Q&A with Shaylon Scott, Executive Director of Founders First CDC
Q: Talk about Founders First CDC non-profit and why it’s so important?
A: Founders First CDC is a non-profit based in the San Diego area, but we’ve been expanding nationwide. We empower diverse founders who want to grow their company through our stellar business growth accelerator programs that combine executive education, coaching, access to partner resources, pitch events and potential funding. By building recurring revenues, tech-enablement, and essential solution focus, Founders First serves as a catalyst for positive change to entrepreneurs of color, female and veteran founders to become leading employers in their communities.
Q: Who does your nonprofit serve?
A: We’re a platform that focuses on working with diverse founders of small businesses that are looking to grow. So we’re not focusing on people starting new businesses, but we want to see established businesses grow and expand to where they can provide premium wage jobs to employees. We focus on the critical growth stages after a company has launched, helping founders scale and build sustainable companies that can reach $1M, $5M or $10M+ in revenue.
Q: You are giving away 10 grants. Tell us more about that.
A: A total of $30,000 will be awarded across ten local businesses in Southern California. The companies must have revenues between $100,000 and $3 Million, between 2 and 20 employees and the founder must be Black, Indigenous, a Person of Color, LGBTQIA+, Military Veteran, Woman or located in a low to moderate income area. We want those businesses to have sustained their operations despite the pandemic and have the ability to create 1 to 2 net new employees and premium wage jobs within the next 12 months. They also should be willing to learn because we’re pairing this with our accelerator program. So education and funds. You can’t beat that.
Q: Why is this so important?
A: Many founders end up working more in their business than on their business. We want to help give them resources to grow, becoming premium wage job creators within their community. Investing in diverse founders is an impactful way to drive job and wealth creation in underserved communities. The Job Creators Quest Grant is more than a dollar amount, it’s a celebration of their success.
Q: Have any community partners helped make this happen?
A: Funding for this program was facilitated by a $1 million grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, in conjunction with Founders First Capital Partners’ recent $9 million Series A financing. Additional support is being provided by Union Bank, Pacific Western Bank, Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Majority and Inland Empire Black Chamber of Commerce.
Q: How can they apply?
A: Go to foundersfirstcdc.org and you’ll be able to find out everything about the grants and our accelerator programs.