greater st. louis inc and diverse business accelerator logo

Greater St. Louis, Inc. is proud to welcome the businesses selected for the Fall 2021 cohort of the Diverse Business Accelerator.

The Greater St. Louis Inc. Diverse Business Accelerator is for ethnically, racially and gender-diverse business owners looking to advance their enterprise’s capacity to grow. In the span of three months, program participants will learn how to develop actionable business expansion goals, market and communicate their services, make meaningful business connections, and identify the capital and resources required to support growth.

Curriculum Focus

The DBA program features a strategic curriculum facilitated by business coaches, professional services consultants (accounting, legal and brand marketing experts) and mentors. Within a welcoming and stimulating environment, participants will build a growth plan for their business by focusing on four essential areas:

Marketing to Win

Marketing to Win

participants will learn to communicate their business’s value proposition more effectively through customer-focused messages and selling strategies that attract profitable new business.

Building a Network

Building a Network

participants will be matched with corporate mentors to establish a supportive professional advisory network essential to successful business growth.

Balancing Competing Interests

Balancing Competing Interests

participants will gain practical strategies for prioritizing how time and resources are managed to achieve desired outcomes and wisdom to address the inherent conflicts that arise as a business grows.

Financing & Scaling for Growth

Financing & Scaling for Growth

participants will learn how to attract capital and secure funding to support their growth plan and how to implement and improve processes required to scale their operation.

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Time Frame

The program approach includes 12 weeks of group sessions and 9 hours of additional one-on-one coaching. The program concludes with the Final Pitch in which participants present their business to a panel of regional stakeholders for a chance to win $25,000 in equity-free capital to invest in their business growth plan.

Program Results

Business owners from previous cohorts have shared that the knowledge and insights they gained through the DBA fueled their personal growth and confidence, as well as the size and revenue of their business. A recent survey of 15 recent graduates summarizes some of the measurable outcomes many have achieved.

  • 90% significantly increased their business knowledge on topics
    important to growth
  • 60% increased their revenues by more than 10%
  • 68% added an average of 3 new employees
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“I have tripled my monthly revenue since completing DBA using the tools, resources, strategies, and support I received through the program.” – Bing Dempewolfe, TAI—CHI Consulting, Cohort 2

Candidate Profile

  • Diverse and women-owned small businesses in the St. Louis region;
    Black, Hispanic, Native American, Asian/Pacific Islander, and other people of color (but not exclusively)
  • Industries: professional services, construction, logistics, and manufacturing (but not exclusively)
  • 2 or more employees
  • Committed to full participation in the program


  • Revenue of $500K or more
  • A business growth plan that demonstrates the business’s capacity to scale (increase revenue, hire employees) within 2-5 years
  • 51% minority ownership
  • Headquartered in the 15-county, bi-state St. Louis MSA
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