BIPOC Small Business Accelerator

Program Overview

PeopleFund is launching access to capital-oriented cohorts for BIPOC-owned businesses in underserved areas around Texas. The goal of this program is to accelerate early-stage entrepreneurs with capital, education, and ongoing technical assistance in order to support healthy small business growth in communities that need it most.

The Accelerator will launch its inaugural cohorts in Greater Austin and Southern Dallas beginning in October. The program requires that entrepreneurs commit to an orientation, 6 virtual training sessions, and “homework” assigned in between training sessions over the course of 8 weeks. Program participants will receive access to technology and tools including LivePlan business planning software and an online curriculum for a period of 12 months from the program orientation, expedited loan packaging and application support, and ongoing after-care provided by PeopleFund and our partners. Graduates of the program who apply and are approved for a loan up to $50,000 with PeopleFund will receive a grant of up to 10% of the loan amount to be used for equity injection or business purposes.


Program Sponsors

The BIPOC Small Business Accelerator is made possible by a generous seed grant from Truist Financial Corporation, along with a co-investment from Austin Community Foundation.

Additional support was provided by our generous donors:



If you would like to become a sponsor of this program, please contact Jenny Palecek at [email protected]


Program Purpose

Black, Indigenous, and People of Color-owned (BIPOC) small businesses have taken a bigger hit than most as the pandemic persists. Business survival among BIPOC-owned businesses fell by ~36% since March of 2020 and continues to decline. Now more than ever, it is imperative that we support BIPOC entrepreneurs by increasing opportunities in our communities for healthy small business growth. By doing so, we ensure we are working towards dismantling economic and social systemic inequities through strengthening and empowering communities of color.


Program Goals

  • Increase access to capital for BIPOC-owned businesses.
  • Improve the credit profile of early-stage entrepreneurs.
  • Improve the business acumen of early-stage entrepreneurs.


Program Outcomes

  • At least 85% of participants in the program will complete (“graduate”) the program.
  • 75% of participants in the program will be approved for a Microloan.


Program Schedule

9:00am, September 1st: Application opens

11:59pm, September 27th: Application closes

5:00pm, October 1st: Participants announced

6:00pm – 7:30pm, October 6th: Orientation

6:00pm – 7:30pm, October 13th: Training session 1

6:00pm – 7:30pm, October 20th: Training session 2

6:00pm – 7:30pm, October 27th: Training session 3

6:00pm – 7:30pm, November 3rd: Training session 4

6:00pm – 7:30pm, November 10th: Training session 5

6:00pm – 7:30pm, November 17th: Training session 6

6:00pm – 7:00pm, December 1st: Graduation and funding


Program Benefits

Participants that successfully complete the training will have access to:

  • A loan for up to $50,000 (dependent on approval)
  • A grant for up to 10% of the loan amount
  • Connections to business and professional resources in the community
  • Completion of a business plan, financial statements, and capital portfolio
  • Access to tools and technology including LivePlan business planning software and the Verizon Digital Ready Program (for 12 months)
  • Curriculum guide within an online learning platform
  • Ongoing support and aftercare through dedicated business coaching and mentorship
  • Networking opportunities within the cohort


Program Eligibility

  • Must be located in Greater Austin or Southern Dallas
  • At least 6 months of operating revenues (no pre-revenue businesses will be accepted)
  • Must meet credit and lending qualifications
    • No bankruptcies within the last 5 years
    • U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident
    • Not currently in active litigation
    • Not currently past due on federal obligations or are on a recovery plan
    • Not currently past due on credit obligations or are on a recovery plan
    • No pattern of late payments or collections prior to the pandemic
    • Not involved in felony-level criminal activity, crimes of moral turpitude, or financial crimes
    • Not engaged in any of the following industries: adult entertainment, gambling or gaming, real estate investments or housing projects, passive activity (rental), anything federally illegal, multi-level marketing, franchising, not-for-profit activities
    • Must be able to support a loan payment through available cash flow


Program Partners

This program is made possible through partnerships. Interested in partnering on a future cohort? Contact Katherine Sobel, Director of Training and Education for PeopleFund at [email protected]


BIPOC Business Accelerator Application

  • Instructions

    Thank you for your interest in applying for the BIPOC Business Accelerator with PeopleFund. This application is currently open to businesses residing in Greater Austin and Southern Dallas and will select up to 20 participants from each area. Please complete all application questions and submit when complete. This application should take approximately 15-30 minutes to complete and cannot be restarted once began. The application for this round will close on Sept. 27th at 11:59pm. If you have questions while completing this form, please complete our Contact Us form ensuring you mention the BIPOC Business Accelerator in the message body: You can also use this form to request a phone call. Program participants will be announced via email October 1st by 5pm.
  • About You

    This section gives the selection committee identifying information about you. Though demographic information is optional, we will still need to verify that the business is BIPOC, woman, or veteran-owned, or a business with an owner considered part of an underserved community.
  • About Your Business

    This section gives the selection committee more information about your business. Please note, businesses must have been operations for more than 6 months at the time of application and must reside in Greater Austin or Southern Dallas.
  • MM slash DD slash YYYY
  • Your NAICS code is a 6-digit code that classifies your business industry; if you do not know your NAICS code, you can search for it here:
  • Program Eligibility

    This section ensures that the program committee better understands your eligibility. Eligibility guidelines can be found at
  • Program Readiness

    This section helps the selection committee better understand how ready you are to commit to this program. Here, you'll answer questions in regards to program responsibilities.
  • Program Fit

    This section helps the selection committee better understand how well of a fit you are for this program and will be utilized to narrow down program participants in the case that more eligible applications are received than program space.
  • Program Disclosures

    This section provides program disclosures regarding program incentives, benefits, and application truthfulness. All questions in this section must be answered TRUE in order for you to be eligible for this program.