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6
Jan

Incubator Checklist for Attracting and Serving Diverse Business Owners

Marketing:

__ Reach out to leaders within diverse or minority networking groups, 85% of women go to trusted mentors and colleagues for business resources.

__ Make a person your contact, not a website. Women have often been disappointed by previous resources, they are less likely to sign up for programs or counseling from a website.

__ Have a lot of programs? Start with one. What is the one workshop or program that you want business owners to participate in first? Market participation in that program as your call to action.

__ Do you already have diversity in your program? Promote that. Give success stories, show that you have been successful working with diverse set of business owners.

__ Focus on a specific problem that you help business owners address. Avoid describing a “stage” of business you work with.

__ Beware that women have traditionally felt un-welcome or excluded from incubators. They are hyper sensitive to the “brogrammer” stigma. Make sure your marketing message addresses that bias.

__ Consider various motivations for starting a business and market your contribution back to the community.

__ Put women in your photos and marketing, but please avoid making your marketing PINK!

Serving:

__ Hire diverse staff and recruit diverse mentors

__ Have training and basic discussions with your staff on diversity

__ Have diverse solutions and resources that align with differing values and approaches

__ Consider your time commitments and program restrictions to accommodate people who are committed but might have multiple life commitments

__ Research the specific obstacles that women and diverse business owners face, recognize them as part of your program. Utilize curriculum and programs that address these obstacles.

__ Have honest conversation about challenges and business topics

__ Encourage your program participants to consider diversity as a factor in the success of their business

Any questions? Other ideas? Reach out to Empowered PhXX to continue the discussion!

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