Fiverr is announcing its inaugural Future Collective Fellowship Program as well as the five fellows who have been selected to receive funding, training and mentorship. Fiverr’s Future Collective was created alongside 1863 Ventures, an independent, Black-led nonprofit organization that delivers business development programs designed to bridge the gap between entrepreneurship and equality, and maestra, a business strategy firm building a more socially conscious and equitable world. The program aims to support Black entrepreneurs that have used Fiverr’s platform to get started and are already a part of Fiverr’s growing community of small businesses.
Research shows that Black entrepreneurs face financial hurdles not only when beginning their businesses, but as they attempt to navigate spaces that often don’t look like them and to which they have had little access historically. The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland found that Black entrepreneurs were 10% more likely to apply for financial startup assistance than their white counterparts, yet they were 19% less likely to be approved. White entrepreneurs have an edge over their Black counterparts because, for every $100 in white family wealth, Black families hold just $5.04. That same sentiment is what drives a majority of Black sellers on Fiverr. 54% come to the platform hoping to make a sustainable, permanent living primarily on Fiverr — more likely than their White and Latinx seller counterparts. Fiverr hopes to be a part of helping to close that gap and countless others.
“Fiverr’s purpose is to provide anyone, no matter their race, religion, background or beliefs, the opportunity to build their business, brand or dreams. Therefore it is incumbent upon us to use our platform and resources in pursuit of this purpose,” Micha Kaufman, CEO of Fiverr. “Yes, the world has seen an outpouring of support for Black owned businesses in the past year, however, there is still so much work to be done. We are thrilled to be able to support these incredible five businesses with the funding, mentoring and training that they deserve and can’t wait to watch them continue to grow and succeed through this program.”
The five businesses that have been selected as Fiverr’s inaugural class of Future Collective fellows are:
Appdrop – software for empowering non-technical teams to build mobile apps without writing a single line of code.
Budget Collector – provides an artificial intelligence (AI) art adviser as a mobile app. The company supports the development of private art collections as well as galleries and provides resources for potential and current art collectors.
De L’or Cakery – a 5-star artisan cake catering company using top notch ingredients, many imported directly from the Caribbean to provide outstanding flavors.
Hey Girl Hey – a social bonding game created by sisters, Seanice and Sharina Clarke, Hey Girl Hey is a card game built to foster community connections among black women, featuring unexpected and entertaining prompts and challenges.
Keeyahri – a luxury women’s shoe brand inspired by founder and artistic director Keya Martin’s favorite architecture around the world. Keeyahri aims to help women feel confident through unique designs.
Each of the Future Collective fellows will receive $24K in funding from Fiverr, guaranteed placement in an accelerator program organized and orchestrated by 1863 Ventures and regular mentorship and guidance from Fiverr’s senior management team. The structure of the program will consist of monthly cohort sessions, assigned online materials to review and complete coupled with regular coaching sessions. The fellows will also have access to 1863 Ventures’ weekly entrepreneur webinar sessions, allowing them to participate in sessions they find relevant to their business and growth.
“Now, more than ever, it is time to double down on our support of Black entrepreneurs. Over the past few years, roughly 20% of Black Americans have engaged in early-stage entrepreneurship, but their businesses struggle to advance along the entrepreneurial pathway,” said Melissa Bradley, Managing Director of 1863 Ventures. “If Black businesses reached economic parity with non-black businesses, their revenues would increase by approximately $5.9 trillion and create more than 19 million more jobs. 1863 Ventures is proud to be leading the charge in providing the necessary resources, capital, and programmatic support to break down barriers for Black businesses. We are excited to be working with Fiverr and Maestra to make this new fellowship one of a kind and accomplish economic parity for these businesses.”
“While white adults have 13 times the wealth that Black adults do, when we compare median wealth of Black and white business owners, the median wealth gap decreases to a multiplier of three,” said De’Ara Balenger, Co-Founder of maestra. “Through this effort and more like it, we believe that we can work towards building Black generational wealth and supporting Black entrepreneurship.”