on certain criteria and placed within the “Emerging” and “OnDemand” categories. Black and Latinx entrepreneurs at all revenue, ownership and operational maturity levels will be able to access the EAN resource library, an online resource offering self-paced learning, in mid-January.
Reeder added: “EAN builds on our organization’s current entrepreneurial programs, including 34 years of EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ and 12 years of Entrepreneurial Winning Women. As we look to the year ahead, it’s more important than ever to support Black and Latinx entrepreneurs, linking them to the resources they need to thrive.”
For more information, please visit www.ey.com/EAN.