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Leadership News Briefs

Institute For Entrepreneurial Leadership Named Semi-finalist In Truist Foundation’s Inspire Awards Challenge

The challenge is a workshop-style competition supporting the ideas of innovative non-profit organizations that help grow, develop and sustain racially diverse or women-led small businesses.

The Institute For Entrepreneurial Leadership (IFEL) proudly announces it has reached the semi-finals in the Truist Foundation Inspire Awards Challenge. This competition recognizes the creativity and innovation of non-profits that help to grow, develop and sustain racially diverse and women-led small businesses. The competition collaborates with MIT Solve, an initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a mission to drive innovation to solve world challenges while creating a marketplace for social impact innovation.

Women of Color Connecting Initiative

IFEL received recognition as one of 15 semifinalists for its groundbreaking Women of Color Connecting (WOCCON) initiative. This is a small business capacity-building program featuring the ‘Success Circles’ model. This leverages the power of social capital to help women of color entrepreneurs to grow, scale and create wealth through entrepreneurial success. Entrepreneurs are identified through a competitive selection process. Once selected, IFEL creates a team for the entrepreneur, known as the Success Circle, composed of business professionals, consultants, domain experts and skilled workers who are willing to volunteer their expertise and help open doors. The volunteers forming each Success Circle are selected based on the individual needs of the entrepreneur. There is no cost to the entrepreneur.

 “IFEL feels honored to be a semifinalist. We applaud the Truist Foundation for providing a platform for innovation in support of inclusive businesses and founders,” said IFEL Co-Founder & CEO, Jill Johnson.  “Women of Color are starting businesses at higher rates than anyone else. However, they get less capital, have fewer successful exits, and produce less income for owners. It’s time for this to change. Access to capital is a legacy challenge with roots deep in our American history. While there have been innovative solutions in recent years, capital constraint remains a defining problem for Women of Color entrepreneurs.”

To learn more about volunteer opportunities offered by the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership in support of Black-owned businesses, visit

About the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership

Founded in 2002, the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership is an independent, not‐for‐profit organization that supports economic development through entrepreneurship. IFEL envisions a future with inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems in which people from historically excluded populations have equal opportunity for success. Its mission is to eradicate systemic barriers to help entrepreneurs of color access the knowledge, networks and capital required for success. Learn more at

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