Small BusinessSmall Business NewsThe Village Market, Our Village United Announce New Accelerator Program Supporting Black-Owned...

The Village Market, Our Village United Announce New Accelerator Program Supporting Black-Owned Businesses

The Village Market (TVM) and Our Village United (OVU) announced that together they are expanding their ELEVATE program with a new initiative, ELEVATED CITIES, which will take the program’s mission of supporting Black-owned businesses nationwide.  

The program is a partnership with Mastercard through their “In Solidarity” initiative, which launched back in 2021. Solidarity is dedicated to supporting Black-owned businesses by generating funding and providing opportunities for entrepreneurs. ELEVATED CITIES will launch in early 2023 and will focus on supporting Black-owned businesses across the US in turn, supporting the communities where they exist. 

The ELEVATE program provides wrap-around support for solopreneurs and microbusinesses by providing targeted capital grants, technical assistance, shared professional services, mentorship, and wellness support for the business owner.   

ELEVATED CITIES – A National Effort 

ELEVATED CITIES will impact black-owned businesses across the Atlanta area, as well as Los Angeles, St. Louis, New Orleans, New York City, Birmingham, Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. Businesses will be offered solutions and support to help scale for future growth.   

“Our Village United’s work started in the midst of the pandemic when the future of small businesses, especially Black-owned small businesses, was uncertain,” said Dr. Lakeysha Hallmon, Founder and CEO of the Village Market. “Since 2020, we’ve been able to make a tremendous impact on over 250 Black-owned small businesses, and it’s a dream realized to be able to scale our impact nationally.”  

“This program is an opportunity for Black entrepreneurs to gain the resources and funding they need to build sustainable businesses. I am thrilled to be doing this work with the support of a partner like Mastercard that understands the importance of investing in Black-owned businesses and the role their success plays in advancing the Black community as a whole,” said Hallmon. 

Businesses selected to participate in ELEVATED CITIES will join a 12-week incubator program. They will also receive access to $100,000 in grant opportunities. Entrepreneurs will have access to business development classes, mentorships, and professional and technical support services to support scalable growth.  

After completing the program, business owners will learn techniques to take the knowledge they gained from the classroom to practical application. They will work to identify areas where improvements are needed and will be provided with up to 40 hours per business of professional development and technical assistance services.   

Supporting Black-Owned Businesses in Atlanta and Beyond

The Village Market was founded in 2016 to serve as a direct pipeline for the growth and development of Black-owned businesses. Its sub-company, Village Retail, at Ponce City Market, has helped the Village Market make a $6.2 million impact on Atlanta by hosting seasonal marketplaces, retail spaces, and advertising campaigns. More information about The Village Market is available at  

BeltLine MarketPlace
Image by Atlanta BeltLine, Inc.

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Our Village United helps to support Black solopreneurs and microbusinesses by delivering targeted technical assistance and shared professional services to support business owners in scaling and growing their operations.   

OVU is also focused on supporting the wellness of business owners and will provide access to licensed wellness coaches and mental health practitioners. Read more about the future ELEVATED CITIES program at

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