Disruptive by design.
Over the last few years, the number of businesses owned by women of color, specifically Black women, has increased by 164%. However, income levels and business revenue have failed to complement this groundbreaking growth. Women of color still earn exponentially less in their businesses, and many owners have incomes that place them within the poverty bracket. SMBI combats the disparities in revenue and funding opportunities for underrepresented women founders. Since its inception, SMBI has advocated for underrepresented women founders' rights and works to eradicate earning gaps within entrepreneurship.
The She Means Business Incubator helps underrepresented women founders develop viable businesses that aid their communities’ economic development. SMBI is a for-profit social enterprise. We charge a program fee for our incubator as opposed to taking equity away from startup founders. Our goal is to help women founders retain as much ownership of their companies as possible.
Our signature 6-week program guides early-stage founders through the business development pipeline with the support of mentors, facilitators, and corporate partners. We provide cohort participants with a safe and communal virtual space where they can immerse themselves in personal and professional development. In the She Means Business Incubator we offer:
Less than 20% of businesses ran by women of color receive traditional business loans to cover startup costs. Additionally, women of color account for less than 2% of the firms that receive venture capital funding. It’s time to put financial resources in the hands of those who need it the most.
The Voices of Our Alumni
The She Means Business Incubator is the starting ground for innovative women entrepreneurs who are passionate about their craft and desire to operate businesses that aid economic growth in their communities.
Grateful for this experience! It's forcing me to totally reevaluate my business plan and be very intentional about who I'm targeting via [customer] profiles which I have never done before. Since we started, I've realized the several costly mistakes I've made to date.
I was very much intrigued by the idea of having someone to guide me on this process to get the information that I needed to start my business. My favorite part about SMBI has been the outreach I've received not only from my mentor but from my fellow cohort.
I joined the She Means Business Incubator to make sure that my passion was in line with common business practices so that I could impact a wider audience and help people further their careers. I didn't want to remain the best kept secret.
My favorite part of the SMB incubator has definitely been working with my mentor. She has been so amazing throughout this entire journey. She has offered me some amazing resources and she has been with me every step of the way, providing guidance and really, really being an advocate for me and my business.
I joined the She Means Business Incubator for a few reasons. Number one, it was something that I thought was practical for myself to do as a stay at home mom, it was something I could integrate into my lifestyle. The hours are not too demanding, but it creates the accountabilty and structure for me to actually get this done.
My mentor has been really great and working with me and challenging me. But I don't just have access to my mentor. I have access to other mentors. In addition to that is just being in this group of like minds, hearing other people's challenges, hearing other people's opportunities and goals, it really is inspiring.
Founders by 2021
Our World Class Mentors
I had my first introduction calls to my mentees today and WOW I am so impressed by the quality, credibility, and energy from these women.
Cohort 1 Mentor
The She Means Business Incubator is tuition-based vs. equity-based. Similar to the college admission process, you must apply, and if accepted, a seat deposit and tuition fees are required (but don’t worry, it won’t cost nearly as much!). SMBI is a development opportunity for early-stage founders who are ready and willing to invest in business growth.
Whether you're ready to join the next cohort or would like more information on the work that we do, please stay connected with our weekly newsletter. We share business tips, program updates, resources, and more!
Join the Next Cohort
The next cohort will be starting shortly. Learn how you can join the She Means Business Incubator and connect with likeminded women entrepreneurs.
What makes SMBI different for other business incubators?
The She Means Business is a hands-on approach for women who have business ideas but don’t know how to get them off the ground. In this program, we believe in “holding hands” because we want to give women access to business ownership at an accelerated rate. We don’t think it should take you months or years to formulate a business and make your first dollar. All you need is 6-weeks of focus and a fantastic team behind you! Once, you complete the program, you’ll gain access to our Alumni Network, ongoing events, and future SMBI Weekend Retreats.
How are candidates selected?
We are looking for individuals with great ideas, passion, and professionalism. Women accepted into the program will not only represent their brands, but they will represent GBNYC and our partner organizations.
What type of businesses are eligible for the incubator?
We do not accept illegal businesses of any kind into the incubator program. Additionally, MLM (Multi-Level Marketing) businesses are not eligible.
Will SMBI own stake in my company or require equity?
Nope! We believe women entrepreneurs should retain their own equity (as much as possible). Even if you create a billion-dollar company, we won’t ask for a share.
Our Program Staff
Working daily to provide access and opportunity for women founders, one cohort at a time.